Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Earthquake escapees keen to buy into new community development in Orewa

Six houses at Orewa's new Kensington Park have been sold to Canterbury earthquake escapees in the past few months.

Helen Wreaks, the park's marketing and communications manager, said Christchurch people had spent more than $3 million at the community north of Auckland, where 30 new residences are under construction on a sloping hill overlooking the site.

Two Christchurch buyers spent more than $1 million each on large houses there, she said.

The other four spent between $600,000 and $650,000 each, she said.

"We've just had more more inquiries. It's not as if these people came just after the earthquakes. These six lots [of] people were only in the last three months," she said.

"Being near the beach is a bonus but they settled in with the community atmosphere," Wreaks said.

Kensington Park Realty started late last year, specialising in site sales, although Wreaks said other real estate agencies have sold places there, too.

Building work started five years ago but the original developer, Patrick Fontein, went bankrupt and the site was widely cited in hearings at the High Court at Auckland.

In June, 2009, property developer John Sax said he was buying the park but scaling back development from what Fontein had planned. Sax is founder of the Southpark group of companies and his Southpark Corporation is a private company which has been developing properties for the past 30 years. His Kensington Park Holdings sits under Southpark.

Last week, Sax was reported as the buyer of a half-share of Islington Park, a 114ha Christchurch property.

Wreaks said Haydn & Rollett and Hughes Construction were the main builders working at the park, home to about 200 people with 113 homes sold and occupied on site, including stand-alone houses, terrace houses and apartments.

Terrace units have about five places in a block and are selling for up to $850,000 each. Apartments up to three bedrooms are going for $600,000 to $700,000 and stand-alone houses on the hill are selling for up to $1.2 million.

- NZ Herald

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