Remuera, a suburb in the spotlight

They say if you really want to get to know an area, talk to someone who lives there. So, in an effort to get up close and personal with one of Auckland’s most prestigious suburbs – Remuera – we interviewed Alex Baker, Cici Wang and Rawdon Christie, long-term locals and senior salespeople at the Barfoot & Thompson’s Remuera branch.

Here’s a quick intro from Alex, then some Q&A.

In essence, Remuera is a great, established suburb which offers plenty, but I think is often unfairly stigmatised as being out of reach, overly monied and conservative. It’s not! It’s diverse and a fabulous eclectic mix, with most residents being quite modest, just trying to live good lives and do the best for their families. It’s a wonderful place to be for many, many reasons.

Q: What is the real estate market currently doing in Remuera?

Alex: I’d say it is still strong and buoyant, but like many areas, operating at a slower pace. The frenzy has gone, and both buyers and sellers are taking longer to make decisions. Demand still outstrips supply across most price ranges.  

Cici: Right now, Remuera is the third most expensive luxury residential area in New Zealand, with its current average price exceeding NZ$2.7 million. It has a higher proportion of owner-occupiers than investors, and as such, property values here tend to hold firm. They go up for sure when the market is good, but then stay strong even if the house prices in other suburbs are dipping as the market fluctuates.

Rawdon: There is no shortage of activity at present. But I’ve noticed a distinct difference between the $1.5m-$2.5m price ranges and the higher-end $3m+ market. At the lower end, we have many people who want to buy, but who want to know they’re not paying too much. They may also want to buy conditionally - dependant on getting finance from the bank or selling their own home. At the upper end of the market, there’s still a healthy supply of cash buyers who are prepared to pay a premium for their dream home. 

Q: What are some of the most sought-after neighbourhoods?

Alex: Broadly speaking, Remuera is split into two parts. Grammar zones (west of Upland Road) and non-Grammar zones (east to Meadowbank). Some buyers solely wish to be in zone for schooling/family purposes. If not, then non-Grammar zones potentially allow for a more affordable entry to the area. Homes with some land (full sections) are very popular. Then there are pockets that appeal to different market sectors. For example, some love the vibe around Benson and Upland Roads, others the convenience of being close to the main shops and facilities – i.e., along the Remuera Ridge (especially apartment dwellers) and the sector between Market Road and Ascot Ave. Proximity to Newmarket is hugely appealing to others. 

CiCi Wang: If you can afford a property in Remuera, I think any neighbourhood in the suburb is a good choice for a family home and worth buying into. But I would recommend a few well-known streets like Arney Road, Arney Cres, Eastbourne Cres, Burwood Cres, Westbury Cres and Victoria Ave – all set on the Northern Slopes, with beautiful character homes and marvellous views.  

Rawdon: If you’re in-zone for Auckland Grammar & Epsom Girls Grammar, your property carries a premium. The other main factor driving higher-end prices is if you’re located on the Northern Slopes (preferably the Remuera Ridge) where properties usually come with a sunny aspect, facing the sea.

Leafy streets and character homes

Q: What are the advantages of this suburb, from a resident's point of view?

Alex: While it’s primarily a family area, where school zoning is a priority, equally it’s a very large and diverse suburb, with properties covering all price points - from entry level 1/2 bed units to multi-million-dollar holdings. It’s established and leafy and has a mix of older character homes as well as newer townhouses and the ultra-modern. Excellent shopping and other facilities. Very, very central and easy motorway access in all directions. Lots of parks, green areas and walking routes.

CiCi Wang: Having lived here for more than 20 years, I know every street and alley of Remuera. My children have studied and grown up here. A significant advantage is the location - the drive to the inner city is just ten minutes, and Newmarket is closer still. There are some excellent medical resources and facilities in the area. Also, many sports clubs - cycling, tennis, bowling, badminton, basketball courts and football, and the fabulous Remuera Golf Club.

Rawdon: Location and education must be the two major factors. Not only is Remuera home to several of the city’s most prestigious schools (both public and private), but it’s also incredibly well-connected when it comes to transport links. The bus routes, train lines and motorway all offer easy access to the CBD, and to getting out of Auckland on the weekend. For others, the multitude of green areas for walking are a huge attraction – and the suburb even has its own beach.

Auckland Grammar School

Q: What's your advice for people considering buying in Remuera?

Alex: Do your homework and look at the options. Speak with an experienced real estate salesperson for advice. Give Remuera proper consideration as many dismiss it as being too expensive and/or out of their league or perhaps a little staid. In reality it’s not. And in my view, compared to many other areas it’s very good value and offers many living options in close proximity to the city, Bays and all other facilities. It’s also very friendly and people make life-long connections.

CiCi Wang: Firstly, listings are far and few between in Remuera. If you want to buy a property in this suburb, you may need to pay close attention and be patient!

Rawdon: Don’t assume it’s all $4 million-plus luxury homes here – this is a large suburb with a huge range of property types, sizes and prices. And while your investment may not boast the record growth that some other suburbs have experienced over the past 20 years, it’s likely to be a great deal more stable over the long term. 

The view towards the city