Controversial highway opens up Horowhenua lifestyle opportunities
March 2024

Controversial highway opens up Horowhenua lifestyle opportunities

Almost two years on from the completion of one of New Zealand’s most controversial infrastructure developments, Horowhenua is reaping the benefits of Transmission Gully, which has helped accentuate its appeal as an attractive and affordable place to live.

When the 27 kilometre motorway opened in March 2022 travel times from Wellington to Horowhenua dropped by as much as 15 minutes. 

Levin based Craig Dias, PGG Wrightson Real Estate sales consultant, says the region’s housing affordability, coupled with its climate, community and recreational advantages, is drawing plenty of interest from people motivated to enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, while maintaining their links to the capital.

“We regularly take enquiry from Wellingtonians looking to re-locate, and in the past 12 months have assisted several to realise that dream.

“Particularly since the completion of Transmission Gully, Wellington is easily accessible, while at less than 50 kilometres, Palmerston North to Levin remains a comfortable commute. As business embraces the advantages of remote working, where your presence in the office is flexible rather than mandated, living in this region is a more viable option for many more people,” he says. 

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Justin Evans, a commentator for Trackside TV, recently moved from Dunedin to Foxton.

“My role covers the lower North Island, so I was looking for somewhere within easy reach of other centres. Foxton suits well. Although I could have gone closer to Wellington, at the same price point there was no comparison to what I’ve bought here. With the new motorway, it’s an easy drive. Foxton is on the upswing as a location for others getting away from Wellington, so it’s a good vibe, and I’m five minutes from the beach, which suits me, and my dog,” says Justin.

Rochelle Bradwell also recently moved to the region. An HR analyst, she shifted from Paraparaumu to Foxton. 

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“After looking in Feilding, and not finding what I wanted, I realised Foxton is excellent value for money. Work is flexible: I can work from Foxton or Palmerston North, and go into Wellington approximately once a fortnight, which is approximately a two hour drive in traffic. 

“The weather here is amazing: my garden is full of fruit and vegetables that I didn’t have before. At weekends I take a stall to various markets. Manawatu has plenty of markets that are well within an hour’s drive, which is much more convenient than living in Paraparaumu, where I had to travel the night before to set up in time. 

“I’m loving everything about living here,” she says. 

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Statistics for September 2023 put the average house value in Horowhenua District at $566,658, which compares to a national average of $908,853. 

Craig Dias says recent sales illustrate how affordable the region is. 

“A three-bedroom 1920s renovated villa on 6000 square metres in Himatangi sold in mid-February for $740,500. We have sold Foxton Beach holiday homes for under $500,000, while the minimum recent sale price in Foxton was $380,000 for a 110 square metre three-bedroom home. For those with a larger budget, we recently sold a four-bedroom architecturally designed home at Foxton Beach for $755,000, value for money that you would struggle to match elsewhere,” he says. 

Known as the North Island’s vegetable bowl, the Horowhenua district’s highly fertile and versatile land is the basis of a thriving food production industry, while locals take pleasure and pride in the region’s easy lifestyle and sense of community. 

Construction is both a measure and an engine for the local economy, the second largest contributor to employment growth in the Horowhenua economy for the year to September 2023, after education and training. Residential consents are the highest on record, more than double the 10-year average, and well up on comparable figures for the rest of the country, where consents are dropping sharply. Meanwhile the Horowhenua region’s non-residential construction sector is also booming. 

Horowhenua is known for its picturesque landscapes, including beaches, rivers, and bush. On the doorstep of the majestic Tararua Forest Park, opportunities for outdoor recreation abound, while its renowned beaches, particularly Waikawa, Waitārere and Foxton, are among the lower North Island’s best loved, with Waitārere in particular offering surfers both left- and right-hand waves.

Explore similar articles in our most recent edition of the Lifestyle & Residential Collection.

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