Alanah Eriksen

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

Huge profit from tiny bungalow

This Blockhouse Bay house and large section fetched $2.48 million at auction.
This Blockhouse Bay house and large section fetched $2.48 million at auction.

An Auckland couple's wise investment in a massive piece of prime city land has provided a windfall for their family 61 years later.

Anne and Robert Ecclesfield bought 23 Gilfillan St in the up-and-coming suburb of Blockhouse Bay for a few thousand pounds in 1952.

This week, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are celebrating after it sold for $2.48 million at auction.

That's $1.2 million over its current valuation of $1.27 million.

Mr Ecclesfield built the tiny two-bedroom, one bathroom, two-storey brick bungalow that sits on the 3619sq m section for his wife and two of their four children to live in. It is not known how much the couple purchased the land for as Quotable Value and Land Information NZ do not hold many records on sales from before the 1980s, but it is not likely to have exceeded a few thousand pounds.

The area, nearly 13km west of central Auckland, was at the time considered to be on the outskirts of the city, but is now a more central suburb with a median house price of upwards of $547,500.

The house has not undergone any major renovations apart from having the walls painted and new carpet put in this year.

With a section large enough for at least seven large homes - and surrounded by smaller sections - the property was bought by a developer and is expected to be knocked down.

The Ecclesfields died in the 1980s and the house was sold to their wheelchair-bound son Brian for $37,000.

He lived at the home until moving into a rest home. He died last year.

A nephew and his wife have lived in the home for the past year.

Granddaughter Robyn Lindsay, 51, said the sale price was a "pleasant surprise". Her father, now 82, grew up in the house and it was her son who lived in it this year.

"We all have very fond memories of our grandparents being there and then my uncle ...

"We had a big picnic there on the Christmas Day just gone. My uncle had passed away not long before that so we knew the days were numbered.

"But you have to draw the line in the sand, set a date. It was a hard decision to make."

Barfoot & Thompson real estate agent Anna Lechtchinski said she was not shocked at how much the house sold for as prices in Auckland continued to skyrocket.

"It's a seven-unit site. It's very much in line with what the market is doing, in line with appraisal and in line with expectations.

"Whoever bought it will bring one big bulldozer after settlement and remove it."

- NZ Herald

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