Investors pushing locals out of Murupara

A burgeoning renaissance in the central North Island town of Murupara is seeing property investors make good gains – but some say there is a cost to the local community.

Tuesday, February 5th 2008, 11:46AM

by The Landlord

Samantha Keefe, general manager of not-for-profit organisation Network Murupara, says an “astounding” number of out-of-town investors have been buying up homes recently due to increased interest in the area and the tourism activity that’s being provided.

Lois Clark of Harveys real estate (Rotorua office) confirms there’s definitely been increased interest there from investors, and they are buying to hold.

The average price for a three-bedroom home in good condition, says Clark, is $80,000. Average rents have been sitting at $100 a week, but have now risen to $120, and Harveys property managers are achieving about $150 a week for a renovated property.

However Keefe says investors are renting properties out “at market rates that are unaffordable for beneficiaries and low-income earners.

“Locally born people are moving further into the remoteness, because they can’t afford to live in Murupara any longer.”

Keefe says the community wants the organisation to somehow put a stop to locals being driven away by higher rents, but acknowledges that people are praising the external investors because their purchases are boosting the value of everybody’s homes.

Clark says property investment has been “wonderful” for the community because investors have been doing up houses and improving the look of the town.

“It’s increasing the peoples’ respect for themselves,” she says.

Keefe says the organisation has been trying to scope the possible purchase of the town’s homes to rent back to the local people, and that it is simultaneously hoping to “stabilise” local property values.

“While it’s a good thing that property values are increasing,” Keefe says, the organisation wants to make investors aware that “these are the disadvantages that happen to people”.

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