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Flowing again . . . Northern motorway improvements have eased the major traffic congestion of recent years. PHOTO: FILE

By DAVID HILL

Business leaders are optimistic of further growth in the Waimakariri district.

Housing remains in demand in Rangiora and Kaiapoi and there is “a really good vibe”, Enterprise North Canterbury general manager Heather Warwick says.

“There’s signs of positivity still in the housing market. We all know it’s going to get to 100,000 people and it’s not slowing down.

“I think some people are a bit worried about the increase in the minimum wage.

“There’s concern about how they will afford it, but people will spend it, so it will go round.”

With Bunnings Warehouse coming to Rangiora, Mrs Warwick says there is still a gap for big-box retailers, with Waimakariri’s population now past 60,000.

She says the new Christchurch Northern Corridor has eased pressure on the city commute and should help create a stronger demand for local real estate.

Rangiora Promotions chairman Ross Ditmer, who is a real estate agent with Bayleys, says house prices have been “stagnant” in Rangiora over the last 12 months, but the lifestyle block market has been strong.

“Overall residential sales have been fairly stable and I think the market is in pretty good shape.”

He says the rental market remains static, with an average of 30 to 35 rental properties available in Rangiora at any time.

“Investors will be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to see what the new Government is going to do with fringe benefits and capital gains tax.

“It means people may need to look at property as a long-term investment, rather than selling it on after two years or five years.”

Mr Ditmer says Rangiora has a positive vibe, but he would like the council to consider long-term growth opportunities in the Rangiora central business district.

Kaiapoi Promotions Association chairwoman Tracy Inwood says the town ended last year on a high with the Jordan Luck concert. She says 2018 will be exciting, with regeneration projects and the Riverview Terraces development under way.

“I’m pretty sure people will be biting at the bit to see what happens.”

She hopes the council will develop some multi-purpose recreational grounds in the former red zone.