Kaikoura market is taking off

4:44 PM Tuesday September 13, 2016 Colin Taylor

Paua Rock Cafe on State Highway 1 at Omihi between Christchurch and Kaikoura is for sale as a freehold property and business going concern.

Kaikoura’s commercial property market is receiving a boost from ongoing tourism growth along with increased numbers of Christchurch-based investors searching to diversify into provincial towns.

“Like many other provincial towns in New Zealand, Kaikoura’s market cycle lags the big cities but we are now seeing the commercial property market really take off,” says Rob Gibson, who heads up Savills’ new North Canterbury and Marlborough office.

Among a number of current listings, Gibson is offering for sale the Paua Rock Cafe, on State Highway 1 at Omihi, between Christchurch and Kaikoura.

The 10,340sq m freehold property includes the business and chattels and is positioned on the “coastal triangle” 15 minutes south of Kaikoura.

The fully equipped café has views of the Pacific Ocean and includes a three-bedroom apartment upstairs.

“This is a great opportunity for someone to escape the rat race and run a popular café business in a stunning location. The café has an excellent history of trading based on its location right on State Highway One,” says Gibson.

Gibson says prime commercial properties along the town’s main strip, West End, are highly sought after and are increasingly selling at low yields.

There is a lot of investment money in Christchurch with buyers looking to diversify into different markets and they view Kaikoura as a high-performing enclave with good fundamentals,” he says.

Gibson recently brokered the sale of 60 West End, a 620sq m retail property with two tenants, car parking and scope for further development. The property sold for $550,000, representing a yield of 5.2 per cent.

“We had a buyer who was very keen to secure freehold land on West End based on Kaikoura’s forecast tourism growth and the compelling supply and demand scenario at play here. There is high demand for properties along the strip and very limited availability of investments for sale – with no more land for further development. Vacancy rates are also traditionally very low. This resulted in the property selling for a yield not often seen in provincial markets,” Gibson says.

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Paua Rock Cafe offers diners Pacific Ocean views.  

A second, larger retail and hospitality property on West End is also under offer through Savills.

“The recent sales activity illustrates the uplift in Kaikoura’s commercial property market that we’ve seen recently. There is a lot of activity and only so much prime land available – and the strong tourism market is injecting a much higher level of demand into the market.”

While the town has long been renowned as a backpacker hub and eco-tourism destination, the tourist market is now shifting towards an older age group looking for high-end leisure opportunities.

The town’s strong demand trends are also driving the local residential property market, with activity picking up and listings becoming in shorter supply.

Gibson is also receiving increased numbers of inquiries through Savills’ global property search website from overseas-based buyers looking to move to New Zealand and, in particular, the upper South Island.

“We’re now seeing a resurgence in inquiries from offshore. More people are looking to buy property in New Zealand and move here and the upper South Island is high on people’s wish lists due to the lifestyle on offer.”

Gibson, who provides cross-sector property services in the rural, lifestyle, residential and commercial markets in North Canterbury and Marlborough for Savills, has completed several other sales across a wide geographical area since joining the company earlier this year.

A historic homestead on 3.8ha of land near Loburn, which includes horse paddocks, recently sold for $948,000, representing the high demand for lifestyle properties within easy reach of Christchurch.

Two further properties – a large commercial property in Kaikoura and a 5071sqm lifestyle property at Mangamanunu, just north of the town, are also under offer.

Gibson recently listed a waterfront house at 2 Kumutoto Bay, Marlborough Sounds, located a 10-minute boat ride from Waikawa marina. The property includes a new deep-water floating jetty, a three-bedroom house with large decks offering views across the bay and down Queen Charlotte Sound, and 4ha of pristine native bush sloping down to a private beach with riparian rights.

Several larger rural properties and farms will also be coming to the market over the next few months through Savills.

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This historic homestead near Loburn, which includes horse paddocks, recently sold for $948,000

Gibson’s appointment to Savills’ South Island team extends the company’s geographical reach throughout the upper South Island, with Gibson establishing the company’s first physical presence outside Christchurch since it opened its South Island headquarters on St Asaph St 18 months ago.

Jonathan Lyttle, Savills’ Christchurch managing director, says Gibson’s appointment allows the company to serve a much broader client base across the property industry including the rural, commercial, lifestyle and residential sectors.

“Bringing Rob on board allows us to build our capabilities across the real estate spectrum and over a large geographical area. There are many compelling value plays available in the real estate sector in North Canterbury and Marlborough, as the area lacks the hype that centres such as Queenstown and Wanaka are experiencing.

“Rob’s expertise and existing networks in the North Canterbury and Marlborough regions, particularly in the rural and lifestyle sector, adds an important new string to our bow.”

Gibson brings 11 years’ experience in real estate in Canterbury and Marlborough, primarily with Bayleys. During his career, he has worked on a wide range of real estate transactions, including large farms, commercial property sales and leasing and residential/lifestyle. He is an associate of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and he also has a strong background in farming. 

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Rob Gibson, Savills.