Alanah Eriksen

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

Buyers of Block winner live in China

Stella Shen - above with husband Alex Shi and children  Aaron  and Katie - chose the house for her sister and brother-in-law. Photo / Richard Robinson
Stella Shen - above with husband Alex Shi and children Aaron and Katie - chose the house for her sister and brother-in-law. Photo / Richard Robinson

The couple who bought the winning home on TV3's The Block live in China and have never seen the show.

Angela Shen had given her NZ-based sister Stella Shen the task of finding a home on the North Shore for her and husband, Jun Ye, before the birth of their first child in January.

Stella was about to give up after a fruitless two-month search which involved going to open homes every weekend, sometimes several in one day, without any luck. The prices were too steep or the homes weren't suitable.

But when she saw a photo in a newspaper showing how many people turned up to the four Eversleigh Rd open homes two weeks ago, she arranged a private viewing with a Bayleys real estate agent to look at them all.

"I was wondering why the houses were so popular," Ms Shen said.

She liked number 1C - renovated by Auckland couple Caleb and Alice Pearson - the most and viewed it three times.

Her sister and husband want to move from Shanghai before their baby boy is born. "My sister said, 'If we lose this auction, we won't come to New Zealand'." But they won, with an end bid of $1.126 million, made during the televised auction on Wednesday through Bayleys agent Sam Yeung.

The home in the North Shore suburb of Belmont went for the most over reserve, meaning the Pearsons won $261,000.

As well as $181,000 - the profit on the reserve price - the couple won $80,000 in prize money.

Sam Yeung's antics amused the crowd.
Sam Yeung's antics amused the crowd.

Mr Yeung kept viewers entertained with his animated bidding, at one point getting confused and bidding more than he meant to.

He said his colleague Jackie Smith was bidding against him for much of the auction and he was excited and nervous.

"She knows about the auction process very well so I knew she would be my key competition in there ... so I was just thinking, 'How can I get this property for my client?"'

Mr Yeung said he initially bid on 1E, renovated by brothers Pete and Andy Walker and the first house up for auction, but stopped at $950,000 as the buyers preferred 1C.

Angela Shen has New Zealand citizenship as she moved over with her family in the late 1990s and studied business administration at the Auckland University of Technology.

It will be the first time in New Zealand for her husband, who owns a business in Shanghai which he will keep when he moves.

He is yet to decide what kind of work he will do when he comes here, Ms Shen said.

The sisters' parents live in Belmont, near the new home.

Alice Pearson said of Stella Shen and her husband, Alex Shi: "They were just so excited about the house, they just love it. They loved the outdoor area especially.

"It's just so exciting to see people who are as excited about the house as well," she said.

The final of The Block, which screened from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, was the most watched programme in that timeslot on Wednesday, with an average of 995,800 viewers, and 1,185,300 tuning in in total.

An average audience of 361,300 tuned in for TV One (Fair Go, Family Recipes and Nothing Trivial) and 371,500 for TV2 (Two and a Half Men, The Neighbors, The Big Bang Theory and Cougar Town).

- NZ Herald

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