Alanah Eriksen

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

Rental property: Nation's most expensive rentals will guarantee luxury living at a few grand a week

A former Government House in Parnell.
A former Government House in Parnell.

Fancy renting a beachfront property in Takapuna that comes with a lap pool, spa, indoor aquarium, petanque court, outdoor wood pizza oven, barbecue, double garaging and a security gate?

It will cost you $5000 a week.

The Herald looked at some of the country's most expensive rentals, as advertised on Trade Me.

They were all in Auckland, with two of each in Takapuna, Parnell and Remuera, and they were all furnished and available for varying terms.

The most expensive property advertised was on Clifton Rd in Takapuna. The three bedroom, two bathroom home is being marketed by Yvonne Fitzgibbon, of Auckland Property Management, who manages high-end rentals on the North Shore.

She said the owner was living overseas.

The next most expensive rental was former Government House, Hulme Court on Parnell Rd in Parnell.

The five bedroom, two bathroom property, with a valuation of $3.6 million, has enough parking for five cars and a converted stables and former servants quarters which could be used as a storage facility.

The 1843 Regency-style house has just undergone a $2 million, 15-month renovation.

It was bought by overseas residents Lina and Suhardiman Ijawan in 2011 for $2.8 million. They enlisted the help of architects to get it up to scratch.

Weathertightness issues and the historic classification's restriction on renovations and modernisation put off many prospective buyers.

Another top-end property on the list was Emerald Cottage at 5 Alison Ave in Takapuna, owned by businesswoman Diane Foreman and her former husband Bill.

For $3300 a week, renters can get a three bedroom, two bathroom home with an indoor spa pool.

Rent also includes Sky television and garden maintenance.

Ms Foreman - whose fortune was put at $175 million on National Business Review's Rich List - owns the Emerald Group which produces icecream brands New Zealand Natural, Killinchy Gold, Movenpick, Kapiti, Chateau Premium Heavenly Treats and Lightlicks.

The businesswoman is also listed as owning two neighbouring properties on Alison Ave, as well as the Emerald Inn around the corner on The Promenade, and properties on Sylvan Ave in Northcote and Kitchener Rd in Takapuna.

In 2011, she also bought fashion designer Trelise Cooper's Omaha beachfront holiday house for $3.9 million. Neighbours include John Key and sporting couple Dean and Mandy Barker.

The properties the Herald concentrated on excluded beach towns which have wide seasonal variations. However, Pauanui had the country's most expensive holiday home at $6650 a week, followed by homes in Whangapoua, Matarangi, Whangamata and Mt Maunganui.

Property commentator Alistair Helm said hotels could be rented for about the same sort of money a week.

"You go down to some of the top hotels in Auckland and you pay $400 a week, for a room ... you'll get a nice room, but you won't get four bedrooms, three bathrooms, garages, and your own address."

He said people renting at that level were likely to be chief executives who had moved to New Zealand.

"When you're paying that amount a week, it's going to be corporate lets, so it's going to be executives who are on secondment, people who are only going to be there for three months and it's nicer for them to have a house than a hotel. "If you've been relocated as a chief executive then there'll be a package to help you adjust to the country, it'll be easier for you to move into a rental place ... meanwhile you rent your place in London for much the same amount of money and relatively for $3000 a week you've got a very, very nice house."

Some people didn't mind paying up to $1500 in rent for a top-end house as opposed to a mortgage, Mr Helm said. "If you look more at $1000 a week, $50,000 a year, and compare that to a mortgage then you can actually get some very nice houses, in very nice suburbs.

"Even $2000 a week, $100,000 a year, it's a lot of money but you're getting a $3 million property so it's actually cheaper [than a mortgage]."

Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said owners of the high-end rentals were not likely to be investors. The return was not very high compared with the mortgage.

They were likely people who have gone overseas for work and wanted to rent it out temporarily.

- NZ Herald

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