Steve Koerber remembers the first home he sold in Remuera, it was 1998 and it changed hands for $750,000. Today he values it at around $5 million.
Moving from the North Shore to the leafy suburb with its prime Auckland leisure spots, such as Cornwall Park and the coast just minutes away, was a turning point in his career as a real estate agent.
He decided to focus squarely on helping people buy and sell property in the area to (almost) the exclusion of all other locations. It means that more than 20 years on, he feels as if he has been inside almost every Remuera home and has witnessed many positive changes over the years, such as a few old and tired properties being replaced with modern luxury apartments.
“People sell their $5 million homes in Remuera to buy a $3 million apartment,” says Steve. “It’s the perfect trade-down as they get to stay in the area they know and enjoy, and free up larger homes for young families who want to move here.”
The Ray White agent has sold more than 900 Remuera homes to date and says his first-hand knowledge of the popular suburb, its streets, schools, local businesses, amenities and his wide community network, means he is perfectly placed to provide home buyers with solid advice.
Steve, who lives near Remuera village, says the suburb – the fifth largest in Auckland when it comes to the number of dwellings – is popular because everywhere else is so accessible.
“It’s close to the bays, close to the city, the hospital is five minutes away by car, and there’s the Domain,” he says.
“My wife and I take the dog for a walk to Mt Hobson, we pop to Cornwall Park quite regularly which is a short walk away, and we often walk to Newmarket and Mt Eden. There are great schools, including King’s Prep, Remuera Primary…Things such as these are top of mind for many people.”
Remuera is also home to plenty of fine eateries, bars and restaurants as well as clubs and fine specialists stores.
Steve says the benefit of dedicating his career to one location not only provides him with a solid and trustworthy industry profile, but both sellers and buyers come to appreciate the expertise he offers them – although not always right away.
“The level of knowledge and experience I have is not always fully appreciated when buyers first meet me – but over a coffee they start to see the value I can offer,” says Steve.
“They tell me what’s important for them in their next home and I can pinpoint the ideal location or street within the suburb. And all this knowledge has come by focusing on the one area. I live here and rarely work with properties outside the area.”
And because he has seen the same, or similar properties, come to market many times, Steve often knows what they will change hands for.
“I sell more than twice the number of properties in Remuera than any other estate agent,” he says.
“If there’s an auction coming up and a potential bidder calls me about it I can almost certainly tell them something of value about the property.
“I may have been in it a few times, or sold it a few times, and I can almost instantly form an opinion of its value, how many people will be looking at it, and I’ve probably spoken to other potential bidders myself.
“Having said that, with auctions in this hot market…Even the best of us can under-estimate what buyers will bid to live in Remuera. It is such a desirable location.”
As with many locations across New Zealand, there is a shortage of available properties in Remuera right now, but it is something Steve expects to change as the year draws to a close.
“There will be a seasonal rush as people decide to move home before January,” he says. “So I fully expect more listings over the coming weeks. And we need them because there are lots of enquiries from ex-pats looking to move back from places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, the States, and the UK.”