Image: Maureen Duffy and Lee Hamilton from Seddon Street Property Management
With rising house prices and not a lot for under $400,000 in most regions, you might be inclined to ask—is it still possible to buy in the $300,000s?
The answer is yes… in Levin.
In fact, Lee Hamilton and his wife Maureen Duffy have made a living out of it. With their property management company, Seddon Street Property Management, Lee and Maureen have been buying and managing properties in the Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua for over 15 years, and also helping others to do so.
And they tell me, there are still amazing properties that suit first-home buyers or investors available from the early $200,000s through to late $300,000s. Think 800m2 to a quarter-acre, two- to four-bedroom 1960s weatherboard or brick homes.
“The numbers just stack up for investors in the Horowhenua. I started looking for an investment property in the Horowhenua because I couldn’t afford one in Paraparaumu Beach and discovered you could get so much more for your money. Since then we have helped others buy in the Horowhenua area and take pride in managing their rental homes with the care that we have for ours. We now have multiple properties that are well cared for, insulated and are beautiful homes that are ideal for tenants and earn a great return for our investors,” says Lee Hamilton.
Not only are these properties great for investors, they’re great for those first-home buyers wanting to get on the property ladder.
“We say to first-home buyers that Levin is a great option. You can spend six months living in the property doing it up, then you can choose whether you want to rent it out as an investment, but that way you are on the property ladder.”
With a population of over 21,000, better infrastructure, ongoing council investment, and a thriving business community—and only 90km north of Wellington, 50km south of Palmerston North—Levin is a great option for new families, retirees, and investors.
Levin's adventure park—a council initiative.
Tall Poppy agent, Gay Leahy says the Horowhenua market is still very busy.
“We’re seeing a lot of people moving to Levin, the expressway is a big drawcard. I’ve recently had a first-home buyer purchase a property here from Wellington, and they plan to commute. Once the expressway is complete, it will be around one hour to Wellington—which is very reasonable.”
So what properties are best to buy in Levin?
Maureen Duffy says there are four key points or questions to consider when buying a first-home or rental property in the Horowhenua, or beyond.
- Look at houses which offer value. Look for a simple renovation. Can you turn an office into a bedroom?
- Painting and modernising. Think cosmetic—no structural changes.
- Long-term gain. Is it on a subdividable section? Can a room attached to a garage be turned into a studio?
- Does it have capital gain? What streets and areas are best to buy in? Which ones to avoid? As they say, it’s all “Location, location, location!”
“But whatever you do, get advice first! Talk to your mortgage broker, speak to your rental management company, seek solid advice and make sure the numbers stack up,” says Maureen.
Craig Pope of Pope & Co. Mortgages says it’s always a good time to buy as long as you have saved up a suitable deposit and have a good income to meet strict lending criteria.
His advice: “Seek advice about your current financial position from a mortgage broker who knows the market. It’s a really complex lending world and banks’ availability of low-deposit approvals changes all the time. Make sure you minimise any personal debt and have good permanent job stability. There are options with as low as 5% deposit but 10% is a good starting point. For investors, seek impartial advice from a mortgage broker on how to best grow or start an investment portfolio from a lending perspective.”
Looking in the Horowhenua?