Mansion market on the rebound

16:00, Jan 30 2013
Thorne Bay
DRAWCARD: The real estate sign shows an aerial view of the glass mansion for sale at Thorne Bay.

Estate agent Jim Mays holds the record for North Shore's biggest residential sale price - $12.78 million for a sprawling Takapuna beachfront mansion.

His famous sale was made in 2004 - amid the glory days of the high-end property market.

A downward slide began at the end of 2007, Mr Mays says, and since then there have been some slow years.

Thorne Bay
GOLDEN SITE: Thorne Bay is one of Auckland’s most sought after locations and this sprawling mansion is on the market for $8 million.

But the veteran realtor, with 35 years' experience under his belt, sees a comeback on the cards.

Mr Mays says a buying boom for houses in the $700,000 to $1m market has put the North Shore market for multi-million dollar homes back on track.

Properties sold for over $9m last year and statistics from REINZ show 26 properties on the North Shore have sold for more than $3.4m since 2010.


And at these prices it's a whole new game.

A buyer looking at houses in the $3m-plus market is certainly a different kind of buyer, Mr Mays says.

"Someone who can write a cheque for three to five to 10 million you hasn't got to that position by being frivolous with your money.

"These buyers will pay a fair and realistic price. If it's a property worth $4m, they're not paying $5m for it."

Statistics show that of the 26 properties sold the majority went for within 15 per cent of their valuation price.

One exception was a lucky seller in Stanley Point who bagged $3.85m in May last year for a property that had a valuation of $1.65m.

And contrary to popular belief, it's not big-monied Americans snapping up pieces of our seaside paradise.

Mr Mays says a large percentage of top-end properties that are handled by his agency, Precision Real Estate, are bought by New Zealanders. Invariably they're existing or former North Shore people, he says.

Buyers will consequently have their hearts set on a specific location and will bide their time until an opportunity arrives.

"There are some people who only want to live on Cheltenham Beach and some people you couldn't gift a house on Cheltenham Beach because they don't want to deal with that traffic."

But those who will purchase at the top end of the market will generally love the location above all, he says, then it might come down to the house or the potential of the house.

The lure of a beachfront double site or never-ending Rangitoto views can end up as the be all and end all, with the house a mere afterthought.

Mr Mays remembers a case where a buyer paid more than $6m for a "lovely" property in Takapuna and demolished it within two years to build another "lovely home" to exact specifications.

"And with these kinds of new builds you're sometimes looking at up to $3m," he says.

Takapuna consistently tops the charts for sale prices but Stanley Point and Campbells Bay have had a good run in the past two years.

In 2011 a one-acre property at 15 The Esplanade in Campbells Bay sold for $8m, $800,000 more than its valuation. The property had been in the same family for 60 years, Mr Mays says, and at that time the market was pretty depressed.

"But there is still a lot of money out there and when the time is right for a buyer they'll pounce."

This can often mean that sellers need a dose of patience if they hope to get the right price.

But statistics from REINZ show a majority of the multimillion dollar properties sold within four months of being listed.

At the slow end of the scale a property in Waiake sat on the market for three years before selling at the end of 2012 for $5m. But a 3490 square metre Hurstmere Rd property listed in July 2011 was sold within the day for $3.7m.

Mr Mays says the North Shore is a sought after place and things are finally starting to move again.

North Shore Times