A remote coastal township revealed last year as the secret get-away holiday home destination for a range of media personalities is set to undergo the biggest residential development project since it was settled by Maori tribes in the mid-1800s.
Over the past two years, the harbourside townships of Opononi and Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour on Northland’s dramatic west coast have become a clandestine destination for those wanting a holiday bach away from the hoards in the likes of Omaha, Mangawhai, and Marsden Cove.
Celebrities who have quietly bought properties along the coastline stretch include radio commentator Wendyl Nissen, radio talkback hosts Duncan Garner and Kerre McIvor, and former Black Caps captain Adam Parore.
Now with more buyer enquiry coming out of the Auckland property market, Bayleys Kerikeri salesperson David Baguley has listed a new 20 section subdivision on the market for sale. Section sizes range from 607 square metres to 749 square metres, with prices ranging $85,000 to $120,000 for land with harbour views.
Mr Baguley said real estate sales statistics highlighted the attention now being shone on Opononi and adjoining Omapere. In 2013, some 13 properties sold in the area. In 2014, the number was 12 property sales. However, in 2015 28 properties changed hands. According to last Census figures, Opononi and Omapere have a combined population of 414 people.
“Our sales data shows there has definitely been an ‘Auckland ripple’ effect for the holiday home market in the Hokianga. Where else can you buy a north facing section with water views and a track below to the beach?” he said.
“As Auckland residential property prices skyrocketed in 2014/15 many Aucklanders found equity levels in their primary dwellings substantially enhanced. They felt ‘richer‘– and as a result they bought holiday homes…. including on Northland’s West Coast,” he said.
Mr Baguley said prices in the twin-town strip had risen some nine percent over the past two years. When Wendyl Nissen bought her Omapere house near Omapere, in 2013, the market was so devalued that her property valuer refused to make the trip north to survey the site. The valuer told Ms Nissen and her husband not to expect any capital growth on the property.
Sales data show that while Aucklanders tended to snap up waterfront locations, more inland sites were preferred by Northlanders on smaller budgets. Hokianga waterfront sales values ranged from $400,000 to $600,000 – with most properties including a dwelling.
“In response to growing demand for only a limited amount of homes in what is a relatively small area, the Opononi Heights development has been fast-tracked over summer. Utility services including electricity, telecommunications, mains water and sewerage have all been laid under a fully tar sealed road,” he said.
The Opononi Heights residential subdivision has been developed by Hokianga local and volunteer coastguard member Barbara Ward, her late husband Ivan Harnett and son Greg Harnett. Included in the land tract is a private walkaway taking residents from the heart of the enclave to the beach beside Opononi Holiday Park camp ground.
Building covenants on the subdivision preclude the use of caravans, sheds or shipping containers as primary dwellings, while all homes must be a minimum size of 120 square metres. Owners must maintain their sections in a mown and weeded state until building commences.
“These rudimentary covenants are designed to underwrite the value of the wider development,” Mr Baguley said.