Feature article

An architect’s home with Homestar 7 rating

A new architectural and sustainable home in Wellington has been snapped up just 14 days after listing.

Last updated: 25 August 2023

A near new architectural and sustainable home in Wellington’s popular inner suburb of Brooklyn has been snapped up with a successful tender bid just 14 days after listing.

Tommy’s Real Estate agent Billy Bell put the home on the market 3 August and set the tender date for 17 August, and the home which has a Homestar 7 rating, attracted an offer trumping the enquiries over price of $1.295 million, in the early $1.3 millions.    

These kinds of sustainable homes attract a certain buyer and they turned up in droves to see the property in August. Billy estimates close to 40 groups went through in the two weeks before tenders were called for.

One of Tommy’s top agents, Billy says there are so few properties on the Wellington city market at the moment – 501 on the morning of 23 August – and what he describes as “a massive pool of buyers” waiting to view properties, so he’s typically been setting the tender date between 14 and 17 days after listing.

9A Livingstone Street, Brooklyn, Wellington, Wellington

The benefits of living in a sustainable, eco home

The cutting edge sustainable property in Brooklyn’s Livingstone Street is the home of First Light Studio architect Nick Officer who, with his colleague Ben Jagersma, designed the house and the two others alongside it, for each of them, and and for a client.  First Light Studio specialises in passive homes, high-performance housing and sustainable architecture.

It was a project that they worked on in the run up to the Covid lockdowns, and they managed to have the three properties built during 2020 by local construction company, Black Sheep Construction, who have done a number of projects designed by First Light Studio. 

The architects were intent on building three energy-efficient and sustainable homes for themselves and their client. As with each of the properties, Nick’s home was given a Homestar 7 rating, the 142 sq m home built with 150 mm thick walls (the standard is 90 mm) and above-code insulation.

The house has four heat pumps, Wi-Fi controlled, mainly for cooling rather than heating, and the internal walls are acoustically insulated. The cladding is Coloursteel Profile, a good low maintenance material, says Nick.  

The home also has designer LED lighting and a Lunos Energy Recovery Ventilator (EVR) system for keeping the air and living spaces fresh and dry, ideal for asthma and hay fever sufferers.

What did buyers like best about the property? “As well as enjoying the sun at the home and being dry and warm, people liked the styling of the house, the scandi-feel,” says Nick. 

“It’s a very clever house in the way it functions,” he adds. “It feels bigger than it is and the bedrooms are separate from the living space. It’s got decks and a little flat lawn planted with native plants which we spent three years growing in Waikanae before bringing them to the Brooklyn site.” 

The architect explained to Billy what living in a Homestar 7 rated home was like so he could share it with buyers. “We shared our experience of living there, that every time you came home the house was warm and dry, and lovely and sunny all afternoon on the hill.” 

Nick and his young family lived there for a year and a half, and they’re now moving up the Kāpiti coast to have some more space for the children and to be close to their grandparents.

Their next home is a 1940s bungalow, a big change from their Brooklyn property. But some things Nick wants to take with him. The architect has already booked in the heating and ventilation system to go into the property, another ERV system.

“I couldn’t live without it,” he says. “Every New Zealand home should have one.”