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North Waikato increasingly popular

With North Waikato’s real estate holding strong, Huntly featured prominently in Century 21 New Zealand’s annual awards earlier this year.

Located on Huntly’s Main Street, Century 21 Rural & Residential Real Estate has taken out several top office awards over the years, with local franchise owners Ian Pepper and Barbara Craig long recognised for their success.

What’s more, rising Huntly sales star, Pescha Eccles, is the current holder of Century 21 New Zealand Rookie of the Year. She continues to excel, putting successful agreements together for residential and rural properties alike.

“Our whole team has contributed to the local Century 21 success, particularly Barbara who really is the lynchpin in our office. We’re an effective and hard-working bunch, passionate about North Waikato real estate, property management, and serving the local community,” says Mr Pepper.

As well as positive teamwork, the Waikato real estate market is healthy. In fact, Waikato median house prices continue to enjoy good growth. Good sales volumes have also been achieved, with the number of houses sold in Waikato in July leaping into the top three, along with Auckland and Canterbury, according to REINZ.

“Century 21 Rural & Residential is one of our strongest offices nationwide, with Huntly enjoying ongoing success this year. There’s also plenty to look forward to when you consider the underlying strength of North Waikato’s real estate market, large regional projects coming on stream, and the whole area increasingly popular,” says Derryn Mayne, Century 21 New Zealand owner.

As REINZ has observed this year, there are plenty of people moving from the big cities and centres to Waikato for its employment opportunities, not to mention the lifestyle.

For Huntly, like many of New Zealand’s smaller towns that are in commuter proximity to much larger cities, the future only looks bright. As well as having Auckland just an hour or so up the motorway, Hamilton is only about 30 minutes down the road.

“Huntly is already benefitting from the ongoing multi-billion-dollar State Highway One motorway extensions, which effectively bring Waikato closer to Auckland. Also exciting is the recently confirmed Hamilton to Auckland passenger train service that will travel right through our town,” says Ms Craig.

Planned to open next year, a new section of the Waikato Expressway will divert considerable SH1 traffic away from the township. Traffic congestion within the Huntly community will be substantially reduced, which will be particularly noticeable during the holidays when traffic through Huntly has often been at a standstill.

“We’re really excited. We’re going to get our town back. For too long we’ve been a thoroughfare for people trekking back and forth to Auckland. Now Huntly’s got a chance to become a real destination, exuding character and community,” says Mr Pepper.

The train service is also due to start in 2020, giving commuters a much more relaxing option. Two return services will operate each weekday at peak travel times, with one return service on Saturday. The route will start at Frankton in Hamilton, stopping at The Base before going onto Huntly and stopping finally at Papakura.

Then there’s the well-known Kiwi bed brand, Sleepyhead. Its owners intend to create a manufacturing hub in Ohinewai, just north of Huntly. But it’s not just the 1,500 new jobs the hub is expected to create. Over the next decade, 1,100 new homes are also planned to be built there.

Sleepyhead’s owners have already purchased 176-hectares of land, adjoining the existing Ohinewai village, to be transformed into a mixed-use, fully master-planned community of up to 3,000 residents.

The Waikato District Council is tasked with managing growth within its area which is largely north and west of Hamilton. The district’s growth is expected to swell from 73,600 people to possibly 103,000 by 2045, while regional unemployment remains lower than the national average.

Barbara Craig says real estate interest and activity in Huntly township itself has noticeably lifted in the last year or two. Currently studying for her Property Manager’s Licence, she says rentals in and around Huntly are now scarce.

“Let’s just say if anyone has rental property, we could sure rent it out for a good return. In fact, rents in Huntly appear to be higher than Hamilton in many cases. A few years back we could never have imagined just how popular little old Huntly would become, but we’ll take it with open arms! It’s an exciting time,” says Ms Craig.

Century 21 New Zealand’s Property of the Month: 22 Lakeview Terrace, Huntly:

Huntly: Did you know?

Perhaps the largest and best-known landmark in the township is the Huntly Power Station. Sitting on the western bank of the Waikato River, it is New Zealand’s largest thermal power station.

Huntly and its surrounding area are steeped in rich Maori history, with the region home to the Tainui iwi. What’s more, King Tuheitia’s official residence is just down the road at Turangawaewae.

The Maori King’s family are well known in the Huntly area, thanks to the Kingitanga movement being established in Waikato in 1858, with seven hereditary monarchs since.

Today Maoridom remains the cornerstone of North Waikato’s cultural identity, with many Marae throughout the area. In fact, Huntly was home to one the first bilingual schools in New Zealand when Rakaumanga Kura opened in 1984.

Europeans are believed to have arrived in the 1850s, with Huntly named after a Scottish town by the Postmaster of the day. A Huntly Castle exists, albeit it’s in ruins in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Arguably, the two most famous Pakeha born in Huntly are Kiwi entertainers Dame Jools and Dame Lynda Topp – aka The Topp Twins.

To read Century 21 New Zealand’s October 2019 Market Pulse, please visit:

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