MORE TO THE POINT
Properties are so tightly held in Point Chevalier, it can be difficult getting a foothold in the suburb. But once you’re there, chances are you’ll never want to move again, writes LOUISE RICHARDSON.
Not surprisingly, given its handy location in relation to the harbour and Meola Reef, early Point Chevalier was the site of small Maori fishing settlements before the arrival of European settlers in the 1840s.
The area was important to the colonial population in the 1850s and 60s because Great North Rd was then the main route out of town.
But as other roads opened Point Chevalier (named after Captain George Robert Chevalier, a musketry instructor), went back to being a mainly rural area and a seaside resort, popular with city dwellers for day trips.
That was not to change until the period between the two great wars of the 20th Century, when significant residential development began.
As other beaches became more accessible, the ‘seaside town’ atmosphere in Point Chevalier faded away.
Recently the suburb has been rediscovered by Californian bungalow and art deco enthusiasts who have tapped into a rich vein, with plenty of houses — most of which were built between 1920 and 1929 — still ripe for renovation.
Many of these house hunters have been priced out of nearby hot spots such as Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and have come to appreciate the larger sections that are typical in Point Chevalier.
Among many other attractions, Point Chevalier is handy to the city and motorway, yet many of its streets are quiet and peaceful.
The beach was re-sanded in 2008 and is enjoying renewed popularity. Locals undertake a variety of watersports and properties with easy beach access, such as those in St Michaels Ave, sell for sizable sums.
Who lives here and what do they do?
Point Chevalier has some very good schools with a strong community focus, so the suburb is popular with young families, many of whom buy old bungalows and renovate them as finances allow.
Sixty-three per cent of locals describe themselves as
professionals , while 40 per cent of households have incomes in excess of $100,000.
What’s to love?
Residents will tell you there’s lots to love. Auckland Zoo and the Museum of Transport and technology (Motat) are both big drawcards, as are the parks, including Western Springs Park.
Locals enjoy walking around Meola Reef (Te Tokaroa) a peninsula formed by ancient lava flows, while swimming, windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing are other popular activities.
Cafe culture took a while to arrive in Point Chevalier but it’s well-eastablished now and most residents have their favourite. While the suburb’s shops in general still have potential for improvement, St Lukes is just a short drive away, as are Ponsonby and Grey Lynn.
Public transport to and from Auckland CBD is excellent and many locals make use of the cycle path that runs alongside the motorway.
Decile 10 Point Chevalier School, St Francis School and Western Springs College all enjoy good reputations and the latter has recently had an $80m rebuild.
Buying and selling
OneRoof data shows value growth slid 2 per cent in the past 12 months, in line with the rest of Auckland, although a pick-up in market activity appears to have halted any downturn. The curent median value sits at $1,395,000, just $5000 above Grey Lynn next door. Both suburbs are still more affordable than neighbouring Westmere ($1.6m); Ponsonby ($1.61m); and Herne Bay ($2.43m).
Professionals agent Derek von Sturmer says that although 2019 has been the agency’s best year for sales, there is a dearth of listings. That’s partly because properties are tightly held and homeowners generally only ever move within the suburb.
He says he and the team need another 20 or 30 houses urgently, ideally each with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“Because this is such a family-oriented neighbourhood, most buyers are also looking for full sections where their children can play safely.”
Von Sturmer says that Point Chevalier has essentially flown under the radar for the past 15 years, but this is changing.
“It’s on a peninsula so people come into the suburb for a reason, rather than driving through it. The residents here all know each other so well, it’s practically like a small town,” he says.