Wai O Taiki Bay, south of St Heliers and east of Glen Innes, is "probably the best least-known" Auckland suburb, says Murdoch Dryden, member of a group developing homes in the area.

On the market is number 12 Fernwood Place, a new four-bedroom house in a cul-de-sac.

"The architects have done an amazing job of designing a home that embraces the sun and has an elegant presence," says Murdoch.

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Within cooee of the home is the sea, reserves, cafes and transport, all in an area rich in history.

Murdoch grew up just over the hill in St Heliers and says Wai O Taiki Bay is part of the coastline which stretches all the way from Mission Bay.

"It looks straight back at Half Moon Bay across the other side of the mouth of the Tamaki Estuary."

Number 12 Fernwood Place was designed by architects Ashton Mitchell. Murdoch says they are all about using high quality materials, so there is a lot of brick, weatherboard and vertical cedar in their designs.

This street-front home has views down to the bay from the master bedroom (which has an en suite and walk-in wardrobe), while the rest of the house has been designed to maximise sun and light.

The house is on two levels: downstairs are two living areas, open plan kitchen and dining, and upstairs are four bedrooms.

The kitchen features double oven, gas hobs and a walk-in scullery. "It's a better kitchen than I have in my own home, put it that way," says Murdoch.

There is double glazing throughout, which makes a difference to quality of living and means the house is "lovely and quiet and warm".

"There are lots of little things that cost a little bit more that we've gone with," says Murdoch.

"The electrical switches are all big rocker switches which are 'designery' looking.

"It's all piped up for central vacuuming, it's got underfloor heating everywhere, it's got tiled floors, it's got timber floors … all those sort of things.

"If there's a cheaper alternative we've inevitably defaulted to the higher quality option."

Outside is fully fenced with a good-sized concrete patio for outdoor living. Part of the property's appeal is that it is designed to be low maintenance.

Murdoch says Fernwood Place is unusual in the Auckland context because it has water at the end of the street, a playground, horse paddocks on one side and native bush on the other.

On top of that, it's just an awesome street, he says.

"A big part of our programme is getting people out of their houses and sponsoring barbecues and getting street parties going — when we turned up at Fernwood we didn't need to because they already had all that stuff.

"They organise a Halloween night each year and they had a fantastic trolley derby that we went along to where all the kids had to build a trolley with their fathers from recycled materials.

"They organise a pre-Christmas barbecue with Santa Claus — there's this fantastic street vibe going on already."

Murdoch says a nearby reserve has an abundance of shore birds; there are cycle paths and coastal walkways, Sacred Heart College is close, the suburb is easy to get to, and it's only 10km along Tamaki Drive to the city.

"My view is it's Auckland's best real estate secret. It's a suburb no one knows about where there's lots of high quality housing at very achievable prices."

12 FERNWOOD PLACE, WAI O TAIKI BAY
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• House 238sq m, land 366sq m (subject to title).
• Price: $1,668,000.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-3pm.
• Schools: Proximity to Sacred Heart College.
• Contact: Judith Everitt, 021 2777 844, Sarah Codling, 021 062 6857, Ray White, oneroof.co.nz/1157519