A survey of auction website TradeMe revealed that natural surrounds and native birds have been a draw card for property sales in Wellington, according to voxy.co.nz.
The study, undertaken by Dr Heidy Kikillus (Postdoctoral Fellow - Cities and Urban Nature) from Victoria University’s Biological Sciences department, involved searching TradeMe property listings every day for two years from June 2013 to June 2015.
"I found that wildlife and the city’s natural environment are being used as an incentive to get people to purchase property at certain locations across the Capital," says Dr Kikillus.
Although the majority of the properties advertised using nature, wildlife and birds in their listings were around the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, particularly in Karori, they were also referred to in property listings for Ngaio, Khandallah and Tawa.
Key words included in the search were specific, such as native birds, birdsong, urban oasis, tui, kÄkÄ, kereru, morepork, fantail, Zealandia, nature, korimako and bellbird, with general search key words ‘bird’ and ‘sanctuary’ left out as they generated to many irrelevant listings.
Over the time frame, a total of 666 listings were recorded comprising 224 sale listings, 266 rental listings and 176 flatmate-wanted listings and only TradeMe was analysed to avoid recording duplicates of properties listed on multiple sites.
The research was jointly funded by the University and the Council and Wellington City Council’s Open Space and Parks manager, Amber Bill says it shows how urban biodiversity can provide economic opportunities for the city.
"Heidy’s research shows how nature in the city holds much more potential for the Capital beyond just tourism,” said Bill.
“Money and economics are intrinsically tied to nature and by tapping into this notion we can hopefully work to take better advantage of this selling opportunity."
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said, "Harmony between the built and natural environments shows a good economy is highly compatible with caring for our biodiversity. Wellington is a truly biophilic city."
The City Council’s Natural Environment portfolio leader Cr Helene Ritchie says the survey results "back up what most Wellingtonians have figured out over the past few years - that the renewed presence of tui, kereru, kÄkÄand other native birds in our suburbs is making Wellington an even more attractive place to live.
"But let's not forget Zealandia exists as a restoration of our natural environment, not for real estate sale prices or sales!"
Bill says further studies of property sales would show whether properties promoted with ‘natural’ values were associated with higher financial return.