Rugby host is also property heaven

WITH the seventh rugby world cup kicking off today (our time) in Auckland, millions of eyes are turned to Kiwi-land. Thousands of fans have physically landed in New Zealand, too, to soak up the experience first-hand, one that promises to be a jamboree of sun, sea and beer as the southern hemisphere’s spring rolls into town. Many of the visitors – expected to include 24,000 Brits out of 85,000 total – will no doubt find the time daydream about buying a home out there, passing the odd down moment by browsing estate agent’s windows. Some may actually decide to do it.

Indeed, Brits have an increasingly tangible connection with New Zealand property, with summer (or winter) homes being a popular and discerning acquisition among our more flexible and monied professionals. It’s also a popular retirement destination because of its temperate climate, stunning natural beauty and less-than-hectic rhythm of life. According to Savills, during last year, about 14,500 long-term British migrants entered New Zealand. Of these, 35 per cent settled in Auckland, 13 per cent in Canterbury, 12 per cent in Wellington and the remainder spread throughout the country.

But if you thought you might be in for a bargain, think again. As you can see at right and below, some of the properties available in NZ are utterly breathtaking. But while prices are clearly lower than they would be for the equivalent properties in, say, Switzerland, they’re nearly back to the country’s 2008 highs, according to Savills.

Auckland has seen the biggest price rises due to increased demand. Savills says: “Urban drift to the warmer north has been in progress for the past 50 years, and its largest city, Auckland, is forecast to increase by half its present population in the next 30 years.”

In July 2011, Barfoot & Thompson reported that its average sale price across the entire city was NZ$530,000, with 26 per cent of its sales ranging between NZ$750,000 (£390,518) and NZ$1m (£520,704) and 15 per cent selling for more than NZ$1m.

SCOTT’S LANDING, NORTH ISLAND
Price: £1.3m

Set on 5,000 sq m of waterfront land, this idyllic five bedroom property with beautiful views is a family retreat, but could also make a boutique hotel. Contact: Savills on 020 7016 3754.

OHAWINI BAY, WHANGAURU HARBOUR,
Price: €478,000

A four-bedroom “Kiwi Icon” property, this historic 250 sq m villa has been in the same family for 85 years. It’s a real get-away-from-it-all property with fishing rights and space for a boat. Far from flashy, it’s got the kind of charm people pay dearly for. Contact: Savills on 020 7016 3754.

AUCKLAND
Price: NZ$9.5m (£4.5m)

A beautifully designed, six-bedroom “manor”, with tennis courts, spa and ocean views that reach from the Great Barrier Islands to Takatu Point.Contact: Harcourts International, on +64 09 451 9300

AUCKLAND ENVIRONS
Price: NZ$3.5m (£1.83m)

This French country-style home, located near the beach and 45 minutes from Auckland, was designed by local architect Peter Sargisso and features two spacious bedrooms overlooking the gardens. Contact: Jim Mays at Precision Real Estate, www.mays.co.nz/sale315b.html

MILFORD, AUCKLAND
Price: On application

Claiming to offer an “executive beach lifestyle”, this super-sleek, four-bedroom, 354 sq m architectural home sits in the heart of Milford, only a stone's throw from the beach and a short stroll to Milford village. Contact: Harcourts International, on +64 09 451 9300, www.harcourts.co.nz

ORAKEI, AUCKLAND
Price: By negotiation

Set in a prestigious location close to the centre of Auckland, this four-bedroom hilltop property has wonderful harbour views, spacious, elegant interiors and lovely gardens. Contact: Sothebys Realty at auckland.nzsothebysrealty.com