Kiwis have been racing to join the city life, leaving Lake Waitaki village deserted and ripe for the picking.
Lake Waitaki village in Canterbury, New Zealand, was built in the 1930s to house labourers working at a nearby dam. However, since the late eighties, the village has stood mostly deserted when the operation of the dam was automated.
Boasting those picturesque mountain views for which New Zealand is famous for, the town includes eight three-bedroom homes, a lodge, a restaurant and bar with mahogany detailing and nine garages. The site also includes water rights and stands on 14 hectares of land beside the dam, which makes it a steal at NZ$2.8 million (US$1.8 million or AUS$2.6 million).
When the town was built, it housed a staff of 40 and their families, and catered to about 1,200 workers from the dam, which was the last New Zealand dam constructed using traditional tools like picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows.
After lying abandoned since 1989, the village was sold by the state in 1991, becoming the property of a private buyer. Since then, it’s been passed hot-potato style, but it seems no owner has quite managed to pull it out of its three-decade slump.
There has been a lot of interest in purchasing the town, real estate agent Kelli Milmine told The Guardian.
Prospective buyers have disclosed a number of motivations to Milmine, including a boutique farm, a winery, a tourism venture, and even the idea of a communal living arrangement. Unfortunately, hopeful locals have been somewhat deterred by the price, making offers closer to the NZ$1 million mark (US$650,000 or AUS$900,000).
Many of New Zealand’s small towns are suffering similar fates as Waitaki, as the country’s population moves towards metropolises. Small communities have too many jobs, a surplus of houses, and a conspicuous lack of citizens to fill them.
The Labour-led New Zealand government is putting a cool billion dollar sum annually into the regional development fund. The fund aims to tempt people back to the rural areas and away from their recently urbanised lives. How that’s going to work is yet to be seen, but if the idea appeals to you and you’ve got a few million behind you, the Lake Waitaki lifestyle is waiting.