Alanah Eriksen

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

Family homesteads turn into expensive real estate: Cashing in on the past

Homes that have been in families for generations are being sold off as the younger descendants take advantage of Auckland's skyrocketing property prices. Herald property reporter Alanah Eriksen looks at some of the houses on offer.

Tony  and Judy Laity, the owners of  36 Cowes Bay Rd, Wells Bay, Waiheke Island.
Tony and Judy Laity, the owners of 36 Cowes Bay Rd, Wells Bay, Waiheke Island.

The renovated family home

18 Shipherds Ave, Epsom.
18 Shipherds Ave, Epsom.

* 18 Shipherds Ave, Epsom
* 1923 weatherboard
* 5 bed, 2 bath
* 809sq m land, 322sq m floor
* $1.61 million CV.

1 This five-bedroom bungalow has seen five generations through it, but you wouldn't know it. On sale for the first time in 88 years, the two-storey weatherboard house in Epsom looks nothing like it did when it was built in 1923.

It is owned by a local doctor and his wife and was built by his grandfather, who brought up his family there.

His father then took over the homestead before selling it to the young doctor, who brought up his own three children there.

The couple's seven grandchildren have also enjoyed the house and swimming pool, which was installed in the 1980s.

But it has become too big for the couple, now in their 60s, and they are keen to downsize and spend more time with their grandchildren.

Barfoot & Thompson real estate agent Diana Buczkowski said the house had been renovated since the 1970s, with a new kitchen installed recently.

The home at the end of a cul de sac is in the double grammar zone for Auckland Grammar and Epsom Girls and is likely to go for well above its $1.61 million rateable value - in excess of $2 million, Ms Buczkowski said.

"The properties in that street are like hens' teeth to get hold off, so it's certainly a pretty rare opportunity for someone to get into that location."

The 322sq m house is on a 809sq m section and has two bathrooms, a single garage and carport.

"Because of its layout it would ideally suit a young or a teenage family because it's got a downstairs area with two bedrooms and a living area and a bathroom. Great for that separation as the kids get older," Ms Buczkowski said.

The Waiheke Island holiday home

The Waiheke holiday home 136 Cowes Bay Rd.
The Waiheke holiday home 136 Cowes Bay Rd.

* 136 Cowes Bay Rd,
* Wells Bay
* 1910 weatherboard
* 3 bed main house, 2 bed caretaker's cottage
* 6ha, 284sq m floor
* $4.1 million CV.

2 Five generations have enjoyed watching whales chase stingrays from their Colonial-style beachfront holiday home on Waiheke Island. But now Judy Laity, 77, (nee Wells) and her husband Tony, 89, are selling the 6ha property as they look to downsize.

The Cowes Bay Rd home was bought by Judy's father, Athol Wells, in 1947 - along with the 250 acres (101ha) it was sitting on - when it was just a run-down shack. And the area became known as Wells Bay.

The Auckland businessman had struck up a friendship with the former owner, British remittance man Neville Scantlebury, as he often travelled to the island on his boat from his home in Panmure.

The Laitys' son, Ant Laity, told the Herald Mr Wells passed away in 1974, while wife Gladys lived on until 1997. The land was divided up among their three children, with Judy and her husband purchasing the homestead. Twelve hectares of nearby land is still owned by family members.

The Laitys moved into the white weatherboard villa fulltime in 1999 and their three children and grandchildren have holidayed there. The couple now also have young great-grandchildren.

Ant Laity said it would be sad to say goodbye to the home.

"It has been special, we've grown up there and the grandchildren have grown up there and we've had Christmases there. They learned to do all their boating there and fishing off the beach.

"We often see orcas come within five or six metres of the shoreline, chasing stingray, flipping them up in the air. A lot of boats come in at Christmas time on their way to Great Barrier Island."

His parents will move to a smaller place in Auckland, but will miss the property.

"Both of them still swim out to the mooring every day, which is a good 150 metres out.

"When I'm there with my boat, Dad throws a bottle of rum in front of him, and he gives me a tap on the hull of my boat in the morning as a signal that he's coming aboard for a rum and milk."

He said the family had uncovered a lot of history in the house over the years. The master bedroom had a safe above it where they found a broadcast radio and speculated that Mr Scantlebury had some hidden motives.

And after they knocked down an old corrugated iron shed about 10 years ago, they found several newspapers from the time of Hitler's and Mussolini's rule.

Made from local kauri in 1910, the main house has three double bedrooms, three bathrooms and an ensuite.

The Laitys' daughter, Veryan, who has studied design in Italy, is behind recent renovations of the home, installing an Italian kitchen and bathrooms.

But it still has original tongue and groove ceilings and flooring.

The home has an asking price of $7.1 million.

As well as a private beach with boatshed ramp, jetty, pontoon and moorings, the property includes a two-bedroom caretaker's cottage.

Bayleys real estate agent Daniel Burrill said: "It's got that nice seamless access, right on the water and that's just really hard to find. It's got some heritage and character detail. Most of the houses here were developed in the 1950s and 60s and 70s so it's quite unusual to see the beautiful old homes."

The prime North Shore development site

* Marama Rd, Torbay
* 1588sq m vacant section.

3 A sprawling beachfront site is the last bit of Torbay property belonging to Auckland's Winstone family - the pioneers in aggregates.

The 1588sq m spot is the last undeveloped site in the Marama Rd area and was part of 10,000sq m owned by Percy Winstone, who died in 1949 after years with the family business, and his wife Violet.

It has been in the family for about 100 years and is now owned by Andrew Bull and his sister Marnie Murphy, whose mother Muriel was Percy's daughter.

Mr Bull remembers holidaying as a child in an old cottage on the land, which was sold off about 30 years ago. The family were mainly based in Remuera.

The cottage borders the gently sloping land on one side with an access pathway to the beach, known as Winstones Cove, on the other side.

It sits at the bottom of a garden with mature trees providing shade and privacy.

It has views towards the city with the Sky Tower in the distance.

Mr Bull owns architecture company Bull O'Sullivan, and has drawn up plans for two possible townhouses with a model available to view by potential buyers.

He told the Herald it was ripe for the development of two homes or the creation of a family "dream home".

"They would fit quite comfortably on the land."

Zoning in the proposed unitary plan would limit building to one home. A concrete driveway has been built to access the property.

The family company is now called Winstone Aggregates and is a division of Fletcher Concrete and Infrastructure. It is the country's largest supplier of aggregates with 26 locations nationwide.

The company was started by William Winstone, who arrived in Auckland from England at age 16 in 1859 and worked as a farm labourer.

The do-up

40 Esplanade Rd, Mt Eden.
40 Esplanade Rd, Mt Eden.

* 40 Esplanade Rd, Mt Eden
* 1900 weatherboard
* 3 bed, 1 bath
* 733sq m land, 101sq m floor
* $890,000 CV.

4 It has its original carpet, kitchen and bathrooms from 1900. But 40 Esplanade Rd in Mt Eden sits in the "quadruple grammar zone" on a 733sq m site, so this run-down weatherboard will probably go for more than $1 million, above its rateable value of $890,000.

Built in 1890, the 101sq m house with three bedrooms and one bathroom has been in the same family for 80 years.

It's zoned for four grammar schools - Auckland, Epsom Girls, Auckland Girls and Mt Albert.

LJ Hooker agent Jo Orawiec said the son of the owners who bought the property in the early 1930s lived at the home. "It's the original kitchen, everything is original ... .

"It's beautiful, well maintained, clean and tidy but they haven't gone and modernised anything as such."

She said the property would suit a family. "It's got a nice big piece of land in the front, good for kids to play on."

- NZ Herald

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