High-end properties on market

A huge beachfront section featuring a modest three-bedroom house is listed for $7.9 million - the most expensive residential property listed for sale with an asking price in the Western Bay.

Although the house is small, the land value along the Mount Maunganui beachfront on Oceanbeach Rd is a huge 4866sq m with the potential to subdivide.

Realestate.co.nz shows other top-dollar properties for those with cash to spare include a $3.8 million Te Puna mansion with water views from every room, a geothermal pool, spa and gym, and the possibility of its own helipad.

The price has been dropped from $5 million.

Mount Maunganui, Te Puna and Bethlehem feature heavily in the top 10 list, with a variety of properties from penthouse apartments for up to $3.75 million to a large Tuscan-style house in Papamoa for $2.695 million.

Other top-end properties were not included in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend or on Realestate.co.nz, as their prices were unlisted

At the other end of the spectrum, buyers can get on the property ladder for $165,000, which will buy a two-bedroom unit in a quiet cul de sac in Te Puke.

Other properties under $200,000 were found in Paengaroa, Otumoetai, Gate Pa and Katikati.<inline type="photogallery" id="11378" align="outside" embed="no" />

Buyers could get a top Mount Maunganui address for under $200,000 - but the catch was the house had "weathertight issues".

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Bayleys and Eves, said there was still a market for top-end homes selling for $2 million or more.

"Not everyone has been affected to the same extent in the last three years [by the economic down-turn]. There's still people around with the kind of money.

"Not a lot of homes come on to the market, it's right at the top end. Buyers come from both within the region and further afield.

"Properties need to tick all the boxes because buyers in this bracket are very particular about what they want - they don't settle for something that is nearly what they want."

Four properties in the top 10 have been on the market for at least nine months.

This could be because sellers had "a very firm view" of what price they expected, Mr Stanway said.

"If they are not under extreme pressure to sell, then they sit there until [a buyer] comes along.

"On the other hand if people are not in that position, and they need to cash up, they have got to meet the market, just like in any price bracket.

"It's just a fact that if they are in the market as a willing seller and they need to sell that home, they need to listen and look at what the market is doing."

At the lower end of the market, Mr Stanway said, "You get what you pay for." Homes priced under $200,000 tended to be either small, in poor condition or in a less desirable area.

Owners trying to sell leaky homes had been forced to drop the price and "clearly reveal" the home had problems, such as the Rita St property at Mount Maunganui.

"That happens on a regular basis as there are a lot of affected homes in that category, and the prices are adjusted accordingly.

"Buyers do their homework on what they believed will be required to make good."

Max Martin, franchise owner of Harcourts Advantage Realty, said there had been a lot of recent interest in homes over $2 million, but not a lot of sales.

"[Buyers] are waiting for something - we are not sure what. People are not buying so much on emotion these days but on price."

By contrast there had been more sales in homes selling for between $600,000 and $1 million, and Mr Martin predicted that confidence would move up to more expensive properties. "It's moving in the right direction. We have had a definite lift in average sale since before Christmas."

At the opposite end of the market, Mr Martin said it was possible to get some good quality two-bedroom units in Tauranga for just over $200,000.

With interest rates low, it was a good opportunity for people to get into a starter home, he said.

Greg Purcell, principal of Ray White Real Estate at Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, noted increased sales in the last few months in homes priced at $750,000 to $1 million-plus.

"While that doesn't mean a huge amount of sales, there have been sales nonetheless. Before we would have some inquiry but no real action. It was like a crisis of confidence at that top end."

Mr Purcell said sellers at the top end of the market had taken a while to accept they would not get the same price for their home as they would before 2008.

"It's one thing to tell someone their house that was $450,000 is now $410,000, but it's another thing to someone who's had an independent valuation of $2.2 million that they are going to get $1.3 million.

"That is, in reality, what you have to do. That process has taken a while."

Mr Purcell said some sellers kept their home on the market for several months in the expectation "things are going to change tomorrow".

"But we are not in a volatile market."

At the opposite end of the market, Mr Purcell said homes in Papamoa started at $200,000-$250,000.

Interest in lower-priced homes had increased as investors had re-entered the market, Mr Purcell said. And he was optimistic the KiwiSaver first-home deposit scheme would have a positive impact on the lower end of the market.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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