Only a decade or so ago Ellerslie was a popular hunting ground for first-home buyers priced out of the central city.
But that has all changed with house prices jumping as the desirability of the area grows due to its proximity to downtown Auckland, multitude of transport links and improved town centre. Growing commercial and office districts in the suburb itself as well as in Penrose and around Stonefields have also made Ellerslie a sought-after place to live for those workers.
Kevin Lowe, of Barfoot & Thompson Greenlane, says, "... the three top occupations in Ellerslie are professionals, managers and administrators. The residents are largely Kiwi (54 per cent) followed by Asian (19 per cent), and 61 per cent of households are family units." He adds, "Homes can range from traditional to modern. Nearby the village are some wonderful old bungalows, however, dotted about particularly off Morrin Rd and Ladies Mile ? there is development of former sections of racecourse land that has created lanes of newer homes and townhouses.''
Residents have easy access to main arteries such as the Southern Motorway, Great South Rd and Greenlane. Bus services are abundant and the improved train service and an upgraded station have made commuting by rail much more popular for those who work in the city.
Lianne Thomas, of Ray White, says Ellerslie also has two schools that families strive to be in-zone for: Ellerslie Primary School and St Mary's Primary School.
She says the improved town centre has become a real focal point. "The village environment makes it a great place to meet both during the week and for those leisurely brunches in the weekend."
That's backed up by Sally Eustace, of the Ellerslie Business Association, who says businesspeople and politicians quite often have breakfast meetings in Ellerslie because it's central and easily accessible.
Sally says the centre has a "real sense of community" that translates into events such as the annual Santa parade, the spring fairy festival and an arts festival. That community spirit was evident when 130 volunteers turned out to help with a town centre tidy-up the first year it was held, and 150 turned up the following year.
"Most of the businesses are privately owned and operated by people who are really passionate about what they do," says Sally. "And the fact that the town centre is compact and finite just seems to work."
She says there is a vibrant mix of long-standing families in the area and new arrivals.
While Ellerslie is synonymous with the racecourse of the same name, Robert Graham first developed the area as farmland in the late 1840s. He also created a zoological park and gardens (around what is now Robert St) in the 1870s that became a popular destination for daytrippers.
The Auckland Jockey Club began staging races in 1857 and a few decades later the surrounding streets were filled with stables until residents became sick of the smell and the flies, forcing the stables to move further out to places such as Pukekohe and Takanini.
Meetings are held regularly at the racecourse, some of them highlights of the social calendar such as the Auckland Cup and the Melbourne Cup party.
These days the infield of the racecourse is also home to a golf driving range and a nine-hole pitch and putt.
Other sports are well catered for with the area having long-standing cricket, football and tennis clubs.
Entry-level homes such as two- or three-bedroom units range in price from $350,000 to $500,000, two- and three-bedroom homes on sections of 600sq m to 800sq m sell for between $650,000 and $950,000. Larger homes on larger sites can reach $1.2 million.
Barfoot & Thompson Greenlane sold a four-bedroom home on a smaller site at 14B Eaglehurst Rd for $500,000. The office also sold 2A Gavin St, which changed hands for $1.06 million. This new home on a 463sq m site is brick and weatherboard construction and has five double-bedrooms, three lounges and three bathrooms. Barfoot & Thompson Greenlane also sold a four-bedroom home at 14 Hunterville Court for $1.15 million. Modelled on an English country house, it is 289sq m and has an internal-access double garage and a separate three-car fully lined garage, all in a setting of manicured, formal grounds. Gary V Thomas & Arron Sundars, of Ray White Ellerslie, have three recent sales indicative of prices across the suburb, beginning with 1B Findlay St, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse in a gated complex that went for $533,500. A two-bedroom 1950s weatherboard ex-state house at 21 Pukerangi Cres changed hands for $710,000. This renovated home is in one of the suburb's most desirable streets and in the sought-after Ellerslie School zone. A townhouse at 147a Celtic Cres (pictured) with three bedrooms and two bathrooms sold for $855,000. Features include open-plan living, an integrated home entertainment system and a landscaped, subtropical garden.
ON THE MARKET
Philip Hall, of Ray White, is taking 174 Ladies Mile to auction on June 4. This elevated weatherboard home, with a CV of $660,000, has wide views, four bedrooms plus a study, two bathrooms, double garaging and large living areas. His colleague Josh Young is marketing 28 Malabar Dr, which has an asking price of $1.199 million. Set on about 1000sq m and enjoying views from its elevated site, this five-bedroom home is renovated and has two bathrooms, double garaging and a double carport. Helen Lam and Scott Haydon, of Barfoot & Thompson, are marketing a single-level three-bedroom home set on a rear site at 4/18 Marei Rd for $490,000. Stephen Chang, of Barfoot & Thompson, has listed a split-level family home at 4A Ballin St with an asking price of $699,000. In Ellerslie heights, this home has three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, double garaging and a modern kitchen. Yelena Tomovic, of Barfoot & Thompson, has listed 23 Peek St at $849,000. A well-maintained two-storey 1960s weatherboard home on a level 1120sq m, it has four bedrooms two bathrooms, a double garage and open-plan living.
Two-bedroom units can be found in the low $300s a week but townhouses and standalone homes cost up to $450. Three-bedroom homes typically cost $500-$600 a week, while larger homes generally start at around $600 but can go a lot higher.
Pukerangi Cres, Umere Cres, Malabar Dr.
SCHOOLS IN THE AREA
Ellerslie, St Mary's (Ellerslie) and Michael Park schools; One Tree Hill College.
It's not all about the horses at Ellerslie, especially in recent years when fashion shows and socialising at the meetings have become almost as important as watching the races. Families are encouraged to bring picnics, and at the Boxing Day meeting there is a beach party held on the infield.
With its improved streetscape and compact form, Ellerslie village has a real buzz about it day and night due to the cafes, bars and restaurants that are well supported by locals.
Ellerslie Spring Fairy Festival
Hugely popular among little girls, the fairy festival is a free event that features a parade of fairies, a stage show, and fun and games. Pirates have also been introduced to keep little boys happy.