Former National Party leader Simon Bridges' family home failed to sell at auction on the weekend, despite a high-profile Auckland auctioneer being brought in to champion the bidding.
Award-winning Mike Wilson of Apollo Auctions was brought down to run the event at 11.30am on Saturday, according to Jason Eves of real estate agents Oliver Road.
Would-be buyers gathered in the garden, outside the politician's home: "It was sunny and at the very private property on the lawn," Eves said today.
But bidding failed to reach the reserve so the home was passed in.
After the Herald reported yesterday that the Bridges' family home was for sale for $3.9 million, neighbours said Saturday's auction was a flop.
Wilson confirmed he was the auctioneer but said he couldn't discuss the event without permission.
Real Estate Institute data shows Bay of Plenty house prices up 13.2 per cent annually to a $960,000 median.
But auctions aren't as popular as they were.
"February saw 1231 properties sold by auction across New Zealand, 22 per cent of all properties sold, down from 28.4 per cent at the same time last year," REINZ said in its latest commentary.
The percentage of sales by auction recorded in New Zealand excluding Auckland was 17.6 per cent in February compared to 19.1 per cent a year ago.
The highest percentage of sales by auction was in Gisborne at 54.3 per cent, down from 70.3 per cent at the same time last year.
The Canterbury region had the second-highest percentage of sales by auction at 34.8 per cent compared to 25.8 per cent last year, followed by Auckland where 31.8 per cent of sales were by auction.
Four Bay of Plenty districts hit record medians last month: Kawerau ($493,000), Rotorua ($720,000), Tauranga City ($1,100,000), and the Western Bay of Plenty ($1,050,000), REINZ said.
More out-of-town buyers and more landlords were hallmarks of sales in the wider area.
Stock levels shot up 85.5 per cent annually from 759 listings in the Bay of Plenty area last February to 1408 last month, REINZ said.
The change in the market could have affected the Bridges' sale.
Eves of Oliver Road said yesterday the market had changed.
He didn't mention the auction failure "because you didn't ask".
Bridges said he and wife Natalie wouldn't comment on the sale. Questions about the failed auction yesterday went unanswered.
Oliver Road is advertising the fixed-price $3.9m black two-level home with white windows, as having "impressive English gardens, spacious lawn and a magnificent thermal bore pool".
The property is down a driveway, "around a bend, through secure gates and completely tucked out of sight is a charming private city hideaway".
"Bold interior design and modern renovations combine with original 1950's solid architecture to create a spacious home for any family and their guests. Experience a very special property in sought-after Matua," advertising says.
Annual rates are $7700.
Bridges announced this month he was quitting politics and would step down as an MP in the next few weeks.
He announced his decision after telling fellow MPs in caucus on the same day.