A quarter of the recent house sales in Cambridge have been to Aucklanders and the manager of a local real estate agency is one of them.
Matt Gilray, 37, moved south saying he wanted a more relaxed and family-friendly lifestyle.
“In Auckland, you don’t see kids out playing in the streets anymore, but as we drove through Cambridge, we saw that straight away,” he says. “I was also spending the equivalent of a whole workday sitting in traffic each week.”
He secured a new job managing the Cambridge office of family-owned Waikato real estate business Lugtons. Eight years ago, the company serviced Cambridge with one staff member but now has a team of five agents and is looking to grow further.
“We’re locals too so we want to hold on to what makes Cambridge such a great community rather than chasing high turnover and quick-churn sales,” says agent Tony Mills, who has sold property in Cambridge for 18 years.
“But I don’t think we’ve ever seen listings as tight as they are this year.”
He points to Aucklanders anticipating the completion of the Southern Interchange of the Waikato Expressway, which will reduce the commute time from Cambridge to around an hour and a quarter.
Together with more options to work from home because of Covid, Cambridge has become a realistic option for those who felt stuck in the city.
“I’m seeing a lot of Auckland families with kids where one parent plans to combine a new flexibility to work from home with a commute back into the CBD one or twice a week,” agrees agent Aimee Belton.
The company says Cambridge appeals to out-of-towners for its small-town feel.
“Cambridge offers out of towners a lifestyle change where they feel safe, secure and more connected to the community,” says Lugtons general manager, Clinton Hardy.
“We have also noticed a substantial increase in requests from our Hamilton-based sales team who have Hamilton clients now wanting to purchase in Cambridge. It’s more important than ever to have a good strategy in place for selling in this market.”
The company notes regional employment opportunities are also having an impact on demand.
“It used to be that most Aucklanders moving here were empty nesters but now with light industry developing in Hautapu, the inland port plans at Ruakura, we’re also seeing younger Aucklanders who have new jobs nearby to pay the mortgage,” says Mills.