An Auckland couple set a New Zealand residential property record, buying and selling real estate worth nearly $60 million in just one month, an expert says.

Simon and Paula Herbert bought and sold $55.5m worth of property in March alone, selling one city mansion for $25.5m and buying another on the waterfront across town for just under $30m.

Nick Goodall, head of research at CoreLogic NZ in Wellington, said that set a new sector benchmark for linked residential transactions in New Zealand.

"It's notoriously difficult to link transactions like these together," Goodall said. "A quick scan found the sale of 64 Sentinel Rd, Herne Bay on October 5, 2015 for $24m, followed by the purchase of 15 Marine Pde, Herne Bay on February 2, 2016 for $11m."


"I don't know of anything like this happening before," said agent Graham Wall of the Herberts' deals.

Wall sold the Herberts their new Herne Bay place. He also sold New Zealand's most expensive property: the 2013 $39m Orakei deal on a Paritai Drive house, partly financed by Hanover's Mark Hotchin, to businessman Deyi Shi.

Herbert, a specialist marina developer and investor whose business Empire Capital has marina assets at Bayswater, Hobsonville and Pine Harbour, said last month he and his wife, Paula, had sold their family home in Remuera. That went for $25.5m.

The red brick place with a tennis court and pool set in formal gardens is one of New Zealand's most stately city mansions at 542 Remuera Rd and the Herberts sold the two-title property near the Remuera village to a family who came here from China.

At the time, they said they wanted to move to Herne Bay, Agent Ollie Wall of Graham Wall Real Estate said the Herbert's 6105sq m Remuera properties were in two titles at 538 and 542 Remuera Rd.

Late last month, the Herberts confirmed they had bought a Herne Bay property and although no price was disclosed, it was said to have gone for just under $30m.

Herbert then confirmed he and Paula had bought a big Cremorne St waterfront property, a modernist Brent Hulena concrete place with its own boatshed, helicopter pad, pool overlooking the waterfront and beachfront access.

542 Remuera Rd, sold by the Herberts to a family who came here from China.
542 Remuera Rd, sold by the Herberts to a family who came here from China.

Bindi Norwell, Real Estate Institute chief executive, said top-end prices in Remuera, Herne Bay and Parnell were holding up, particularly for properties that meet the expectations of high-end buyers.

"The sale of 538-542 Remuera Road in February for $25.5m was a record sale price for Remuera. The previous highest was $18.6m in February 2017. We're unable to comment on the sale of 15 Cremorne St in as it has not settled yet, but once the sale settles we will be able to confirm whether this is a record price or not," Norwell said.

Speaking from Marseille in France last month, Herbert said: "We're very happy. It's a very special property. We were looking for waterfront but also for a large modern house with presence and position. The house faces north with a touch of west and has exceptional 180-degree views up and down the harbour.

"The boatshed is a great extra although we have yet to plan its use. It's also one of only a few properties in Auckland with consent to land a helicopter, which was on our wish list, as it will allow us to fly direct to our house in the Bay of Islands.

"Paula will give the house her special touch although it is in pristine condition and is a credit to its current owners. We are delighted with the purchase and are looking forward to moving," Herbert said.

Asked about the record-setting activities, Herbert said this week: "We hadn't really considered this. From our perspective, we just sold our home and bought a new one of similar value."

Read more: New NZ record - Herne Bay mansion goes for just under $30m

Goodall said last month the Herne Bay purchase for almost $30m appeared to set the record as the top deal in 2018, although it was still early in the year.

"So far this year, we don't have any other recorded sales near that amount - nothing exceeding $10m yet. The property at 15 Cremorne St previously sold for $12.5m in October 2009. Last year, 19 O'Neills Ave was the top sale at $28.8m," Goodall said.

The Herne Bay house was sold by the Lockwoods of insurance business Crombie Lockwood.

Herbert's Empire Capital says it is an Auckland-based investment group of companies specialising in waterfront marinas, marina developments, commercial and marine-related industrial buildings and industries.

"Empire Capital has a vision to develop and create world-class facilities, enabling local communities and enriching Auckland's waterfront experience," his business says.

He has big plans for Bayswater, where he wants to build apartments, shops and a new waterfront dining precinct.

Ollie Wall sold the Herberts' Remuera Rd property to buyers from China, and his father Graham sold the Lockwood's Herne Bay place to the Herberts.