$1m buys better quality property

By Ellen Irvine

The Tauranga "million-dollar club" is more exclusive than it was a decade ago, with $1 million now buying a better quality property after values dropped.

The top-end housing market is seeing more action than it was a year ago, with more homes being sold - but values remain static.

Real estate agents say houses which previously sold for more than $1 million are now available for less.

But there are still plenty of properties for sale in that bracket - mainly waterfront, properties with sea views or large executive homes.

A search on Trade Me for $1 million plus homes in Tauranga brought up 159 listings, and 61 in the Western Bay.

Simon Martin, managing director of Harcourts Tauranga, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend recent $1 million-plus sales included a beachfront property in Sunbrae Cres and a large home with a view in Cherrywood.

"There is more movement in that market than a year ago. Volume of sales has increased a bit, but it's increasing off a very low base. It's encouraging to see."

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Group, which owns Eves and Bayleys, said the $1 million-plus market was more active than it was two to three years ago.

"One of the reasons for that is that market represents very good value for buyers.

"There's been an adjustment of prices and values at that top end over the last four to five years.

"There are people around with cash at that price who have been waiting and watching, are very informed in terms of what the market is doing, and they know exactly what they want.

"That's what's driven most of the demand."

Some buyers had sold their homes a year ago and had rented while waiting for the ideal home at the right price.

Mr Stanway said million-dollar properties in Tauranga were usually beachfront or one house back from the beach, or were in sought-after pockets of Tauranga such as Harbour Drive and parts of Matua. Oceanbeach Rd and Muricata Ave were also million-dollar addresses.

Tozer Real Estate recently sold a house on Matua Rd for $1.75 million. The 3000sq m section and home had been in the same family since 1960.

"There's not many of those big sections left," Paul Tozer said.

"They don't come up very often and they tend to sell."

Mr Tozer said there was demand in the $1 million-plus category, but not at a significant level.

"Not that many are selling at the moment. I would say it very much depends on the property.

"Waterfront is always going to be something that's going to be held in prestige and demand.

"There are lots of properties for $1 million-plus but they might not necessarily have what the buyer wants."

There was a shortage of homes for sale across all price categories, including the top end, Mr Tozer said. If that did not change, prices could go up.

"It may change from a buyer's market to a seller's market."

Neville Falconer, principal at LJ Hooker Tauranga, said the million-dollar price tag was significantly higher than the Tauranga average sale of $350,000 to $400,000.

While there was a time when $1 million sales "hardly raised an eyebrow", that was not the case now.

What $1 million will buy you

  • Three-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Oceanview Rd, Mount Maunganui, with ocean and harbour views.

  • Five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in Bethlehem with views.

  • Three-bedroom, two-bathroom waterfront home in Matua.

  • Four-bedroom, three-bathroom waterfront home in Waihi.

  • Three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a view in Omokoroa.

  • Executive four-bedroom two-bathroom home with views in Athenree.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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