Affordable lifestyle dream
November 2023

Affordable lifestyle dream

Several Northland families have taken advantage of farms in the region selling for forestry development, opening up an opportunity for highly affordable lifestyle property.

On the back of land use change from pasture to trees, Megan Browning of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Dargaville has sold properties recently after subdividing a house or homestead from a former farm.

Nina Porter-Auld and partner Jesse Boyd bought one of these properties on 0.4 hectares in Waiotira, moving from Whangārei 40 kilometres south in August with their children Thea age seven, and Arya age five.

Nina grew up on a Northern Ireland council estate, so the childhood her daughters are now having is completely different to her own.

“We talked about a better lifestyle for our children for a few years, trying to work out the best place for them to grow up. Ever since I was little, visiting my Granny in the country every so often, I’ve always wanted to live outside the city. Jesse lived in the Waitākere Ranges when he was young, so also prefers the country. Usually, you need a lot of money for that.”

LC - Spring 2023 - DAG37934 - Megan Browning - Image 1

After searching for a few months though, they found what they wanted.

“Although we looked at properties in town, they were not where we wanted to be. When we found this property, we were hooked.

“We love the views, and for what we were getting the price was amazing. Knowing we can financially pay this off is such a great feeling,” says Nina.

Both still working in Whangārei, Nina is a registered nurse, while Jesse works in a family construction firm, which makes the various building projects now in front of them easier.

“We started with insulation and replacing the boiler, next we plan to do up the inside right through, room by room,” says Nina.

LC - Spring 2023 - DAG37934 - Megan Browning - Image 3

Meanwhile Thea and Arya have plenty to explore.

“They are either rounding up the turkeys, or the pigs, or playing in the paddock, or picking the fruit from our guava and feijoa trees. When we go out for walks there is plenty to explore. We plan to get some chickens, plus a goat or some sheep.

“Living here, our children are allowed just to be kids,” says Nina.

Jesse is also planning hunting trips with their new neighbours.

Megan says what Nina and Jesse have done is also possible for others seeking to take their first steps into lifestyle property.

LC - Spring 2023 - DAG37934 - Megan Browning - Image 5

“We have sold several of these, and based on other farms sold for forestry, more are likely to come to the market in the next few months. Formerly serving as farm houses, mostly with three or four bedrooms on titles ranging from 3000 square metres to 20 hectares, and generally sold in an ‘as is’ condition, they range in price from $350,000 to $700,000. More affordable than your average lifestyle block, they are an opportunity for the likes of first home buyers to achieve a lifestyle dream, maybe using their Kiwisaver to secure the purchase. People from Auckland and Whangarei are showing an interest, alongside others already in the local area.

“While likely to require some work, they are an excellent opportunity for many who otherwise wouldn’t be able to buy,” says Megan.


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