You can't take Taranaki out of the girl – Laurel Caskey loving Arizto real estate in the 'Naki

8 Jul 2024

Laurel Caskey knows what people who move home around Taranaki have always known and what people who are moving back or moving in are finding out.

From the northern climes coming out of the Waikato, down the centre in the shadow of Mt Taranaki or around the Surf Highway to loop through the South Taranaki bight, the real estate market is usually more resistant to the big up and down trends found in larger, more urban regions.

REINZ statistics for May 2024 show a median price increase for Taranaki of 7.5% year-on-year to $575,000, with 16 per cent more sales than in May 2023 and a reduction of days on market by nearly two weeks, down to 42.

It is late-June at the time of publishing but Caskey is not hunkering down for a quiet winter – the Friday before she was interviewed she sent a new listing 'live' at 11pm and by 11.15am on Saturday she had an enquiry that turned into the first of four offers in as many days.

And that was without a single one of the planned open homes.

"It's vendors that actually listened [on best market price]," explains the mother and stepmother of four young men and grandmother of six.

"We've pretty busy at the moment.

"Yes, we've got properties that are sitting, but Taranaki is a pretty steady all year round.

"This time of year we have a lull with farming – June is the takeover, share-milkers change jobs, and it is the end of the tax year.

"We've been flat out for two weeks; we've got listings waiting to come to the market as well."

Born and raised in Taranaki, educated at Highlands Intermediate and New Plymouth Girls High, Caskey and her family have only spent a short time away from her beloved birthplace – a four years in the King Country for primary school and then later with her own family just over three years in Gisborne due to work opportunities, returning home in 2006.

As well as New Plymouth she has lived in both the Stratford and South Taranaki Districts – before she and her husband sold up during the Covid pandemic and bought a property in the warm North Taranaki farmland area – a beautiful spot only 150m walk from the beach-cliff spot where she loves to go fishing.

"Absolutely, there's no better place in the whole of New Zealand to be – Taranaki's got everything, apart from K-Mart," Caskey laughs.

Buying her first home at 18, Caskey had always been interested in real estate, having started out as a sales representative in the Taranaki-Manawatu area for items like greeting cards and big commercial brands like ETA and Pepsi.

She initially worked for a local real estate company before switching to insurance work and eventually becoming a direct market company owner.

After nearly a decade in a half in that profession as a boss, she admits to being "worn out", so it was time for another change.

"The two things I loved doing was I loved working insurance and loved working in real estate."

Caskey was welcomed back to another local company but found that while she loved helping her owners, the elements of the industry she did not enjoy in her first stint were still prevalent.

Companies still seemed to make the process all about themselves and not their clients.

"At first, it wasn't a nice industry to be in. It didn't sit well, what was going on."

Caskey felt she was being instructed not to work with certain properties due to internal reasoning, and also getting pressure in-house from some of her fellow salespeople whose interest in her listings could undo a lot of patient hard work in establishing rapport with her clients.

That led to a meeting with now-Arizto chief executive Daniel Budd and after six months of discussion and consideration, she made the jump.

"With Arizto, I could be the agent I wanted to be and work with vendors I wanted to work with.

"We will get stuck in to assist our vendors to present their property well, we will do what we need to do to help get the property ready.

"The whole drive is to help people on the journey and be the best agent I need to be for them."

Caskey aligned with another respected veteran of the industry in Taranaki in Sue Lawrence, who has 25 years worth of negotiation experience and satisfied clients who keep coming back to them.

They had transacted over a dozen and a half sales – most notably in Stratford but around the region in Inglewood, Waitara, Toko and the New Plymouth township.

Part of a group of eight individuals and teams representing Arizto in the region, they have the digital technology at their fingertips and the best value commissions to service one of the best rural regions in the country.

Is it finally time to make the switch? Contact Arizto today to discuss joining New Zealand's expanding and exciting team!

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