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  • Writer's pictureReal Estate Today - New Zealand

Acquire a Piece of New Zealand's History: Discover The Unique Charm of This Bricklayer's Villa.

The four-bedroom villa at 16 Arawhata Street, in Ranui Heights. Photo / Supplied

A unique, heritage-protected residence in Porirua is currently available for purchase.

According to selling agent Elman Avallone of ONE AGENCY Select Realty, it presents a great opportunity for those who appreciate character homes, as acquiring a comparable villa elsewhere in Wellington would typically require an investment exceeding $1 million.

The residence situated at 16 Arawhata Street in Ranui Heights is a four-bedroom villa and is among the three residential properties in the suburb designated as heritage-protected. In the broader context of Porirua, it is one of approximately 40 buildings safeguarded for their heritage value, as per the records maintained by the Porirua City Council.

Nevertheless, the council lacks certainty regarding the current residential use status of these heritage-protected properties.

A spokesperson from Porirua City Council mentioned, "Properties like Gear Homestead and Taylor Stace Cottage, listed in the schedules, may have had residential purposes in the past but may not be currently utilized for residential use."

Mr Avallone noted that heritage-protected homes are infrequently available for sale in Porirua due to their scarcity. He highlighted the uniqueness of the opportunity to own a piece of New Zealand's history.

The villa on Arawhata Street represents the first heritage-protected home listed in his 13-year career. With a buyer inquiry starting at $829,000, it is considered one of the more reasonably priced character homes in Wellington, even falling below its RV of $840,000.

Mr Avallone pointed out that such properties, depending on factors like suburb, size, features, condition, views, land, and proximity to amenities, typically sell for anywhere between $1.1 million to $2 million.

He noted that areas like Khandallah, Seatoun, or Mount Victoria usually command prices at the higher end of this range.

The existing proprietor has thoughtfully restored the villa over a span of 18 years. Image / Provided

In Ranui Heights, although there were older residences, heritage protection appeared to have been granted only to two additional homes.

"The houses on either side and one across the street all appear older, but I believe they don't quite match the historical significance of this one, as they are solely constructed of timber.

While there are many older houses in the vicinity, what I'm introducing to the market stands out as distinctly different."

What set the 1908 property apart was its unique brickwork.

It’s understood – according to the story passed down from owner to owner and council's records – that the original owner Henry William Dear was a bricklayer who relocated from the South Island to work on the Porirua Lunatic Asylum.

Acquiring land in Ranui Heights, he utilised his expertise to construct a residence, employing unique sandy-colored bricks that have likely contributed to the villa's distinctive standing in the city's history.

According to the Porirua City Council's records, the "Brick House" is deemed "rare and authentic," standing as one of the few remaining homes from its era in Ranui Heights.

Avallone said he had never seen a brick-like it before. “It’s a sandy, cementy texture – definitely not your usual red brick material stuff that you see around.”

The vintage home boasts a wrap-around veranda, sizable sash windows, stained glass features, intricate ceiling roses, lofty ceilings, and original timber floors—a collective homage to its century-old charm.

“Anyone who appreciates history and character will fall in love from the moment they step in.”

The residence maintains its distinctive charm, showcasing several authentic elements such as an intricately designed arch at the entrance. Image / Provided

The current owner had “put her heart and soul” into sympathetically renovating the home since buying it in a rundown state 18 years ago.

“She absolutely loves the house, if it wasn’t for downsizing, she wouldn’t be selling. The family are not actually keen on selling but it is what it is.”

The previous owner had also lived in the home for decades and it had only changed hands twice in its 115-year history.

Mr Avallone said the next owner could be someone who appreciates character and history, but didn’t think they could afford it, as well as someone in a large character home looking to downsize or people looking for an affordable family home.

The large section is currently being subdivided leaving the villa on its 764sqm street-facing site.

There are plans to build a single-level three-bedroom home on the rear section once the subdivision is finalised.


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