Couple who moved to West Coast say they haven't looked back

08 July 2023
Development West Coast
Nearly two years ago, Eliza Hood and her family left Gisborne for the charming coastal town of Greymouth. They didn't just find a new home, but also a welcoming community and a surprising economic trend that contrasts with the rest of New Zealand.

"When we came down everyone was so friendly, especially working in the pharmacy you meet a lot of the locals," Hood recalls about their move. The Hoods didn't just settle into the community, they dived in headfirst, buying not only a house but the local pharmacy.

"We got more for our money and having bought a business as well, and just being able to afford both. We also have three kids so being able to afford day-care and travel costs, it's a smaller town so it takes us less to get around," she added.

As mortgage rates across New Zealand go through the roof, making housing unaffordable for many, the West Coast is challenging the trend.

"On the West Coast average house prices are significantly lower than the rest of the country so under $400,000, so to service a mortgage nationally it's over 50 per cent of your income," Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne observed.

On the other hand, figures from Infometrics show that West Coasters spend nearly half of that amount, with people spending on average 27% of their salary on their mortgage.

"We do have also higher average salaries than the rest of the country so very affordable place to live," Milne highlighted.

The region has not only defied the economic difficulties of the pandemic but surpassed pre-pandemic job numbers. "We are seeing an influx of skilled people wanting to come into the coast which is great because we really need those highly skilled people to drive the economy," Milne added.

Contrary to national trends, the West Coast offers affordability and a thriving community. For many, like the Hoods, it's more than a home, it's a dream come true, and a choice they wouldn't change.

Sunset over Mawhera Quay in Greymouth
Greymouth / Mawhera
Eliza Hood
Eliza Hood

Some numbers ....

๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฌ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ท๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐˜€ (source StatsNZ)
Jobs on the West Coast increased by 240 over the past year, with 503 more job than before the pandemic.

Highest salary growth (source TradeMe)

The West Coast has the highest salary growth in NZ (+8.3%) based on job ads on TradeMe during the second quarter of the year.

3rd ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ก๐—ญ (source TradeMe)
West Coast's average salary of $70,875 was the third highest in NZ (just behind Wellington and Auckland), based on job ads on TradeMe during the second quarter of the year.

๐—๐—ผ๐—ฏ ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐˜๐—ต (source Seek)
West Coast job ads rose by 4% year-on-year (May '23 vs May '22), compared to a national average of -22%.

๐— ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ก๐—ญ (source Infometrics)
- NZ: $928,656,
- West Coast: $360,296

NZ households are now spending over half of their incomes servicing mortgages - 50.4%. In comparison, the West Coast has the lowest rate in the country at just 27.4%.

๐Ÿฏ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป (source NIWA)
The West Coast is the third sunniest region so far this year with 1,210 sunshine hours

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