25 Jan 2021

Selwyn land sections being snapped up

1:50 pm on 25 January 2021

Land in the Selwyn District on the outskirts of Christchurch is selling so quickly there are little-to-no sections left for new builds.

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Prebbleton. Photo: RNZ / Maree Mahony

The main town in the district - Rolleston - has always been an affordable alternative for families looking to get onto the property ladder.

Matson and Allan Real Estate director Chris Flanagan said demand is outstripping supply.

He said Rolleston was always pitched as the town of the future - but things have really taken off in the past couple of years.

"The majority of buyers are still what we call mum-and-dad buyers but housing companies are snapping up land, which means demand is getting higher and higher.

"The stocks are getting low, very low - we are seeing sections that would have sold for around the $180,000 at the end of last year now selling for about $210,000, $220,000," he said.

Flanagan said it's increasingly harder for home buyers to find something under the $550,000 - which is the new build cap for someone wanting to use the governments first home grant in the region.

"In the last week to 10 days we are seeing that a lot of first home buyers are now prepared to look closer to the $600,000 mark, they just realise it's getting harder and harder to stay under $550,000 so they are getting help from their family or pushing the bank a bit more."

A new motorway linking Rolleston to Christchurch has taken about 15 minutes off the commute time, which has attracted more people to Selwyn.

That was a draw card for Sam Mcilwrick and her husband, who owned a home in the Christchurch suburb of Halswell but wanted to move into something more modern so looked at moving out to Rolleston.

"The demand wasn't that high when we first started looking, there were plenty of homes in Rolleston and Selwyn area but after the lockdown with more people moving home the houses started to sell really fast.

"Every open home we went to the rooms were packed with people so we thought we better get in quick."

Mcilwrick said when they had no luck they then started looking for land to build on.

"When I was looking for land I rung the Selwyn District Council, developers to try find land and they said they would put me on their waiting lists.

"But long story short it was implied don't bother because housing companies had bought up all the land to do house and land packages," she said.

She then called multiple housing companies to see what they had on their books which is when she found a house, which was half way through being built in Rolleston.

"We made them an offer and they took it so we managed to get our foot in the door.

"We feel lucky to be out here, you get just get more bang for your buck we sold our old brick 60s house and for a little bit more we've ended up with a brand new home only 15 to 20 minutes into Christchurch."

The market is crazy at the moment, I would have never paid the price for my old house as what the new owners bought it for, Mcilwrick said.

The Selwyn District Council issued over 2700 building consents last year 1887 were for new homes.

It is the second fastest growing district in the country behind Queenstown Lakes, according to latest Stats NZ figures.

Council spokesperson Ben Rhoades said demand was high in Rolleston, but there was land available for housing.

"Council can only seek to control how much land is available for housing development, how quickly the private sector can develop that land for housing and make those houses available for sale isn't something council can control.

"The council recognises there is an issue of land supply going forward in the Greater Christchurch area of Selwyn, and we're working on ways to address this issue."

Rhoades said the council was reviewing it's growth plans for the next 30 years, including new rules in the proposed district plan to allow for more housing density in urban areas.

"It's great to see the popularity of the district, but it is certainly keeping us working hard to make sure there is land available and processing consents so builders can get on and build."

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) is also proposing a change to its Regional Policy Statement that would allow more flexibility to rezone land in certain locations to meet any land capacity issues.

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