The opening of the Seatoun Tunnel 105 years ago helped to turn the seaside resort into one of Wellington's most highly prized suburbs.
Developed in the late 1800s by James Coutts Crawford, who named it after a place his family owned in Britain, Seatoun previously was accessible only by boat.
Today it's only a 15-minute drive from downtown - the early morning or late afternoon ferry trips are even shorter - and five minutes from Wellington Airport yet feels like a weekend getaway.
Given Seatoun's location, beaches and bays, tree-lined streets, panoramic views, village shopping, minimal traffic and decile 10 schooling, it's no wonder the eastern suburb is a favourite with families who can afford the premium prices its real estate commands.
According to real estate sources, the lowest sale price over the last 12 months was $500,000, for a dilapidated two-bedroom house that was rebuilt.
The highest sale price was $1.585 million for a new four-bedroom new in the new Waterfront subdivision with a beachfront position.
Seatoun offers a broad range of housing, from two-bedroom cottages to three-bedroom bungalows and larger homes on substantial sites.
Over the last decade there has also been substantial development on the former Fort Dorset Army Base, where there is a mix of apartment-style properties through to multi-million dollar homes.
What all these properties have in common is being on flat sites within an easy walk of the beach.
Traditionally, Marine Pde and Ventnor and Inglis Sts have been considered the best streets.
But the new areas of the Waterfront and Dorset Cove, which also was developed from Fort Dorset, now includes some of the better houses in the suburb.
Seatoun's affluence is reflected in its demographics. The age of residents skews slightly younger than the rest of Wellington - 39 is the median and only 10.4 per cent is 65 years or older - and are predominantly professionals: 58.8 per cent have a post-school qualification, compared with 46.3 per cent throughout the Wellington region.
Single-family dwellings make up three-quarters of all households, which is about 10 per cent higher than the rest of the Capital, and Seatoun School, which has just held its biennial gala, is the focus of community activity.
Most properties are owner-occupied but there are a few rentals. These range from about $300 a week for one bedroom to above $1000 for a four-bedroom home.
According to the Department of Building and Housing, the average rental for a three-bedroom house is $671 a week.
Schools include Seatoun School, TKKM o Nga Mokopuna, St Anthony's School (Seatoun), Evans Bay Intermediate, Wellington High School & Com Ed Centre, Wellington East Girls' College, Rongotai College and St Patrick's College (Kilbirnie).
Parks, football and bowling clubs, beaches and bays.
MEDIAN HOUSE PRICE
$671 a week for a three-bedroom house.
Fashion, hairdresser, bookshop, cafes, dairies, superette, fish and chips.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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