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Tiny Canterbury Towns Change With Urban Sprawl

Samantha Venning uncovers how much Christchurch and the surrounding towns have changed in the past 20 years.


1 March 2016

As a born and bred Cantabrian, the recent five-year anniversary of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake was an emotional reminder of that terrible day and the resilience of the people that live there.

I was in the beautiful Garden City for the anniversary and after the recent shakes I inspected a number of properties including my families’, our clients’ and our own. I was pleasantly surprised to see little, if any, damage. It was comforting to see our new properties – built since 201 – withstanding the effects of regular earthquakes.

I have been in Christchurch frequently over the last few weeks with a property settlement as well as an unplanned Christchurch Hospital bedside vigil with my husband. Every cloud has a silver lining and this frightening experience gave us a chance to take stock and consider where we want to live when our children leave our home in the Wairarapa. We're thinking Christchurch!

Spoilt For Choice

Christchurch has New Zealand’s second largest international airport, easy access to the rest of the South Island, great beaches and multiple ski fields. Hagley Park rivals any inner city green space; perfect for cycling, walking and relaxing. The challenge is the wealth of choice!

Outlying towns like Rangiora, Oxford, Cust and Rolleston have all changed dramatically since the earthquake of 2011. Small sleepy towns are now economical powerhouses with the infrastructure one needs to enjoy life.

Currently we love the lifestyle the Wairarapa affords us – large houses and sections, a lack of congestion and great infrastructure. However, we’re also realising those smaller outlying towns in Christchurch offer similar lifestyles and manageable commutes to a major city and international airport.

The changing landscape of what these surrounding districts offer is a very attractive draw card for people who want to capitalise on the benefits of small-town living.

At the same time, the inner city hub continues to grow. At time of writing I had just returned from setting up a new apartment opposite the amazing new central Margaret Mahy playground, one of the largest playgrounds in the Southern Hemisphere. It was bustling with families enjoying the different zones. Walkable inner-city neighbourhoods are at the core of the rebuild and it is exciting to be part of the affordable inner-city housing rebuild. Christchurch offers something for everyone, and for investors a myriad of choices will suit diverse strategies and budgets.

Samantha Venning grew up in Christchurch and moved to Wellington when she was 20. Since then she has spent 20 plus years renovating property around New Zealand. She is a passionate interior decorator and seasoned property investor who runs a busy family and property renovation business. She can be contacted at samantha@ thepropertyfactory.co.nz


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