Auckland's most expensive house, the seven-bedroom mansion on exclusive Paritai Drive partly financed by former Hanover Finance director Mark Hotchin, has been sold to businessman Deyi Shi for $39 million.
The deal, signed last week with a mid-December settlement date, has been in the works for months. Graham Wall, the sole agent to the property, said "there was more than one buyer looking to buy with that sort of money".
The home, built over three sections overlooking the Waitemata Harbour, is completed and boasts an indoor pool and parking spaces for 12 cars. It is reported to have cost $43 million to build.
The property was subject to a High Court asset preservation order stemming from legal action by the Financial Markets Authority in regard to the failure of Hanover.
According to a High Court judgment, Mr Hotchin paid $12.2 million towards building the house, which is on land belonging to one of his family trusts. The trust, KA No 4, paid $17.4 million for the land.
Deyi Shi, known to his friends as Stone, is a New Zealand citizen who moved his family here from China 12 years ago. He will live in the mansion with his wife and two children, the younger of whom was born in this country.
Mr Shi is the founder and chairman of the Oravida Group of Companies which exports New Zealand meat, wines, seafood, fruit and dairy products to China.
He is an active investor in New Zealand with a varied portfolio, including swamp kauri in Northland and a 5 per cent stake in NZX-listed honey products company Comvita.
The company's new downtown Auckland offices in the former Ports of Auckland building on Quay St were opened last month by Cabinet Minister Judith Collins, whose husband David Wong-Tung is on the board of Oravida.
Mr Shi speaks limited English and is more at home on the golf course, playing daily. He has teed off with Prime Minister John Key, whose portrait hangs in the company's boardroom.
Julia Xu, the Cornell-educated managing director, says Mr Shi "is very proud of his New Zealand citizenship and is wholly committed to this country".
Auckland's top-tier real estate market is attracting interest from all around the world. Mr Wall said his agency has seen considerable growth with international buyers from Russia, China and America, including Silicon Valley billionaires Peter Thiel and Max Levchin.
Mr Thiel, the original Facebook investor and co-founder of PayPal, has bought three properties in New Zealand since 2009, including one of the highest-valued residential homes in Queenstown, Mr Wall said.
Mr Levchin, the 38-year-old guitar-playing internet billionaire, has recently bought a secluded seaside property in Coromandel.
• Deyi Shi, known to friends as Stone.
• Originally from China, he moved here 12 years ago with his family.
• Has a 5 per cent stake in honey-products company Comvita.
Other pricey properties
• Kim Dotcom mansion, Coatesville: $30 million.
• Cowes Bay Estate, Waiheke Island: $33 million.
• Pakatoa Island, Hauraki Gulf: $35 million.
• Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov's house, Northland: $40 million (estimated).