Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Luxury homes: Going, going and... still going

Limited pool of potential buyers means pricey properties stay on the market, waiting for the right offer

From left: Orakei Mansion - $13m, Cowes Bay Estate - $33m, Ridgetop Estate - $8m. Photo / supplied
From left: Orakei Mansion - $13m, Cowes Bay Estate - $33m, Ridgetop Estate - $8m. Photo / supplied

A mansion valued at $33 million is among properties in Auckland's most exclusive suburbs, on secluded island beaches or farmland that are awaiting rich-list buyers.

A Herald comparison of listings on property website Realestate.co.nz reveals mansions - whose features include pools, tennis courts and helipads - that have been on the market from as long ago as 2006.

The 10 oldest listings for residential properties in the Auckland region, excluding some outlying island homes, were dated between October of that year and the same month in 2008.

A 10-bedroom Puhoi mansion with an asking price of $1.599 million was the longest listed. Rodney Real Estate agent Alan Morton-Jones said the Puhoi property had been on and off the market since 2006.

It was undergoing renovations that had been halted because of "code of compliance issues" which might explain a sale delay, he said.

That property was followed by a $1.95 million solar- and wind-powered home on 23.32 hectares of Waiheke Island's Cowes Bay that has been up for sale since February 2007.

Also in Cowes Bay, an opulent estate worth $33 million has been for sale since July 2007.

The property has eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, a tennis court and indoor pool, private beach and 36 hectares of land.

Agent Michael Boulgaris said the property had been on and off the market as the owners waited for the right price in the right market conditions.

"It's a hot property, but only for the right price," he said. "If you have a person that perhaps doesn't want to sell or have to sell, you'll perhaps wait until the right price arises."

An architecturally designed Orakei home with expansive ocean views, five bedrooms and a $13 million price tag has been on the market since March 2007.

In neighbouring suburb St Heliers, an $8 million five-bedroom, four-bathroom home on 3819sq m including a pool, gym and tennis court has featured for sale since August 2007.

In Whangaparaoa, a stunning clifftop home with five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a swimming pool perched on the edge with expansive ocean views has been left awaiting offers over $2.2 million since January 2008.

"They aren't actually actively on the market," said the agent associated with 1272 Whangaparaoa Rd's online listing, who did not want to be named.

"It is just sitting on the market on the website, it is not really actively being marketed."

The property that came in 10th on the Herald's list, 443 Matakana Valley Rd, Matakana, had been reduced by $300,000 from its original asking price when listed in October 2008, said Barfoot & Thompson agent Bruce Goodhue.

"It's quite big, over 100 acres (40 hectares) and has a very steep driveway running up to the house, which is perched on top of a hill," he said. "We have reduced the original price it was first listed at, I think it was about $2.4 million to start off with but we reduced it quite a long time ago."

It was now on offer for $2.1 million, a price range that was not accessible for many punters, said Mr Goodhue.

"As soon as you get up around the $2 million mark, not that many people have that in their back pocket."

Realestate.co.nz national marketing manager Paul McKenzie said the properties appealed to smaller groups of buyers.

"The key things that stick out to me is they are all quite niche properties," he said.

"They are lifestyle properties a bit further out of Auckland or in quite a high price bracket. There aren't as many buyers for a $33 million home, for example, the same as there are for lower-priced homes in Auckland.

"It is the same for homes out of town, a $3 million home in Warkworth is a lot higher [priced] for its type than a $3 million home in Remuera."

The median sale time for a standard residential property in Auckland at the moment was 34 days, said Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O'Sullivan. Nationally, the median was 39days.

She said coastal, island and lifestyle properties were typically slower to move.

"It's about finding someone for whom that lifestyle is going to work."

Ms O'Sullivan said properties with higher price tags also had a smaller market in New Zealand.

"These properties are obviously specialist properties and the vendors are obviously under no pressure to sell if they have been on the market a while and not prepared to lower their expectations."

It was not necessarily a bad sign if a house had taken a long time to sell, she said.

"You should take each property on its merits. In each case you would ask the agent about research that has been done on the property, what information you should be aware of in regards to the property.

"Each property you look at, you should do the full due diligence on - not just the ones [where you are] paying $30 million."

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- NZ Herald

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