Burfoot and Thompson/Provided
Waitakere homes are quirky and rustic in style to suit their location.
It was a sense of secludedness that lured Benjamin McDowall and his new husband, Mitsuharu Hoshi, into a tiny 80s cottage in Waitakere City, Auckland.
A couple renting and working in the city wanted to buy something far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. They wanted peace and quiet. If you don’t live far away, commuting can be a pain.
They began searching in 2013 and found the bush-covered property around 2014.
“The section is pretty wide and has a bit of bushwalking, which I thought was perfect,” says McDowall, who now lives in Japan.
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“The market was already kind of crazy,” he says, but 43 Birdwood Rd was prominent enough for the couple to push out and secure their boats. It was their first home.
“We were working in the city, and when we were done with work we wanted to get out of there. We wanted to get away from the city vibe.”
The house was still within walking distance of Swanson Station and a short drive from the city.
The nearest neighbors are elderly gentlemen, with a wall of trees and bushes between them, who live in the back.
“I think of it as a lifestyle property. It’s a place you enjoy, not something you (buy) for a year as a rental.”
For the couple, that meant expanding their small family to include two dogs, cats, chickens and bees tended by Hoshi, a trained beekeeper.
It is a hideout that has an open-air bath with a controlled heat.
“It’s in the bush so far away that no one can see you, so you can do whatever you want there. It’s a very private property.”
Inside there is an open plan living area with two double bedrooms and a sleep out/home office/guest bedroom.
The newly renovated home has a wood burner and exposed beams. There is also a conservatory off the master bedroom.
“You wake up in the morning with beautiful sunshine. Even though it’s in Auckland, it’s very quiet there and the bushes soften the noise from the road,” says McDowall.
“You can barely hear it there, no random visitors, no door knockers, nothing.
“Definitely not,” says McDowall. “It’s very difficult even to set a price because there’s nothing like it on the market. It’s very difficult to compare things.”
The couple moved to Japan before the pandemic so the star could be closer to his family.
Families with young children may find the site rugged in some places, McDowall said, but families with active teens and young adults want a little more independence. It is said to be suitable for families.
“A 10-year-old would love it. If you have kids outdoors or just want an outdoor space for them to play, it’s perfect.”
The property is listed with Jennifer Birch for Barfoot and Thompson. Price is negotiable.
Homes.co.nz puts Swanson’s average at around $1.1 million, but the market is dynamic right now and it’s not clear how much this type of non-development property will fetch.