Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

A home with real class

You could buy a school for the price of one bedroom in Auckland

The 135-year-old Waimangaroa School went on the market for $350,000 this week.
The 135-year-old Waimangaroa School went on the market for $350,000 this week.

House hunters horrified by record property prices might be better off going back to school.

A historic New Zealand school with large playgrounds and a swimming pool is for sale for the same price as a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Auckland.

This week, the 135-year-old Waimangaroa School went on the market for $350,000.

The disused buildings and .98ha property is being offered to buyers at under its rateable value of $385,000 after local iwi decided against buying back the Crown-owned property.

The school on the South Island's West Coast was closed by the Education Ministry in January last year after the roll fell to just 13 pupils.

A spokesman for Land Information New Zealand said there had been interest in the property and more than 20,000 views online.

The country school features classrooms, a staff room, a toilet block, equipment sheds, an in-ground concrete swimming pool, a large modern playground, sealed courts and a large sportsfield.

It also comes with a tidy three-bedroom bungalow formerly used as staff accommodation.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, the same money will buy a gorgeous bolt-hole in the Marlborough Sounds, a near-completed bach with wharf access to the sea.

In Wanganui, you could get a distinctive two-storey family home in the style of architect Robert Talboys, with rimu joinery and a view over the river.

In Northland, it could buy 27.5ha of land with views over farmland to Doubtless Bay and an airstrip.

For city-dwellers, the same amout will buy a single-bedroom renovated apartment in the famous Farmers building in Auckland's central business district.

Crown Property manager John Hook said potential buyers of Waimangaroa School had focused on using the site as a motor camp, given its proximity to the beach and opportunities for tourism.

He said one attraction was also the short commute to Westport. The 10-minute drive offered a quieter lifestyle for those who worked in the neighbouring town.

At one point in its history, Waimangaroa School was considered one of the most successful primary schools in the Nelson district.

Realestate.co.nz reported last week that Auckland's average asking price hit a new record of $732,240 in June. Marketing manager Paul McKenzie said it was a huge jump from April's average asking price of $685,426.

- Herald on Sunday

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