Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

NZ's housing gap $22 million wide

Derelict house with river views near Wanganui is 3000 times cheaper than Auckland magnate's clifftop mansion.

The clifftop mansion and grounds of New Zealand's richest man in Glendowie (left) and the cheapest house on Whanganui River Rd. Photos / Janna Dixon, APN
The clifftop mansion and grounds of New Zealand's richest man in Glendowie (left) and the cheapest house on Whanganui River Rd. Photos / Janna Dixon, APN

One left school before he hit his teens and worked hard as a tradesman to support his 11 children. The other is worth $7 billion and spends his days on luxury yachts and travels around the world for his global packaging business.

They are the owners of the cheapest and most expensive homes in New Zealand.

The Herald asked Quotable Value to reveal the highs and lows of the property market to show the widening gap between values in Auckland and the rest of the country.

First-home buyers unable to compete in the city may consider a move to the Manawatu, where Alec Wineti's derelict family home on Whanganui River Rd is valued at $7000.

It's 3142 times less expensive than the priciest house in the country - a $22 million mansion in Glendowie owned by New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart.

The information provided was based on the latest council valuations. It covered houses classed as "homes" rather than baches and did not include lifestyle blocks or farms.

The weatherboard 70sq m home in Wanganui, which sits on 0.5ha and backs on to the river, has been vacant for a number of years.

Mr Wineti, 79, grew up in the three-bedroom house with his brother and sister, before moving to Napier to work and bring up his 11 children with his wife, Molley, 77.

His father, Ariki, a local farmworker, built the home in the 1930s and his brother John lived there with his wife and children for several years until his death. Mrs Wineti said a local man had recently been squatting in the home. After discovering this, the couple met him at the marae and agreed he could stay if he paid the rates. They now believe he has left.

Mrs Wineti said she hadn't seen the house for years and would talk to her husband's sister about selling it.

"The house may not be liveable. There mightn't be anything to stand on. There hasn't been anyone in it - well, if there was, we haven't been told."

The Wanganui District Council said the cost of a building consent alone, should the owners rebuild, would be at least $1490 for a small property - about 60sq m - worth up to $100,000 in value.

Mayor Annette Main said the house had "a stunning outlook across the Whanganui River to the native bush-clad hills".

"We currently have a very good range of houses available for sale across the Wanganui district, many reflecting the heritage aspects of such a long-established urban area.

"The layout of the city centre, flanked as it is by hills, mean a choice of views - river, lake or sea are all options," she said.

"House prices remain very affordable and our district is fast becoming a desirable option for people who are looking for a way to balance work with family."

Graeme Hart and his wife Robyn's 878sq m clifftop home in Riddell Rd, Glendowie, which sits on just over 2ha, includes the main 1930s mansion, a summer house, sleepout, guest quarters, swimming pool and spa, tennis court, playground and garage.

The famously private couple bought the property in 1995 for $2 million. The current valuation is made up of $15.5 million for the land and $6.5 million in improvements. The rates bill this year was the highest in the country at $63,320.47.

Mr Hart, worth $7 billion according to the latest Forbes Rich List, also owns a homestead in Church Bay on Waiheke Island and a 58m yacht called Ulysses, worth about $124 million.

- NZ Herald

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