PHOTO: PIERS FULLER/STUFF Ellie Bradley and Ben Charteris are paying less for a mortgage on their new home in Pahiatua than they were paying for a two bedroom “hovel” in Palmerston North.

As the regions play catch-up in the property boom a small Tararua town is the unlikely star of its red hot local market.

Woodville’s proximity to the planned Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, which is still a few years from completion, has speculators snapping up real estate in anticipation.

Nigel Nicholson wanted to capitalise on Woodville’s rising market while also providing housing for workers who will be engaged in building the new cross-Ruahine Range highway.