Spot the difference - all $2.7m worth

TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 04/01/2014

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They both have leafy, flat lawns, gazebos and the ability to play home movies.

One sold this year for $67,000 while the other was 41 times that price.

The cheapest property sold in the Wellington region in the year to mid-December was a $67,000 unit in a Lower Hutt independent-living retirement home.

That's a world away from the most expensive confirmed sale - a $2.78 million home in Mallam St, at the city end of Karori.

And that may not even be the most lucrative land deal.

The Dominion Post understands a house sold privately in Roseneath in recent months for more than $5m, but because it was a private sale, it did not show up in figures supplied by PropertyIQ.

When the Mallam St property was marketed in February the "estate-like" four-bedroom home was described as the best family and lifestyle property that agent Nicholas Reeve had seen in 25 years on the job.

"It's very private, gets all-day sun and would be one of the closest Karori homes to the city yet offers so much space and seclusion."

The refurbished 1920s house sits on 1700 square metres of "sunny, leafy grounds, complete with full-sized tennis court and heated swimming pool".

Renovated in the past 14 years, the 380sqm house boasts bi-folding doors to a large courtyard, home-theatre wiring and a gated entrance.

The $2.78m paid for it was a cool $140,000 more than the previous year's most expensive sale: a $2.64m ridge-top house in Nevay Rd, Miramar.

But they are all drops in the bucket compared with the country's most expensive house sold last year. The crown went to a home on Cliff Rd in Auckland's St Heliers, which sold in March for $10.8m, more than $3m above its $7.7m valuation.

The home is a 10-year-old, six-bedroom, one-bathroom house on 1687sqm of land, according to QV.

Harcourts real estate managing director Marty Scott said the top end of the market was unaffected by high loan-to-value ratios, or credit controls on lending to people with deposits below 20 per cent, which were introduced in October.

Wellington's top-end market was "more solid if less spectacular" than Auckland and Christchurch, he said.

Plenty of houses continued to sell for more than $1m but once prices went in excess of $1.5m the demand dried up slightly.

The most expensive house sold in the Wellington region - outside Wellington city - was a $1.601m home up a steep cable car high above Sorrento Bay on the eastern edge of Wellington Harbour.

When it was marketed early last year, the 350sqm Marine Drive house was described as having a "feeling of grandeur" though remaining grounded.

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The four-bedroom home had "numerous entertaining and relaxing areas", four open-plan living spaces, an office and a gym.

The $67,000 unit - the cheapest in Wellington in 2013 - was part of the Acre Court Retirement Village in High St, Lower Hutt.

Village assistant manager Edwin Madhvan said part of the reason for the low cost was that residents also paid "village fees" of $144 a week, but that was expected to drop soon.

On top of the fee, residents have to pay rates, contents insurance and utilities. The village includes a gazebo, lawn, goldfish ponds, Sky movies, a communal area, spa, piano room and library.

The hospital is just up the road.

Mr Madhvan said the unit, which sold below rateable value, went cheaply because the village was being refurbished. Units usually sold easily, including some that went before going on the market.

- The Dominion Post

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