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Paeroa just the place for former Auckland family

"the mortgage payments on the family home... in Paeroa are less than the rent they were paying to their Beachlands landlord"

Whenever Paeroa couple, JB and Emily Rawls, go back to Auckland they are reminded why they moved away.

“Everyone has their own agenda. It’s all so busy; rush, rush, rush,” says Emily, who prefers the slower pace of Paeroa.

“We really like small town life. Paeroa is a nice safe community, right down the road from quite a lot of things. People wave when you’re out in the car and it’s nice to run into people you know at the grocery store.”

Originally from America, the Rawls settled in Beachlands, Auckland, for a year following their move to New Zealand in 2007. Teaching at a school in Otara, JB says the inflated cost of living in Auckland was the biggest factor in the family’s decision to relocate. 

The Rawls family from Paeroa“We weren’t making it at all in Auckland,” he says, “even though I was working two jobs and Emily was working as well.”

At that stage the couple had one son, Riley, and Emily was pregnant with their second child, Lauren. Lauren and her younger brother, Carson, were born in Paeroa, where JB is now head of the PE and Health department at Paeroa College.

These days he walks to work and the mortgage payments on the family home the couple have bought in Paeroa are less than the rent they were paying to their Beachlands landlord.

“We couldn’t afford to buy our own home there (Beachlands),” says JB.

The Rawls family are not alone.

Harcourts Paeroa administration manager and licensed sales consultant, Connie Muir, says quite a few recent sales through the Paeroa real estate office have been to former city dwellers.

“The general feedback is that they love the friendly atmosphere (in Paeroa), the central location, and are simply loving the lifestyle.”

It’s a discovery Hauraki District Council Mayor, John Tregidga, and wife, Evelyn, made 35 years ago. Moving from the city to the Hauraki District with the intention of staying three or four years, they now intend to retire here.

“It has all the facilities one needs when raising a family. It’s close to some of the best beaches and walkways in New Zealand, has a great climate, is very affordable, and yet is still close enough to our major centres to visit family and friends or take in a show,” says Mayor Tregidga.

Whether buyers are looking to settle and make a home, set up a business, or start a rental portfolio, Ms Muir says real estate in the area is very affordable.

“Harcourts Paeroa is currently marketing houses for sale starting from $115,000 and sections are being marketed for sale starting from $58,000.”

$300,000 to $350,000 will buy a very nice house and land package and with a 10% deposit, fortnightly repayments on a $300,000 home are approximately $720, which works out less than Auckland rent.

Importantly for the family orientated couple, less financial pressure means they now have more time together and Emily is able to be a full-time, stay at home, Mum.

“I’m not interested in going back to work,” she says. “It’s really nice to be able to stay at home with the children.”

Involved in the local primary school, playgroups, and other community organisations, Emily says there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community when you have kids. During the week she has no trouble filling her days, and on the weekends Paeroa’s central location means it’s an easy day trip to Coromandel beaches or the bright lights of Hamilton, Tauranga, and Auckland.

Closer to home, the Karangahake Gorge provides more options for family days out, and JB regularly pedals the recently opened Hauraki Rail Trail as part of his fitness regime.

But it’s mostly the sense of small town community the Rawls family have found in Paeroa that keeps them there.

“The community just kind of embraced us,” says JB. “People we’ve met have been like family, they’ve helped us with the kids, and helped Emily especially. Without a doubt we wouldn’t have stayed here otherwise.”