Sunday, October 05, 2014

Forget Auckland - it's Pokeno for a family and Kawerau to retire

Daniel and Sam Kealey with their 3-year-old son Kayden at their home in Botany Downs. Photo / Dean Purcell

Daniel and Sam Kealey bought their first home in Botany Downs when their son Kayden was born three years ago, but now the young family have outgrown the two-bedroom apartment.

The Kealeys paid $310,000 for the 80sq metre apartment with a swimming pool and gym complex, which is now being marketed in the mid-$400,000s.

But even with the promise of a sizeable profit, the young family struggled to find a suitable family home with a good-sized section for their son to kick a ball around in Auckland as they were all well out of their budget.

It was only when they started looking further south that they fell in love with Pokeno. The couple have bought a new four-bedroom, two-bathroom home on a 703sq metre section for $542,000.

"We pretty much looked everywhere in Auckland and it was just too expensive. For the same size place we are buying in Pokeno, up in Auckland it would be over a million dollars," Mr Kealey said.

"What's important is having a big place with a decent size section where the kids can run around as we plan to have another child."

Alan Devitt believes you can't look past Kawerau for value and lifestyle. The 79-year-old bought his first property in Kawerau three years ago for $130,000, and since then has bought another five houses - all for less than $100,000 each.

The town of 2500 had the fourth biggest decline in house sale prices - a 31.5 per cent drop from $159,249 in September 2007 to $109,141 in September this year, according to CoreLogic.

The retired businessman moved from the East Coast to Kawerau and he and wife Anne believe the town's affordability and its lifestyle, community feel, facilities and services, including medical care, were better than anywhere else in New Zealand.