Up to 50 palatial New Zealand homes, each worth at least $10 million, are on the block and real estate agents say high-end sales are booming despite the economic downturn.
The asking price for New Zealand's most expensive property - Cowes Bay Estate on Waiheke Island - is now up to $33 million and agent Michael Boulgaris has had interest from overseas.
"I've had it for about a year and there's been a half-dozen interested buyers from overseas, from Switzerland, Korea. The issue is, they need New Zealand residency because it's a farm and there's a foreshore, so we need to find someone who's married to a New Zealander."
Cowes Bay Estate was originally placed on the market in early 2005, through another real estate firm. Its owners, Beverley and Sean Donnelly, sought $26m, before upping the price to $30m. It is now listed for $33m.
The sprawling plantation-style home spans 36ha and includes eight bedrooms and six bathrooms. It also has an indoor pool and private jetty.
Donnelly, an Irishman who runs a business which supplies prefabricated accommodation for gas, oil, gold and copper mining camps, also has homes in London, Ireland and Pt Moresby. Beverley Donnelly is a New Zealander who grew up on Waiheke. The couple bought the Cowes Bay land in the early 1990s.
Property experts say the top-end market is bucking the trend of falling prices in today's recession.
Boulgaris, joint-owner at Boulgaris Real Estate Ltd, said up to 50 homes in the Auckland region were for sale in this price bracket "which is not a lot of money for some".
Many were not advertised publicly, or were advertised discretly. Boulgaris did not believe the luxury market had "been affected too much" by today's tough economic climate.
Some properties were simply "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" and people were still "grabbing them".
According to www.realestate.co.nz, there were more than 32 pages of $2m-plus properties, and yesterday's 72-page Herald Homes featured dozens of high-end properties.
Kellands Real Estate principal Deborah Kelland estimated about 25 properties were for sale around the $10m mark or above. She suspected there were even more around the east and south Auckland rural areas of Whitford and Karaka.
Her firm had as many listings as usual in the high-end market and had recently made three "sizeable sales. We are certainly finding that the top end of the market is enormously strong," she said.
Many people were cautious they might not achieve the prices they were after, but had been surprised.
Buyers were mainly Kiwis, although one recent sale was to a foreigner.
According to Kellands Real Estate, a waterfront property on the northern slopes of Herne Bay is about to come on the market for the first time in 34 years. The house will be for sale by negotiation, but similar properties have sold for around the $10m mark.