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A government-owned company is behind one of the biggest single sales of residential land ever seen in Northland - placing 28 lifestyle plots up for auction at pricing levels predicted to allow for a quick exit from the market.
The 28 sites at Wakelins Riverfront Estates at Haruru Falls near Paihia in the Bay of Islands are part of a 97 hectare property which was once a sheep and beef farm. The farmland is owned by Landcorp Estates Ltd, which has completed the subdivision zoning process.
Landcorp Estates is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Landcorp Farming which was formerly the Department of Lands and Survey. The company develops and sells rural land which is suitable for a higher value use than farming purposes.
The lifestyle blocks range in size almost one hectare through to almost 28 hectares – with most of the sections formed into conservation blocks with a high emphasis on environmental and ecological values. Two of the plots have existing residential dwellings on them from the previous farming activity.
Far North District Council bylaws set up to protect the lifestyle environment of the Wakelins development prohibit any further subdivision of sites – thereby protecting buyers from housing intensification of the land.
The Wakelins Riverfront Estate selloff is being marketed nationally by leading real estate agency Bayleys. Bayleys Kerikeri sales team Chester and Louise Rendell believed the large scale subdivision was the biggest in Northland to be brought to the market in one single auction campaign.
Mr Rendell said that in preparation for the selloff, a residents association body had been established to support the ecological infrastructure of the Wakelins development, and a number of environmental protection covenants had been implemented.
“Wakelins Riverfront Estate has riparian zones along the Waitangi River frontage. The subdivision includes wetlands, flora plantings, as well as the establishment of open space landscaping to separate the sections. Native bush within the conservation areas can’t be cut down without the formal consent of the Far North District Council,” Mr Rendell said.
“The aim is to protect water catchments – in particular the quality of the ground water and filtration of water entering the Waitangi River. Dwellings must also be designed in harmony with the natural landscape and feature natural materials such as timber, stone or brick.”
Mr Rendell expected the Wakelins Riverfront Estate sites would attract interest predominantly from Northland residents looking at relocating to a semi-rural lifestyle enclave of like-minded home owners.
“Section sizes within the greater Paihia and Kerikeri township boundaries have generally shrunk to less than 1000 square metres as pressure on housing development close to amenities builds up,” he said.
“While this size is quite large when compared to section spaces in bigger cities, there is still a leaning in smaller townships toward bigger lifestyle blocks where people can have a few chickens, a couple of sheep and a baby calf feeding on the front lawn.”
Mr Rendell said that while reserve levels had yet to be set for the auctions, Landcorp’s representatives had made it abundantly clear that the pricing levels would be “extremely competitive.”
“The company has taken this development as far as it wants to, and simply wants to execute a quick exit strategy,” Mr Rendell said.
The massive Paihia land auction is only rivaled in Northland in recent times by the sell off of 16 sections at Cable Bay just east of Kaitaia in 2009. The mortgagee campaign was also managed by Chester Rendell – with a number of sites initially being sold at auction, while the remainder of the property stock was sold off by negotiating in the months immediately after.
Mr Rendell said Landcorp Estates Ltd was “highly motivated” to quit its holding and move onto other projects.