Skip to content

Wealthy costal resort in New Zealand suffering from slump

Even the presence of celebrities such as fashion designer Trelise Cooper, actor and television presenter Louise Wallace and sailor Dean Barker at Omaha have failed to prevent prices falling.

Real estate agents have noticed a downturn in demand for property at the coastal settlement north of Auckland and are reporting the quietest summer ever in terms of sales.

Properties that are selling are going for substantially below their asking prices. One property listed for $875,000 sold for $690,000 and a waterfront property listed at $1.6 million went for $1.2m.

As a result of the slump 17 properties are being put up for auction this weekend. Some are rumoured to belong to wealthy owners who need to sell their second homes because of the economic downturn.

The area has seen a lot of new construction in the last year. The more established northern end, where Key has a holiday home, is like many other coastal settlements, with plenty of modest properties from the 1970s and 1980s.

The southern is more flashy with large, architecturally-designed homes and lots of For Sale signs. The beach is described as glorious and the area is also popular for fishing and sailing.

Some locals claim that cash-strapped developers are having to sell but other properties up for sale are individually owned.

Mark Macky, director of Bayleys North Auckland, which opened an office in Omaha two weeks ago, has heard speculation about the resort's future, but said it was not borne out by facts.

He described Omaha as a 'wealthy' market, and with the who's who of Auckland owning homes there, public interest was always high and the number of properties on the market represented only 6% of the resort's total.

However, he admitted that Omaha was not immune to the recession and that prices were on a downward trend and sales volumes had slumped. Only about nine sections sold last year, compared to more than 50 in 2007.

He added that if people were under financial pressure, second homes were often the first assets to be sold.