Epsom

Suburb Specialists

If Remuera is Auckland’s best-known, richest suburb, Epsom is its august, elder neighbour. Its elegant old houses recline in dignified splendour behind stone walls and beneath mature trees. It appears almost charmed. This is where lawns seem to manicure themselves and dead leaves fly elsewhere to drop. Even the presence of some major arterial routes running through it towards the city can’t dent the overriding feeling of peace and gentility. Epsom has some famous residences and, of course, the country’s most highly regarded public boys school, Auckland Grammar. Its zoning restrictions lead many ordinarily upstanding parents to sneaky and creative address-fixing, and drives local real estate prices on a steady curve upwards. The southern reaches of the suburb may still be known as Epsom but have more of an affinity with the more lower middle class Royal Oak.

Who Lives There?

Well-heeled school age families are the backbone of Epsom, buying houses at premium prices to make sure their children are in-zone for Auckland Grammar and the equally well-thought-of Epsom Girls Grammar. Many of these have been “education aware” Asian immigrants, whose off-spring tend to be true to studious form and make up the majority of the top streamed classes. More recently the number of Asian migrants here has dropped off. Now it’s the English and South African families moving in, as much for the traditional character of the area as for the schooling. So close are the schools that some children will even walk to school – a phenomenon virtually unheard of in recent years as we cotton-wool our kids. Families are moving into Epsom’s school zones from as little as 5-10km away, rather than choosing to live further out and pay big private school fees. They used to view Epsom as too staid and conservative, but now it stands for great, and free, education. The suburb is definitely upper middle class in its outlook – and the impact of school zoning places even greater pressures on those wishing to buy. Some of Epsom’s old family names, finding the upkeep of their grounds costly and time consuming, have moved on. Rightly or wrongly, many of their homesteads have been flattened and replaced with modern townhouses.

Typical Homes

Epsom was settled mainly around the turn of the century, so there are many villas of 1900- 1920s vintage as well as 1930s bungalows. Most are large and beautifully renovated on substantial tree-studded sections. Infill housing constructed during the past decade means there are now also many large townhouses in the area built on sites where the original home was removed and, most likely, trucked out to rural Coatesville (or similar) for a peaceful retirement. There are a number of small units and, famously, there is The Pines, a 10-storey luxury apartment building constructed in 1969 by special arrangement with the council. The developer had spent decades landscaping his 2.8ha site and saw an apartment building as the best way to protect the entire site, and its trees, in perpetuity.

Population Profile

POPULATION
10,533

Aged Under 15 Years 20.54%
Aged Over 65 Years 9.17%
European 47.94%
Maori 2.42%
Pacific Peoples 1.22%
Asian 42.44%

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