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Lifestyle Collection: Mid Canterbury Property Enables Two Young Families to Achieve the Lifestyle Dream

March 2022

Mid Canterbury family shows entry to lifestyle property market can be within reach

for first time buyers

Taking the first step on the property ladder can be daunting, particularly when that step is into a lifestyle rather than a residential property. Brodie Stephens and Olivia Connolly took that step in 2016: in their late 20s, and with eight-month-old daughter Blaise, as Brodie explains.

“We knew what we were looking for: rural, though with services accessible, near to town, with space for a growing family. We took the plunge, left North Canterbury, and moved back to Mid Canterbury to take over the family business, which serves the rural sector. We knew we needed a lifestyle property. We spent 18 months looking.”

Brodie says, like other first-time buyers, their budget was tightly constrained.

“It was a boom time to sell. We hadn’t previously owned, so had no equity apart from cash. Due to our lack of knowledge and ignorance of how the process works, we missed out on a few properties. We looked for so long we became well-rehearsed in how each sale was likely to play out,” says Brodie. 

Eventually they found a 1.26 hectare Huntingdon property, near Lake Hood, nine kilometres south of Ashburton.

“It ticked the boxes for entry-level lifestyle. We had our finance sorted, and were able to go unconditional within five days, which made us an attractive purchaser. We realised that the vendor needed finance to buy another property, so rather than looking for a big spender, they needed quick cash, which we were able to offer, and which gave us the result we had been after for so long. When buying property, if you are in a cash position you have much better luck,” he says.

Connolly family live the lifestyle dream

Six years later, with their business developing and with sons Waldo, now four, and one-year-old Cohen arriving in the meantime, Brodie and Olivia are preparing to move their family back to North Canterbury.

In March they engaged Tim Gallagher and Dan van der Salm of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Ashburton, to offer it to the market. It sold quickly, as Tim explains.

“As soon as we advertised we received excellent enquiries and feedback, particularly via social media from other young families eager to pursue the lifestyle dream. Brodie and Olivia understand social media’s relevance, and we knew this property would particularly appeal via those channels. Through a deadline process, we received multiple offers, so much so that we brought the deadline forward.

“As it happened, the eventual purchasers first saw the property on my Facebook page. They are also a couple with young children: in their case two cricket-mad boys, who are thrilled to move from a property with no lawn to now be able to put a cricket pitch in the paddock, as well as practicing their cricket in the shed when it rains.

“Entering the lifestyle property market for the first time can be challenging. Brodie and Olivia have shown that it can be done, and we are delighted to have been involved as this property has now helped two young families to achieve that dream,” said Tim.


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