Here's an unusual tale - about cheap Auckland property. Apartments are going for a song and a list of the latest auction results from two specialist real estate agencies reveal the story.
Andrew Murray, a real estate agent of Apartment Specialists, said a 26sq m one-bedroom Railway Campus unit on Te Taou Cres in the Quay Park area near Britomart sold in January for only $30,000, a 13sq m studio unit in Unilodge on Anzac Ave sold for only $60,000 last month while a one-bedroom unit in Q City on City Rd went for only $76,000.
City Sales sold a one-bedroom inner-city unit with its own carpark in the Scotia building on Scotia Pl off Queen St for only $125,000 and others went for only slightly more.
A three-bedroom apartment with no carpark in Columbia at 15 Whitaker Pl went for only $200,000, a two-bedroom one-carpark place in The Docks at 208 Dockside Lane for only $221,000, a studio unit on the waterfront Sebel at 85 Customs St for just $230,000, a one-bedroom one-carpark place in Unilodge at 138 Anzac Ave went for only $236,000 and a one-bedroom C-Vu apartment at 36 Day St with no carpark went for $251,000.
The list of sales came from City Sales marketing manager Scott Dunn. His father, Martin Dunn, City Sales managing director, warned that appearances could be deceptive - the apparent bargains were not necessarily the solution to first home-buyers' woes, he said.
"Most of the sellers - if not all of them - are fatigued, exhausted by the process of repairs, discussing costs of renovation, this builder or that builder. We have a lot of clients who say 'just get me out of here, we will take it on the chin.' Many of these places are remedials which means they have weathertightness or maintenance issues, some of them are small units and many are on leasehold land," Dunn said.
He warned of blocks without code compliance certificates and of units under 50sq m.
The Real Estate Institute put Auckland's median sale price at $858,000 in February. Barfoot & Thompson's February Auckland average was $919,454. Quotable Value last month found residential value growth in Auckland flat, up only 1 per cent year on year. Andrea Rush of QV said some of the city's central areas had seen value drops in the last quarter.
Dunn said units were on leasehold land in the Quay Park area "and that all comes up for review in August." Apartment owners there pay an average $4000/year each in leasehold fees, he said, although some were higher.
"The Docks, Scene 1, 2 and 3, Mirage, Hudson Brown, Cuba, Railway Campus, Sudbury, Dovedale and Parnell Terraces are all on leasehold land," Dunn said of the Quay Park area owned by Ngati Whatua Whai Rawa.
Mike Richardson, sales director at City Sales', said Auckland central apartment sales turnover had dropped from around 150 unit resales a month in the central city a few months ago to only around 60 last month.
Dunn said he had expected this due to the cycle coming to an end and the volume drop was evidence of that.
"Affordability is the main reason. It's getting harder and harder to borrow money. You need a 40 per cent deposit to buy a $400,000 apartment which is $160,000 and who's got that? How can Generation Rent possibly get $160,000 cash?" Dunn asked.
Of the units with issues, Dunn said these were only sold via auction "because the contracts are thick and they cover the vendor and the agent".
Gavin Lloyd, CBRE residential projects national director, said the lowest-priced unit he had sold in the 57-level Pacificia between Commerce St and Gore St in the Britomart area, now under construction, was $657,000.
"That is a 58sq m apartment with a 5sq m balcony, one bedroom and on level 10 - great value actually," Lloyd said.
Ground works are well under way on that giant, planned to be New Zealand's tallest residential tower once finished.