Finding an affordable property is hard – but there are still some gems out there. Each week, Homed is featuring a first-time-buyer friendly home on the market that might (just about) come in within budget.
The Devonport Apartments, on St Aubyn Street in New Plymouth, are nearly 100 years old, but there’s plenty of life left in this New Plymouth landmark yet.
You could start a new life here yourself as a first time buyer with a top-floor, one-bed apartment, with views of the Paritutu Rock, Papawhero/Mount Moturoa, and the sea.
Built in 1924 and once known as the Wally Flats, the brightly-coloured block has had something of a chequered reputation in the city. But these days it’s mainly home to young families, older residents and first time buyers.
It’s also undergone earthquake strengthening and refurbishment works which will be completed this year.
“I grew up in New Plymouth, and it’s just always been part of the New Plymouth landscape. When we were looking for first home, we jumped at the chance to own one of the apartments,” says Jayden Lane, a property manager for Ray White’s New Plymouth, who lives in a flat neighbouring the one for sale.
Lane lives on the city side of the building, but has spent time in No. 10, assessing it as a rental, and says the view from the flat’s bay window, which links the living area to the bedroom, is exceptional.
Other period features include native timber doors and trim, original cabinetry in the kitchen, and internal shutters. The flat has a beachy, Mediterranean vibe, with tiled floors throughout.
Unfortunately the four-poster Malaysian bed shown in the listing, with Jane and Carey Simonson for Ray White, is not part of the chattels and will be gone when the new owner takes possession.
The apartment building is heritage listed, so you will need permission to make changes to the outside, such as the windows. Inside, you will also need approval for significant alterations to the layout or doorway into the flat from the body corps.
A refurbishment currently underway will take the exterior back to its art deco roots.
“As owners, we got a snapshot of what it’s going to look like, and it’s going to be even better,” says Lane.
“They’ve gone with a beige tone with dark blue windows – it looks quite funky. Hopefully that’ll be done by the end of the year.”
It’s also “pretty great” to live in a building so close to the centre of town. During Matariki, New Plymouth city council put on a festival of lights to celebrate the first public holiday to recognise tikanga Māori.
“We walked into town, had dinner and went to that. Everything is so handy and so close. We just love it.
“When we come out our front door we’re smacked in the face by the mountain. A lot of those apartments have a sea view on one side and a mountain view on the other. The building is a U shape.”
The majority of the apartments in the building are owner occupied, says Lane, and there’s a nice atmosphere to the neighbourhood.
There are couples like Lane and his wife, who were first home buyers, and bought their flat as a way to get on the property market. There are also older folks who have downsized, and “a couple of young families”, too. “It’s a whole range of people.”
The 50sqm property goes to auction at 1pm, July 22, unless sold prior. For more information about the body corp and auction, see the agent’s listing.
Homes.co.nz doesn’t have an estimate for this specific property, however an estimate for a flat on the city side of the building – without the mountain view – is $365,000. The average property price in New Plymouth is $750,000.