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The Year Of Momentum

Campbell Venning says there is $1.3 billion to be spent in the last three months of 2016.

By: Campbell Venning

1 January 2016

Last year was a very quiet year in the Christchurch property market and we loved every minute of it as it made for some excellent investment opportunities, negotiated for our clients. All were made in a relatively short period of time - when supply exceeded demand - allowing for buyer-favoured deals to be done.

Looking to 2016 and what the year will bring - it is shaping up to be a very different landscape.

The total rebuild was last estimated at $40 billion and I am sure it will surpass $50 billion when the bean counters finally tally it all up. Regardless of that final bill, we are talking large numbers. It is Canterbury’s strongest industry right now and it will be for many years to come.

Property markets ebb and flow with the goings on at macro and micro level and the many drivers that push or pull them along make for gains, flat periods and dips. Obviously there are many unknowns in any market, otherwise we would all be flying Learjets. However, in a market such as Christchurch you have some copy and paste parallels from other international cities which have gone through similar construction exercises, so it is a little simpler to forecast what’s coming next.

The red tape and delays often reported by the media and naysayers in 2015 have all been for good or political reasons. I’m one of the few who applaud the decision makers of Christchurch for taking the proper time to get it right. Consulting with people who have gone through it before such as Bill Johnson, who headed up the recovery efforts after hurricane Katrina devastated Alabama in 2005, is a good move. Johnson and other experts believe it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and when advising Christchurch’s rebuild custodians in 2012 to be patient, Cantabrians and politicians took their words seriously. Charles Eadie who led the re-build of Santa Cruz after the 1989 earthquake says Christchurch’s “bones” are excellent, especially the precincts and open green spaces.

The new urban design process being enforced in Christchurch has caused a lot of construction delays - no question, however those faceless people will be thanked in years to come when tourists and Kiwis are looking at an internationally recognised city that embraces the old and showcases the new. I can even picture our photogenic Prime Minister at his old school (Burnside), Ritchie in tow, smiling like a Cheshire cat for the photo bomb as he awards a developer, builder, architect, engineer or urban designer with some sort of international gong.

So yes, these urban design and planning processes take time and 2015 was a year of delays - some very frustrating. But when you see what is planned for 2016, you will find that we will be reflecting on a very different Christchurch, come 2017.

Campbell Venning has been investing in property for over 20 years and is a director of Positive Real Estate, a New Zealand and Australian business that educates customers in long-term, low-risk investing as well as providing a licensed real estate agency exclusively for their clients. Visit wwwpositiverealestate. co.nz to find out more.

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