Alanah Eriksen

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

Paritai lost: The big mansion sell-off

Total price tag for 11 houses expected to reach at least $50 million in seller's market as locals, immigrants, returning Kiwis, and investors move in.

Paritai Drive, Orakei. Photo / Doug Sherring
Paritai Drive, Orakei. Photo / Doug Sherring

Rich-listers and their neighbours are selling up on a street long known as New Zealand's most expensive, with sales expected to reach at least $50 million.

Eleven of the 125 houses on Auckland's Paritai Drive in Orakei are for sale - the same number on the market for all of last year, according to realestate.co.nz figures provided to the Herald. A further five have sold in the past three months for a combined total of $6.9 million.

A string of millionaires are taking advantage of the seller's market, including property developer James Kirkpatrick; Cara Pollock-Turner, who is the wife of Sleepyhead boss Craig Turner; and Bruce Goodfellow, brother of National Party president Peter.

Property experts say the street's connotation with wealth and prestige was changing as more immigrants arrived looking for clifftop properties with sweeping sea views.

Over the past few years, the spot has been plagued by architectural eyesores, leaky homes, squatters starting fires, tenancy disputes, neighbours at war, and buses of nosey tourists wanting a glimpse of "millionaires' row".

Herne Bay's Cremorne St was last year named as the country's most expensive street, with an average value of $5.83 million. Paritai Drive did not feature in the top five.

The house with the highest council value being sold is the $8.2 million 1930s brick home belonging to Mrs Pollock-Turner - a former beauty queen - and her sisters Megan Pollock and Sharman Smit. It had been owned by their parents.

Mrs Pollock-Turner lives in another home on the street with her bed-chain boss husband who, with his brothers Graeme and Peter, is worth about $110 million, according to last year's National Business Review Rich List.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom house sits on a 1275sq m section and has seven car spaces. Described on a website listing as the "leading lady on Paritai", the property boasts unobstructed views to Rangitoto and Devonport, and was designed by American architect Roy Lippincott.

He designed the old Farmers tearooms on Hobson St, which is now part of the Heritage Hotel, the University of Auckland's former arts building on Princes St - now known as the Clock Tower - and the Smith & Caughey's department store extension in 1927.

Bruce Goodfellow's $5.1 million weatherboard home at 62 Paritai Drive is also in the names of business associates Edgar Preston and David Kelly.

It is understood to have been in the Goodfellow family for 77 years.

The family were estimated to be worth $500 million on NBR's rich list last year.

Other past and present residents of the street have included Hanover co-founder Mark Hotchin, Act Party leader John Banks, Gino Gurshin, who opened Portofino in the Viaduct Harbour, and former Westpac head George Frazis - who was the country's highest paid executive.

Former rich-lister, property developer David Henderson, is thought to be renting a home on the street.

Most of the properties are for sale by auction or invited tenders, but using known asking prices and the latest council valuations, the combined total is estimated at $51,330,000.

Paul McKenzie of realestate.co.nz, which lists houses from all of New Zealand's major real estate agencies, said the street had had 17 homes on the market so far this year, 11 for all of last year, and 24 in 2010.

Steven Hart, publisher of Where To Live In Auckland, said the street's connotation was changing in our diverse culture.

"Paritai means something to us because we've known about it a long time, but a lot of the wealth immigrants arriving over here from the UK and the US don't come with the same connotations. To them, clifftop properties really appeal, more so than Herne Bay. It competes with clifftop Takapuna and Milford.

"It's inevitable that other streets will become more in vogue. I just think nothing stays the same forever.

"I've been in New Zealand for 22 years and it's always been known as a top street, and I'm sure it was 20 years before that. Whereas Grey Lynn was not a popular place to live in 22 years ago."

Mr Hart said the street appealed to a certain type of person.

"Paritai instantly says something about you ... In most people's minds, it conjures up wealth and privilege and all the things that we aspire to. But like anything else ... the people who are paying $2 million for homes in Grey Lynn would not want to live in Remuera. Remuera has very good connotations, like Paritai Drive does, but to more Bohemian, wealthy individuals.

"They don't want to be seen as being bourgeois. For a lot of us, that would suit us down to the ground. At any one time, there is a greater or lesser movement towardss that."

Bayleys agent Gary Wallace described Paritai Drive as a "street of two halves", with houses next door to each other going for differing prices.

"It's a bit of a mixed bag. From numbers 31 through to 92 is the prime strip, what I call the Golden Mile. Houses on the fringes can be hot and cold."

Homes on that strip - there are currently four on the market - did not often come up for sale, he said.

Mr Wallace sold a vacant section at No 68 in August last year for $7.65 million, and a client's home at No 144a sold to an investor for $1.1 million at a mortgagee sale, despite having weathertightness issues.

"The new owner recognised the street for being an excellent street and felt he could do the work that needed to be done."

Mr Wallace said a range of people were buying on the street, including locals, immigrants, Kiwis moving back to Auckland, and investors.

Paritai Drive snip for $13m

Property developer James Kirkpatrick has two homes for sale on Paritai Drive - one with an asking price of $4.3 million above its council valuation.

Three real estate agencies are fighting over the listing for No92, which is on the market with an adjoining section at 32 Tuhaere St.

The properties sit on 2285sq m and have a combined CV of $8.66 million but are on the market with one company for $13 million.

Built in the 1990s, the stucco house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms and four car spaces.

Mr Kirkpatrick - worth $125 million according to the National Business Review Rich List - told the Herald he thought $13 million was a fair price.

"It's the house and the section. We'll sell the house for 10 [million] and the section for three [million], or the lot together. They've queued up fighting there ... The agents just come to me when they have an unconditional contract."

Another 1990s stucco home owned by the 82-year-old, at 5 Paritai Drive, has a CV of $4.25 million and is on the market for $5.5 million.

Mr Kirkpatrick and his wife, Gilda, live in a third house in the street. The eight-bedroom home has been nicknamed "the wedding cake" because of its palatial style and has a movie theatre and lift inside.

His ex-wife, Christine, lives in another home in the street.

Money from the sales would be "put to other uses", Mr Kirkpatrick said, but he would not reveal what.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 29 Aug 2014 17:22:09 Processing Time: 454ms