Propertyscouts Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay - A great place to invest - 20th Oct 2015

Why Hawkes Bay is a great place to buy

HAWKE’S BAY HAS BECOME synonymous with a great climate, awardwinning wines, art deco, extensive cycle tracks and abundant fresh fruit on locals’ doorsteps. City dwellers with an eye on property will also hold up the province as an area where considerably cheaper housing can be bought compared with the main cities, and a great lifestyle enjoyed. The Bay is particularly popular with families, with a range of great schools, and outdoor amenities.


Lately rents have picked up from about $100 to $110 a room in the past few months – an indication of a healthier economy. There is opportunity for investors in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere, which has a low socio-economic population. Investors can achieve yields of
between 9% -12% but face high turnover of tenants and, often, high expenses related to property damage.

Graeme Fowler, a property investor of 25 years, has bought 29 properties in Hawke’s Bay in the past year, including 21 buy-andholds, nine trades and a property in Havelock North in which to live. Most properties were in Flaxmere, weatherboard houses built between the 1960s and 1970s, in what are considered to be good streets around Diaz Dr. About six of the properties were in the Napier suburb of Maraenui, and a property bought to trade in Napier South. “I bought all the properties at good discounts, and the trades had to be bought well to make a profit and the buy-and-holds were bought well so they could be refinanced after revaluing them,” Fowler says.


Maraenui, a lower socio-economic suburb, comprises a mix of owner-occupied and state housing. Napier South is an attractive innercity suburb; many villas have been renovated. It is within walking distance of town and Marine Parade and is zoned for good schools. “Hawke’s Bay is great as the yields are high compared with most other locations in New Zealand,” Fowler says. “The average yield I got last year was about 12% which means I could Rents are increasing faster than values so yields in Hawkes Bay can be excellent. Hawke's Bay is prime wine-growing country.

Hawkes Bay is seen by many as a great place for young families to live. Hawke's Bay is also a popular tourist spot.

REGIONAL REVIEW: HAWKES BAY cover the mortgage, rates, insurance and property management on a 20-year loan.” In Auckland, it is not easy to achieve more than a 6.7% yield, which means people either have to have a high income and spare cash to top up mortgages or go interest only, he says. Fowler believes a common trap for outside investors is not knowing the market well, and paying more than they need to. “However, as long as the tenants pay off the mortgage over time, it’s not too important unless they want to gain equity when they purchase.” Havelock North based Sam Murdoch, in partnership with his parents, has bought two houses in Flaxmere and one in Hastings in the past year.

Murdoch, 24, belongs to an informal group run by Graeme Fowler, which usually meets once a month to discuss property investment and hear from people in the industry.

When looking to buy a property, he makes sure it will be cash flow positive, and built after 1960. He crunches numbers using a calculator he built specifically for property investment, For example, in December last year, he bought a four-bedroom house in Portsmouth Rd, Flaxmere, for $142,000, with a government valuation of $190,000 at the time. He rents it out for $310 a week.

A local real estate agent who covers Hastings and Havelock North, says hardened investors tend to buy rentals in Flaxmere, with their expectations of returns from 10%, and up to 13% in the less desirable streets, while mum-and-dad investors prefer the established Hastings suburbs of Parkvale and Frimley, with the perception they are much safer propositions. Parkvale is on the doorstep of Havelock North and close to such good schools as Karamu High School, which is zoned. Frimley is perceived to be one of the best suburbs in Hastings and is near the
hospital and good schools. Investors generally get yields of up to 7.5% in these areas, with a reasonable threebedroom home returning around $350 a week.

House sales begin at $250,000. Havelock North, a picturesque suburb known as the "village" by locals, has three private schools and is considered to be one of the most desirable places to live in Hawke’s Bay. Rental opportunties are usually lower-cost housing in the lower flats in the western area. Yields typically range from between 7%-8%, with rentals ranging from $300 to $350, and prices ranging from $200,00 to $300,000.

Given the village is mainly owner-occupied, there is a smaller pool of renters to draw from – a potential drawback to investing in this area, he says. Property IQ’s Andrew Chambers believes yields in the Hastings have remained fairly static since 2010, ranging from 7%-9%.
As an example, he cited a two-bedroom, five unit block of flats in Heretaunga St, bought in April 2014 for $550,000, and returning a yield of 8.1% This is compared with a three-bedroom house, also on Heretaunga St, with two semi-detached houses, bought in 2010, which returned a yield of 7.93%.
With its art-deco heritage, arts scene, Ahuriri restaurant and café strip, beach access, and choice of good schools – Napier is seen by many as a desirable place to live.

The Hawke’s Bay Expressway now runs from Napier Airport to Flaxmere, and this allows employees and owners from largebased businesss in Hastings to live in Napier and commute with ease.

The Napier suburbs of Taradale and Greenmeadows tend to be the most sought after, with good access in to Napier and over to Hastings. A tidy three-bedroom home on a fenced section will get $320 to $330 in rent per week.

Opportunities in Bay View, which is sometimes overlooked, are good. Properties have low turnover of tenants and and the average rents are pretty good, and even better on the beach front.

Property IQ’s Andrew Chambers says Clive, the township between Hastings and Napier, attracts good tenants. A property in Ferry Rd, Clive was bought last year for $385,000 with a yield of 6.4%. Matthew Harris and Simon Griggs launched Napier-based accounting firm Property Tax Returns in February last year, after identifying an opportunity to provide specialist advice for investors with one or two properties to traders, dealers and developers who have multiple properties. When questioned about what it has been like to start the business in a flat housing market, Harris says the market is flat in terms of capital gain potential.

Smart investors, who they work with, are doing their calculations, however, and ensuring that the properties they purchase have a positive yield, and that they make gains regardless of market behaviour.

NZ Property Investor Magazine

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