One of Dunedin’s grandest homes has sold after three years on the market.

Agents Chris Taylor and Pete Strong from Nidd Realty kept the listing throughout the long-haul sale, eventually finding a buyer for historic Bishopsgrove, which was on the market for $2.9m-plus.

The time taken to sell reflected the need to find the right buyer for an amazing property the agents say character-wise is up there with Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula.

The men looked high and low, at home and abroad, before finding that buyer – but the buyer has requested total privacy so the agents could not reveal their identity or where they are from.

Neither could they reveal the price as the property does not settle until early December.

The house on Patmos Avenue, known as Bishopsgrove, was built by Dunedin’s first bishop, Samuel Tarratt Nevill, in the 1880s and features six bedrooms, three bathrooms a gatehouse cottage and large grounds.

It has a Category One Historic Places status with a Tudor top story and Gothic windows below.

Heritage New Zealand describes the property as one of New Zealand’s finest expressions of the Victorian passion for architectural eclecticism: “It is likely the house was designed in England but it is appropriately sited in New Zealand’s most extant Victorian City.”

While the house has been used as a bible college in the past, the agents were unable to say whether it had been bought by a family planning to live there or by an organisation.

Strong says the campaign took a while, to say the least, but that it was wonderful to be a part of because of the nature of the house they were selling.

Bishopsgrove, in Dunedin, had been on the market for sale since 2019, waiting for the right buyer. Photo / Supplied

 

Bishopsgrove sits on a private 5ha estate and was built by the first bishop of Dunedin. 

The house is Tudor in style and construction on top and Gothic on the bottom.

“It was the sort of thing that was always a bit of a mystery because it's hidden in a gully and you kind of see the chimney stacks from a distance but other than that you just wonder what’s this.

“To then become involved with the sale of the property was a tremendous privilege.

“We both felt very fortunate when we were first engaged and it's been a really interesting property to market, which we had to do over quite a long period of time and to keep inventing new ways to ensure we were getting it out to the right target market.”

Taylor says the pair appreciate the loyalty of the vendors who stuck with them the whole time.

“Usually what happens in those situations, the vendor will essentially blame the agent and go looking for someone else so for us it was really quite touching that they were loyal all the way through.”

The home stayed on the market the whole three years apart from being taken off to rest one winter.

Bishopsgrove, in Dunedin, had been on the market for sale since 2019, waiting for the right buyer. Photo / Supplied

 

The house is described as “one of New Zealand’s finest expressions of the Victorian passion for architectural eclecticism”. 

Bishopsgrove, in Dunedin, had been on the market for sale since 2019, waiting for the right buyer. Photo / Supplied

 

The property has Category One Historic Places status. 

“We probably launched three or four substantial campaigns and each time just trying to target the right market for it because we appreciated it wouldn't be a straightforward sale, it was quite a specific buyer really,” says Taylor.

“I think the main thing is very quickly people fall in love with it and get romantic with it as such - you know, they love the romance of it, but then once that kind of wears off and they start thinking logically. I think that's where a lot of the buyers tended to fall by the wayside.”

Taylor says the agents did specific Facebook-targeted marketing to various audiences around the world, concentrating on parts of Asia and Europe, which generated inquiry but not the actual buyer.

Over the years there were genuine buyers interested, from locals in the early days as well as national interest and the overseas interest.

“We had some individuals we weren't dealing with directly but had agents on behalf of that we were dealing with so that was quite mysterious.”

The one to beat: OneRoof records show this house on Grendon Street, in Maori Hill, changed hands for $3m in March. 

People liked the architecture and the incredible detail of the property, from the decorative timberwork of the ceilings to the felt wallpaper in some of the rooms.

Taylor says the house is so special it’s the kind of stately home that could be opened to the public as happens in the United Kingdom.

“Back in England there are stately homes where there's not so much cash flow and they're opening up their homes to the public and it's fascinating to be able to go and walk around something with so much history so I think in that regard it was the whole package of what it offered, the architecture, the land.”

The agents have another “stunning” character property on the market at 356 High Street, which offers a similar feeling when walked through though not on the same scale.

Another house, on Grendon Street, in the top Dunedin suburb of Maori Hill, fetched $3m earlier this year.

 

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