An Auckland luxury home has sold for $8 million, well above its council valuation and defying expectations of a housing market downturn in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes as a series of modest homes have been selling well above council valuations in the past week, even as job losses start to increase across the country.
The luxury home at 147A Arney Rd is not the typical multi-million dollar Remuera mansion of popular imagination with swimming pool, tennis court and a nanny's quarters.
Instead, it boasts just three bedrooms and is a humble, single-storey 1960s home and has a council valuation of $5.6m - $2.4m below its sale price at auction yesterday.
What it does have, however, is a beautiful view over Hobson Bay towards Rangitoto Island and 1489sq m of land offering buyers potential to build their own mansion.
"Designed to capitalise on the view, the home has great bones, but is ripe for refurbishment," the home's OneRoof advertisement states.
"Alternatively build a new residence. Bring your architect, builder or interior designer and go crazy!"
The vendor was Diana Jackson, 93.
In 1961, Jackson and her first husband Bill Springhall bought the home behind where this house now sits. It had been built in the early 1900s by the brother of renowned New Zealand artist Charles Frederick Goldie and came with a tennis court in front.
But Jackson and Springhall didn't have much use for the court so they soon sold it to Ron Yock, who built on it this single level clifftop home for his retirement.
Springhall passed away and Jackson remarried GP Bill Jackson. When Yock moved into a rest home in 1994 the pair - who had always loved the view from Yock's home - "packed our bags and moved just down the driveway".
Auckland's housing market has so far defied the mounting economic gloom piling up around the globe following the Covid-19 outbreak.
While total house sales were down in April almost 70 per cent compared to the same month last year, Auckland's median sale price remarkably hit $925,000.
That was the second-highest price on record, the Real Estate Institute said.
Barfoot and Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said his company sold 229 properties across Auckland last week, down only 5 per cent on the same week last year.
Steen Nielsen from rivals Ray White Remuera said his office alone sold 12 homes since the end of alert level 4 at prices ranging from $2.6 million to $7.3m.
One home, a three-bedroom brick and tile unit at 34C Edmund St in St Heliers, sold at auction for $1.71m. That was more than $500,000 above its council valuation.
Another modest three-bedroom 1940s brick home at 34 Trafalgar St in Onehunga also sold at auction by Ray White for $1.6m, or $325,000 above its council valuation.
Ten bidders fought it out at the Onehunga auction.
Back at the auction for 147A Arney Rd yesterday, a number of bidders also engaged in a fierce bidding war that led bidding to jump from the $5 million mark to $8m.
"You can just continue to come up with superlatives about a home in such a sublime position as this," the Barfoot & Thompson auctioneer says.
He then calls for an "unbeatable bid" for an "unbeatable view".
Owen Vaughan, editor of NZME-owned property listing platform OneRoof.co.nz, said the Auckland sales, and those recorded at other auctions around the country, were an encouraging sign for the housing market.
"We knew from the level of property searches on OneRoof during lockdown that buyers were keen to purchase once the country moved to alert level 2 but the sales seen this week and last prove they were still willing to pay pre-lockdown prices," he said.
Yet despite the enthusiastic bidding, economists from Westpac and ANZ have tipped house prices to fall anywhere between 7-15 per cent.
Mounting economic pain and job losses will eventually take their toll on house prices, the economists warn.