Ramshackle homes in some of Auckland's best streets are fetching record amounts as land across the city becomes more scarce.
Some of the rundown homes need up to $800,000 in repairs and renovations but are being snapped up for their prestigious, city-side addresses.
One dilapidated 100-year-old villa in Fleet St, Eden Tce, encourages prospective buyers to "renovate or detonate" the house, which sits on 339sq m of land in the prime development area.
The property, marketed by real estate agency Harcourts for $1.1 million, is on land promoted as a possible 10-unit site if the house is demolished.
Despite it being a "developer's dream", estate agent Larissa Tsapko said most of the 6000-plus hits on website Trade Me were from private buyers who saw potential in the character villa.
"It is a beautiful site and the house is original so it needs a lot of work," Tsapko said. "But people look at it and see the value."
Double grammar zones in Auckland bump up value. A rundown Mt Eden castle, in two flats, is described as a "diamond in the rough" by the agent selling it.
The house, with a CV of $930,000, was built by an English immigrant in 1943 and needs a complete renovation.
"It's on a large, 941sq m block of land so there is plenty of potential for people to really develop the site," Harcourts agent Pauline Lancaster said.
The site, which could not be subdivided, was a "goldmine" in an area where land was a prized asset. "The house needs a lot of work but it has rarity value."
In the first day Lancaster had taken eight groups through and had a formal offer but said the house would go to auction later this month.
"The beauty of buying this type of property is you are not paying for someone else's renovation," she said.
Steven Glucina of LJ Hooker Ponsonby said people desperate for a city fringe address were paying more than $800,000 for something deemed "unliveable".
A property on one of Ponsonby's most prestigious streets was listed as a "bachelor pad" that had a kitchen you wouldn't cook in, he said.
Yet Glucina said interest was high in the property. Half a dozen builders had been through before the first open home.
A rebuild, central heating and a pool later
Prime Rd in Grey Lynn lives up to its name - but the house at No 30 certainly did not.
This is how the four-bedroom pre-war villa looked when it was sold in June last year - rusty, corrugated iron roofing, holes in the floor and scrim walls.
Despite that, it nudged the million-dollar mark, selling for $987,500 because of its good bones and great location.
Barfoot and Thompson agent Andre Bodde said the property had been in a terrible state but the new owner had rebuilt it, transforming it into a "captivating and impressive" home with an in-ground swimming pool and central heating. Now, the house is back on the market - and yesterday the estate agents showed round prospective buyers at an open home.
Bodde said potential buyers had shown interest at more than $1.6 million.By Kirsty Wynn Email Kirsty