Ultimate mortgagee sale

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Neighbouring mansions sold for $6.2m –  and this one’s better, agent claims.

Even Queenstown’s richest enclave isn’t immune from mortgagee sales.

A six-bedroom mansion at Closeburn Station labelled a “great home” by the New York Times just five months ago has been listed for mortgagee tender by Locations Realty.

Over the past year or so the 450sq m holiday home owned by Kiwi expatriate Dennis Guise has been marketed by Browns Sotheby’s International Realty.

But with mortgagee Westpac now taking control, the listing has been transferred to another agency to avoid any conflict of interest.

Guise, a former insurance broker who moved to England 21 years ago, was one of 27 foundation investors in New Zealand’s first high-country farm retreat.

He bought his 6000sq m plot in 2000 and transferred it to his family trust to avoid inheritance tax.

Developed by Queenstowner David Broomfield with Indonesian and American partners, Closeburn Station – 11km from Queenstown off Glenorchy Road – resulted from NZ’s second-only high-country tenure review, involving swaps of freehold and leasehold land.

As well as their home site, Closeburn owners get a 27th share of a 1000ha working farm, including use of amenities like a communal clubhouse, tennis courts, and fishing and tramping huts – they pay an annual $24,000 body corporate fee.

Guise’s Lot 19 is probably the best section in the gated estate, Locations agent Steven Kirk claims.

It’s the closest to Lake Dispute and has panoramic views to the divide above Moke Lake in one direction and towards Cecil Peak and the Remarkables in the other.

Five years ago Guise told Britain’s Observer newspaper that he wanted to wind down his work and spend more time in NZ.

“My wife rides horses and, unlike the UK where you have the right to roam, in NZ you can’t just ride across other people’s land,” he told the newspaper.

“That means you have to own a lot of land or stick to the roads.”

Guise, who’s introduced several other British investors to his home country, has co-owned several NZ properties including the 30-lot Mataka Station in the Bay of Islands, another farm estate development.

Two years ago the Herald on Sunday reported Guise’s daughter Frankie getting married in the Bay of Islands in a three-day celebration costing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” – her gown was reportedly made by Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer.

It’s not known why Guise has allegedly defaulted on his Queenstown getaway.

North-facing, the home has a master bedroom suite on a mezzanine level above an open-plan kitchen/living/dining area, with five other bedrooms split between family and guest wings.

There’s also a three-car garage, wrap-around deck and views over a nearby pond and stream.

So far, the record Closeburn Station property price has been $6.2m, which two individual homes have fetched. The highest bare land price to date is $2.4m.

“People who have on-sold have done very well,” developer Broomfield says.

What he’s most proud of is that Closeburn owners have embraced land management far more than he expected.
“They’ve supported it financially to obtain something either a farmer or the Department of Conservation could never have done.”

If you’ve got the readies, tenders close on June 12.