What the very best house would cost in Christchurch

Desmond House in Merivale, Christchurch, was the city’s second biggest sale last year. Photo:...
Desmond House in Merivale, Christchurch, was the city’s second biggest sale last year. Photo: Warren and Mahoney
While the average property value in Christchurch is less than half of what it is in Auckland, the city’s luxury housing market is catching up, with agents reporting a $10 million sale is not far off.

The city's top two sales for 2021 were in the central suburb of Merivale, where the average house price has jumped $390,000 (32%) in the last 12 months to $1.584m.

Harcourts agent Cameron Bailey, who closed the $6.7m deal for an award-winning waterfront house on Desmond Street – Christchurch’s second most expensive home in 2021 – said that it won’t be long before buyers are shelling eight-figure sums in the city.

“There are houses built here that owe their owners well over $10m, and I think there would be buyers. There’s a whole market that’s opened up around the $5m to $8m. Lots of people trading up, and in the next few years there will be a $10m-plus market,” he said.

“There are big houses on substantial pieces of land, 1000sqm or more sections, and very high quality. When you look at what it would cost to build today, it gets pretty expensive.”

A substantial four-bedroom house on Waiwetu Street, in Fendalton, is for sale with an asking...
A substantial four-bedroom house on Waiwetu Street, in Fendalton, is for sale with an asking price of $4.399m. Photo: Supplied
Bailey said there was plenty more room for the Christchurch market prices to keep moving, with the latest OneRoof figures showing the city’s average property value had surged $205,000 (35.5%) to $783,000 in the last 12 months.

“That gives people the real ability to feel that they are buying well. For Auckland buyers, $10m to $15m in Christchurch would give you the very best house in town, compared to up in Auckland where they’d have to spend more than $20m.”

Bailey’s $6.7m sale was topped by the $8m paid off market for a stylish five-bedroom home on Wairarapa Terrace. Two multi-million-dollar land sales in the neighbouring suburbs of Fendalton and Upper Riccarton showed that developers, one for $8m for a 1.3ha plot and $7m for a 4000sqm site by the river, were seeing huge potential for sales in the city’s top suburbs.

Williams Corporation, who bought the 1.3ha plot on Wharenui Road, in Upper Riccarton, is now marketing a 52 townhouse development on the site with prices ranging from $579,000 to $1.23m.

Bailey said: “People’s appetite for big houses and big land is changing. They’ll go for a smaller but cooler place in the heart of things.”

In the upper price bracket, Bailey is marketing a large five-bedroom house on Waiwetu Street, in Fendalton, that has an asking price of $4.399m. The house includes a pool, wine cellar, garaging for four cars on a 1463sqm section with a stream boundary.

“It’s a big house on big land, nothing has been overlooked. I’ve got families up-sizing looking at it. You could say $4m is a lot of money, but there will be people out there who think it is cheap.”

Bailey said buyers quickly do the math on the value of the land (in Fendalton, that’s around $2000 per square metre) and a build cost that could top $6000 per square metre.

“Today that size house on that size land would cost $6m. It’s a good buy and saves you three years out of your life to do the build,” he said.

“People have got the appetite for big houses, even as it’s cooling in the heartland prices. There are a lot of $2m to $4m sales. The economy is still strong and buyers are out there.”

Bayleys agent Adam Heazlewood, who brokered the $7m sale of the 4000sqm plot on Fendalton Road, said that while the city averaged around 10 sales a year worth over $5m, there was room for more sales in the upper price brackets.

“There are plenty of buyers in the high end. The biggest limitation is that the sellers have nowhere to go so aren’t listing.

“However, by the end of last year, we were seeing supply start to creep up. There will be more $3m to $4m properties, even the odd one or two for $6m to $8m this year.”

A stylish house on Innes Rd in Merivale sold for $3.485m just before Christmas. Photo: Supplied
A stylish house on Innes Rd in Merivale sold for $3.485m just before Christmas. Photo: Supplied
He estimated that the high-end buyers were as much locals as out-of-towners, although Auckland buyers are surprised at what their $3m from the sale of a “fairly ordinary” Auckland house would buy them in Christchurch.

“But I’m still surprised at how much local wealth there is. And it’s in that higher bracket that people really see the value,” he said.

“Out-of-towners do tell me that the housing quality here is higher on average. The major benefit of the post-earthquake rebuilds is that houses have been majorly refurbished or rebuilt. There’s great architecture in the city,” he said.

“And here, you’re not paying $8000 to $10,000 per square metre for a quality build, you get a great house for $5000 to $7000 per square metre, and land costs are a lot less too.

“There’ll be a lot more opportunities for buyers this year.”

In one of the last Christchurch auctions of the year, three bidders fought to secure a stylish near-new four-bedroom home on a sprawling 1821sqm site on Innes Road, in Merivale.

Bayleys agent Wendy Miles, who marketed the property with Angela Webb and Charlotte Heaslip, said bidding was heated.

“These post-earthquake builds on a huge level section attract all the interest,” she said.

“The two under-bidders are now looking for $3.5m properties. They have pretty specific needs when there spending that sort of money, but the demand is there and they don’t have to have sold first.”






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