Prices returning to former highs

By James Fuller

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Million-dollar Mount Maunganui homes are becoming the rule rather than the exception as the top-end of Tauranga's property market springs back to life.

Tauranga's real estate agents are reporting increased sales activity for high-value homes with their biggest problem being a lack of sales stock.

"It's been very noticeable, especially in downtown Mount Maunganui, which is the prime real estate area for people looking to move to Tauranga from around New Zealand and overseas," John O'Donnell, principal at LJ Hooker Papamoa told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.


 


"There are some seriously well-heeled people investing in properties there. Homes worth $1 million in that area are no longer the exception, it's becoming the rule.

"The problem I have is there's not enough property on the market.

If you take it year on year the number of homes for sale is down by around 20 per cent."

Bayleys group sales and marketing manager Karen Worley supported Mr O'Donnell's comments. "As a company we've seen more sales in the top-end of the market than normal for the time of year."

Taking the January to May period, and comparing it with last year, Bayleys Tauranga had sold twice as many $1 million plus properties in 2013.

Mrs Worley said there had been increased interest in lifestyle blocks on the city fringes, including areas such as Pyes Pa and Tauriko.

"Prices have come back significantly since the 2007 peak and the feeling is that these properties are offering good value."

Purchasers were a real mix, said Mrs Worley, with buyers from the Waikato, Auckland and Tauranga all represented.

Bayleys at The Mount enjoyed a good year for top-end sales, up on previous years, but those sales had started to drop away in the past six weeks. This was thought to be seasonal.

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Group, which owns Eves and Bayleys, said good volumes of sales had been experienced at the higher end, with market prices stable or starting to increase.

"People looking for those types of properties know exactly what they want and are prepared to pay for it," he said.

Mr Stanway said streets close to traditional favourites such as Marine Parade, like Muricata Avenue, which sits one back, had seen a lot of activity.

Away from the ocean front, Mr Stanway said parts of Bethlehem had always been popular and still were, with excellent schooling being one of the attractions.

A Bay of Plenty Times Weekend report revealed six of the 10 top-priced Tauranga properties, as listed on realestate.co.nz, were nestled in Mount Maunganui's sought-after beachside locations.

The highest-value property, with a CV of $7 million and sale by negotiation, was a stunning Marine Parade property sitting on a 1401sq m section. The stylish four-bedroom Kerry Avery-designed property stretched from Marine Parade to Muricata Avenue, with access from both. Its features included a floodlit tennis court, heated pool, spa pool, gym, office, wine cellar, self-contained guest accommodation and four car garaging.

Second on the list, with a price indication of $4.8 million to $5.2 million, was the chance to develop a superbly positioned site - on Pilot Bay in the shadow of Mauao - into a luxury apartment complex, suitable for up to 20 apartments.

Rounding out the top three was a spectacular contemporary family home in Te Puna. Offers in excess of $4 million were invited for the John Henderson-designed four-bedroom, three-bathroom home, which enjoyed a hilltop location and panoramic 360 degree views. The 617sq m home included a 50sq m outdoor entertaining room and was set in 5.26ha of land.

There were 155 residential properties listed in Tauranga as being valued in excess of $1 million.

Other top-end properties were not included in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend report because their prices were unlisted or they were not on realestate.co.nz.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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