Bayleys had a good return from its first round of Total Property commercial auctions for the year, with 18 North Island properties selling at a total value of $32.8m.

All five properties for sale in Wellington sold under the hammer, with a further five selling at auctions in Hamilton and Tauranga and eight in Auckland.

Auckland commercial and industrial director Lloyd Budd says the market appears to have picked up from where it left off last year with a big crowd in attendance at the Auckland auction.

"There was very strong bidding across some offerings, but it was harder work on others, which suggests buyers are becoming more selective. There's no sign of yields softening for strongly located properties, a situation likely to persist while interest rates remain at current very low levels. However, yields may continue to ease for not so well located, or tenanted offerings."

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The most heavily bid property was a 450sq m high-stud retail unit in a corner position in Northridge Plaza; it attracted over 60 bids before selling for $3.51mthrough Michael Nees, Bayleys North Shore and Oscar Kuang and James Chan.

Bidding started at $2.8m and progressed to $3,136,000 where it paused. After further discussions and negotiations, the property was declared on the market at $3.19m and bidding was reopened. Fierce competition between two parties generated a further 30 bids, adding $390,000 to the final sale price. It sold at 4.79 per cent yield on a monthly tenancy to a furniture and homeware retailer.

The highest price achieved at the Auckland auction was $4,405,000 including GSTfor seven two-level 1960s' flats on their own titles on a 1028sq m cross-lease site, at 29 Birdwood Crescent, Parnell.

With a Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zoning (height limit 16m) it was sold by Kate Kirby and Stephen Scott at a net yield of 3.93 per cent after being declared on the market at $3.9m.

The lowest yield recorded at the auction was 3.52 per cent for 231sq m commercial premises with a ground floor shop plus basement storage and office space on a 159sq m site with a Town Centre zoning, at 393 Remuera Rd, Remuera Village. It sold for $2,275,000 through Andrew Wallace and Cameron Melhuish. The property is fully leased to Eastern Bays Hospice Trust which recently exercised a final two-year right of renewal with a market rent review due.

Another property to sell significantly over reserve was Unit A, 20 Sylvia Park Rd, Mt Wellington, marketed by Greg Hall and James Valintine. The 1024sq m industrial unit in two tenancies with 23 car parks sold for $2.57m at a 5.16 per cent yield after being declared on the market at $2.45m. Both tenants are on renewed leases.

Other properties to sell at the Auckland auction were:

• Unit 1W 5 Hohipere St, Grafton - a 180sq m commercial unit on the ground floor of SKHY apartment complex, plus one-carpark sold for $731,000 at a 6.32 per cent yield, through James Were and Scott Kirk. It has a new six-year lease from January with three per cent annual fixed rent increases.
• Unit 3, 22A Kalmia St, Ellerslie – a modern 162sq m two-level office unit, with large rear courtyard, plus four car parks sold vacant for $900,000 (including GST) through Genevieve Thompson-Ford, Sophie Dixon and Mike Adams.
• Unit 27, 2 Bishop Dunn Place, East Tamaki – a 134sq m furnished and air-conditioned first-floor office unit plus two carparks in the Bishopsgate Centre sold vacant for $605,000 through Geoff Wyatt and Mike Marinkovich. It was declared on the market at $535,000.
• 236 Great South Rd, Manurewa - 1033sq m 1980s' commercial building on a 1036sq m site with 25 car parks sold for $2m at an 8.25 per cent yield through Shane Snijder, Dave Stanley and Piyush Kumar. A community and education services tenant has a five-year lease until October 2020.