Investors look to Dunedin as housing market booms


The Auckland property market has long been in the headlines, but now a real estate boom in the regions has investors looking south.

The Dunedin market is the busiest it's been in almost a decade.

A property boom is injecting life back into the Edinburgh of the South. Prices are rising, houses are being snapped up within weeks -- some are selling as soon as they're listed online, sight unseen.

"We're seeing quite a lot of people moving here who are deciding that they can afford something here," says Liz Nidd, a spokesperson for the Otago Real Estate Institute.

"So as long as they can get employment [they move], and now with the internet there's a lot of people who are self-employed."

There's interest from homeowners and investors.

Highland Park is one of three major subdivisions being built in Mosgiel, just outside the city.

Builders are working flat out, trying to keep up with demand, with two-thirds of the sections already sold.

Around 60 percent of buyers are from outside of Dunedin, with many planning to move there from other locations around the South Island.

The area has become increasingly popular with young families -- they can step into a brand new, high-end home for less than $500,000.

"We moved for family, and for lifestyle for the children," says Mosgiel resident Melissa Thomson.

"We got sick of just sitting in traffic all day, every day."

It's a message Enterprise Dunedin has been pushing with its recent marketing campaigns, highlighting the benefits of the southern lifestyle.

There's been a good response to a major newspaper supplement, encouraging Aucklanders to make the move south.

"[There's been a response] from people that are wanting to come here to live, start new businesses, look at property, right across that whole range," says Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie.

And he's confident that strength in the technology and education sectors will help grow the opportunities further.