The atmosphere was intense. Bidders were packed into the auction room, fighting to claim the prize they were all there for. As the price inched higher, the auctioneer knew when his hammer went down it would be a stellar sale. The auction item: a luxurious five-bedroom Matipo Heights property with four bathrooms, a pool and an eight-car garage. Journalist Stephanie Arthur-Worsop finds out how much the Rotorua home sold for, how many other homes have sold for more than $1 million since January and what sales like this say about the local housing market.
Boasting five bedrooms, four bathrooms and an eight-car garage, is it any surprise 12 Linden Pl, in Rotorua's coveted Matipo Heights, has nabbed one of the highest sale prices this year?
Going under the hammer on Saturday, the luxury 531m sq suburban home sold for a cool $1.8 million to a local buyer, more than $600k above its CV of $1.195m.
While it's not the highest sale price ever reached in Rotorua, it is among the highest for a single-dwelling residential property in suburban Rotorua, excluding lifestyle and lakeside properties.
The sale adds to the 21 properties sold with a price tag of more than $1m since January, according to figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
In 2018, 29 homes, excluding lifestyle blocks, sold for more than $1m between January and December, putting 2019 in good stead to surpass last year's total.
In 2017, 16 homes sold for more than $1m, a significant cooling from the 33 sold in 2016 when Rotorua's housing market exploded.
The Matipo Heights property was marketed by Professionals McDowell Real Estate and principal Steve Lovegrove said there were multiple bidders who attended the auction.
He said the atmosphere in the room was intense as the bidding climbed beyond what most would have expected.
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"This represents an interesting result for the Rotorua market, which is otherwise showing signs of slowing down.
"There is still a reasonable number of buyers in the market and a shortage of choices. Certainly, in this case, we had some very disappointed buyers who missed out."
Lovegrove put the successful sale down to the marketing done by agents Ron Wesche and Bev Waller, saying the property had previously been on the market for two years with another company and had failed to sell.
"Sales like the one we experienced on Saturday demonstrate to both the community of Rotorua and the nation, that the city has a lot to offer. It's a place where growth and confidence in the real estate market is still surprisingly strong."
First National principal and Rotorua Real Estate Institute of New Zealand spokeswoman Ann Crossley said it was a good sign Rotorua had stock available at the top end of the market.
"It is great that, for people who want a nice home and are at a point where they're buying their fourth or fifth home, there are properties available in Rotorua."
Crossley said it was unlikely a house the size of the Matipo Heights property would be able to be built in today's market at that price.
"So is it worth $1.8 million? Yes it is."
She said there had been significant growth in the market since the last CV valuation in 2017 so she would be surprised to see any property sell below CV.
One Roof editor Owen Vaughan said Rotorua was no longer seen as a poor cousin to neighbouring cities.
"Sales like this, with the top dollar prices you would expect to see in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Taupō, show Rotorua is gaining traction as a destination for people looking for luxury homes.
"The most energy in the market is still in the affordable, first-home market but these top-end sales are a bonus.
"Rotorua is still seeing high price jumps and, compared with other regions, the city is galloping ahead.
"Rotorua has become a luxury destination in its own right."
Top 5 stand-alone residential properties sold in Rotorua since 2016
• 24 Henare Pl, Tihiotonga: $3.4m, March 30, 2016
• 24 Gemini Pl, Kawaha Point: $3.1m, November 30, 2016
• 209 and 209A Kawaha Point Rd, Kawaha Point: $2.9m, June 22, 2018
• 23/275 Pukehangi Rd, Sunnybrook: $2.5m, March 23, 2018
• 441 Spencer Rd, Lake Tarawera: $2.5m, May 8, 2019