NZ mega-mansions set to break all records

Agents dealing in prime New Zealand real estate predict that exclusive local property will soon be jostling for position on the annual Forbes list of the world's most expensive homes for sale.

This year only the Waiheke Island's Cowes Bay property, with an asking price of $26.5 million, showed up on the list. But top-end real estate agent Graham Wall said the price of prime New Zealand was "about to explode".

"Every single piece of coastline and harbourside in New Zealand is massively undervalued. New Zealand is the only place on earth that is advantaged by the global phenomena that is disadvantaging the rest of the world. Things like pollution and overcrowding means isolation works for us."

He predicted that prime properties in places like the Bay of Islands, Hawke's Bay and Queenstown, and waterfront properties around Auckland were about to enjoy "an explosion in value, simply because New Zealand's time has come.

"It's coinciding with everything. We're going to win the World Cup Rugby, the America's Cup, we're starting to win things that it looked like we couldn't do. We 're even winning the cricket. This is New Zealand's time in the sun," Wall said.

In the past two months his company had sold Auckland waterfront properties for $10 million, $7.7 million and $6.5 million.

"Two or three years ago, the prices would have seemed outrageous, but the fact is, what we have in New Zealand is what the world wants."

High-end estate agent Michael Boulgaris agrees New Zealand real estate will feature increasingly on lists like the Forbes real estate.

"Today, international investors want to have a wide portfolio of investments around the world, and it is so easy to jump on a plane and look at properties in other locations. It is trendy almost to have properties scattered worldwide in your portfolio," Boulgaris said.

New Zealand had no capital gains tax, no stamp duty and no "gazumping" as in Britain.

"I believe it's the easiest place in the world to buy property."

Boulgaris said there had been steady interest in the Cowes Bay property, and he had recently flown Korean and American clients there in a helicopter. Overseas clients who had arrived in Auckland on their super-yacht were scheduled to look at it this weekend.

Internet marketing for this sort of property made all the difference, he said. "The internet today is the worldwide audience."

Last year, he sold a Queenstown property for $2.8 million which the clients bought sight unseen after viewing it on the internet. Other clients made a sight unseen offer of $3 million for a property they had seen on the internet, an offer which was turned down by the owners.

Last year's top sale in New Zealand was $10 million for businesswoman Diane Foreman's North Shore clifftop home, but many more millions are being spent on creating new mega-mansions.

Chrisco couple Richard and Ruth Bradley have spent $30 million on a sprawling estate at Coatesville, and on Auckland's Paritai Drive, Eric Watson's business partner Mark Hotchin is building a 2800sq m mansion which, taking into account the $17.5 million he paid for the land, will cost him more than $30 million by the time it is finished. Two years ago Hotchin paid a record $13.85 million for a holiday home on Waiheke Island.

And Navman co-founder Lionel Rogers is building a $20 million home in Parnell's St Stephen's Ave, a Getty-marble clad home with views over Hobson Bay and the Waitemata Harbour.

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