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All about Alison

Alison Aitken has been in the real estate game for three decades, so to say she is at the top of her league is an understatement. The Harcourts Grenadier agent is greatly recognised by both her peers and the community – she was inducted into the prestigious Harcourts’ Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2019 became the first (and only) Harcourts salesperson to achieve $1 billion in settled sales. Often you read all about properties and what distinguishes them from the rest. We thought we’d take the time to do the same for Alison.



How was lockdown for your bubble?
Extremely comfortable, we got back to the basics of cooking, gardening, exercise, reading (no TV) and plenty of relaxation. I did very little work except talking to my great client base simply to see if they were ok.

Was your heart always set on real estate?
No, an interesting journey through farm cadetship, banking, hospitality and small business ownership – they all helped shape and form me.

What distinguishes you from the competition?
I work for a great company, part of a superb global network. I have a fantastic team of different ages and different skills which complement each other. We work hard and love what we do.

What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to start in Real Estate?
Get a good platform, a company with good management, training, and resources. The best start is to become part of a high performing team. Be prepared for the sacrifices you need to make, without them there are no rewards.


The Influencers: Lynette McFadden

Business Owner of Harcourts Gold

A new decade and a fresh feel is evident in the Christchurch real estate market as we continue our march into 2020.

I love this city, it’s my hometown and I’m excited about our future, our growth, and the variation of design that has started to occur in numerous suburbs and streets.

The definitive market drivers include lower than usual numbers of listings – 1906 listings in January 2019 and 1459 in January 2020 ( stats) and this is pre-empting an increase in the number of auctions being requested, conducted and sold.

Historically this occurs when vendors feel they can capitalize on the competitive attentions of buyers limited for choice.

I note Christchurch median house prices provided by REINZ also demonstrated an 8.1 percent increase over the January period proving a seasonal win for vendors, some of whom have waited a while to see the benefits of a market favourable to them.

Heading gently into autumn has yet to indicate a change in the current market but with 25 years of experience I’ve never seen a property cycle that didn’t continue to change or adjust to local and national conditions.

I’m also noticing an increase in the nature of property investment as interest rates refuse to provide many with the comfort or growth they’re looking for and this opens up significant opportunities in the months ahead. No doubt I’ll continue to discuss this further.


30 year real estate journey

“Not bad for a girl from Shirley!” Alison Aitken of Harcourts Grenadier chuckles as she recalls her progress over the years from selling real estate in her own backyard to being inducted into the Harcourts’ Hall of Fame – the first real estate agent in the company to be awarded this honour by her peers.


Recognition at this level does not come without hard work, dedication and a genuine interest in both people and the real estate industry.

Rewind to 1990 and Alison enters real estate as PA to her agent husband. “I was thrown in at the deep end, but found I loved the environment.

That gave me the confidence to become an agent myself in 1991. It was a job I could do while balancing my role as a mother of two small children.”

During her journey of nearly 30 years in the business, Alison has proved she has the attributes required to win her clients’ trust.

“I’ve been lucky to have been asked to sell properties for more than one generation of families. I think perhaps I might be doing something right. I certainly do put 100 percent into my work. It is not a part-time business.”

Alison also truly loves running open homes and seeing and talking to so many people she knows.

“My experience has taught me that although every client and every property is different, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, consistency and care. My greatest joy is the people I work with.”

A modern treasure

A modern treasure of innovative solid construction and historical reminders provides the ultimate central apartment lifestyle.



The second and final stage of the Latimer Central Apartments is now complete.

Adjacent to the new sports stadium, the prime-positioned build becomes an iconic part of the CBD’s eastern fabric.

At 272 Barbados Street, parallel to Latimer Square, the design is a head-turner.

The standard is high-end for all 34 units built by Street and Cook Construction.

Each one, a future-proofed investment. The first residents moved into the main building this month and now just five of the sought-after apartments remain for sale.

The drive-through entrance is via a portico under the project’s first stage, The Gatehouse, which is home to four exclusive apartments.

The 20 residents’ outdoor carparks are secured behind the central automatic security gate.

The ground-floor brick façade retains timeless character, melding with history – namely the old brick Orion substation.

It still stands as a grand feature point between the gatehouse and the main building – a nod to Christchurch’s past.

Director John Street of Street and Cook Construction has run an outstanding operation from Taranaki for over 35 years.

This is his second noteworthy development in Christchurch, which includes the award-winning GCH Aviation Centre.

Site foreman Brad Shotter moved his family down to Christchurch to project manage each exciting development.

“The apartments are very cleverly designed, to fit the relatively tight space we had to work with,” Brad says.

“Each one has its own unique view. All the balconies and courtyards are generously sized and most face north. The Hebel exterior is extra thick at 75 millimetres and provides a high acoustic rating and thermal barrier.”

The four floors and penthouse of the main building are of classic black and white exterior.

Fresh and light, neutral décor throughout connects the inside the 30 apartments to the spacious common areas.

The one and two bedroom apartments, are all generously proportioned and include Bosch appliances.

Strict acoustic tolerances mitigate the usual sounds from a bourgeoning CBD.

Solid Kwila treads and rises create the wide stairwell, provide an alternative to the internal elevator.

Brad says the project was a real pleasure to work on. It was almost like clockwork for the 18-month project that was completed on schedule.

“The build is up there with the best in innovation. BRB patented-design seismic-strength structural steel from America makes it a standout construction by John Jones Steel. The extremely solid foundation included 73 screw piles, some as deep as 14 metres, supplied and installed by Smith Cranes and Construction. These subcontractors were an integral part of this successful project.”

Cobalt Electrical and Security Systems provided the very latest requirements.

The company’s previous accolade was installing the security systems for the Christchurch Town Hall rebuild.

“We had six tradesmen on the Latimer site most days,” says Liverpool-born owner Eddie Russell, who has operated his one-stop-shop Christchurch business for more than 30 years.

“It was a nice job, and we needed to be there at every building stage. Everything worked out great. We were proud to meet every tight deadline and scope of works.”

Cobalt provided all of the smart features for the building and apartments.

With ICT card access control for the security gate and security walk in entrance, KNX Worldwide automation systems controlling the building through sensors and timers, including the carpark and emergency lighting. Installed in every apartment was smart-lighting control, data hub, Sky TV, fibre optics for the high-speed WIFI built into the walls, and the latest ABB video intercom.

The apartments are now state of the art.

Street and Cook is looking forward to the next exciting Christchurch project.

To view the apartment listing for sale visit Harcourts Gold.


New Year, New Beginnings: Harcourts Merivale

Cindy-Lee Sinclair is thrilled to announce that Matt Kurtovich has joined her team.



“Some people impress from the very first meeting and Matt is one of those individuals,” Cindy-Lee says.

“He is experienced in working with people, and has those personal qualities that make him so well suited to the real estate profession. His capacity for hard work, his commitment to his clients and his ability to stop and listen to the needs, wishes and aspirations of those he works with mark him out as an exceptional person.

“Matt is the type of individual that plays the long game – he builds a meaningful understanding of his clients’ needs by listening and talking through the issues and following up.”

For Matt, it’s all about building relationships. “I’m all about commitment to ‘my people’, and staying with them as their needs and desires change and they move through different homes.”

Matt’s appointment is just one of the exciting new developments taking place at the Harcourts Merivale office, as this popular team grows and expands, so watch this space.

With Harcourts Merivale, you get a great team with the clout of the Harcourts brand; the real estate company with the biggest market share in Canterbury.

We’re quickly heading into the season for new beginnings, so pick up the phone and call now if you are thinking of buying or selling. Contact Cindy-Lee on 03 355 6677 or 0274 888 616. Email



Golden sheen of success: Cameron Bailey

The honours shelf at Harcourts Gold Papanui just got more crowded with stunningly successful agent Cameron Bailey achieving 2019 awards for Number One Agent in New Zealand (for the third time), Number One International Agent (for the third time), Number One Agent in Canterbury (for a staggering seventh year), and Harcourts Gold Papanui is Number One Harcourts Office for New Zealand – and internationally out of 900 offices.



At Cameron’s level of achievement, real estate is a lifestyle, not a job. But while he truly is the top agent, Cameron is still driven by working with a great team every single day, and meeting clients and helping them realise their goals.

Cameron works all over Canterbury and is as satisfied in closing a sale on a $300,000 home as on a $3 million home. “In the current market, skilled agents are getting homes sold – there is a big difference in what a great agent can achieve.”

Cameron says that while prices have softened, the current market is “a fairer market and buyers are very prepared to pay what a property is worth”.  He has taken over many listings from agents and companies that have stalled, and achieved a very successful sale.

Cameron and his ‘A team’ completed 1850 open homes last year. “Our market reach ensures we have more buyers and opportunities at our fingertips; business happens constantly and our network buzzes.”

Repeat business is key “you reach this level and maintain it for seven years only if you’ve got excellence and consistency – clients who want to work with you again and again”.


A New Chapter: Harcourts Holmwood Merivale

Cindy-Lee Sinclair likes to say, “I put the real in real estate,” and her actions and record of success back up her words.


Cindy is a dedicated agent, the centre of a team that works extremely hard for every client. Their satisfaction is illustrated by the repeat business that is a significant part of her portfolio. “I have several clients for whom I have completed multiple sales,” Cindy says. Cindy has always been passionate about real estate. She finds the industry exciting and thrives on the changes that come with an evolving market. “In today’s real estate climate, presentation and marketing are key,” she says.
Presenting the home in its best light brings as many people into the home as possible, and marketing has to be cost effective too – “It’s about making sure you have the edge”.

Cindy is delighted to be working with Jamin Marshall, as Harcourts Holmwood Merivale cements its place on the map of top achievers. Jamin is the new business owner of Harcourts Holmwood Merivale and sees his role very much as assisting the agents. Jamin brings a successful career as a Harcourts agent to his new role saying, “I am really looking forward to growing the Merivale office and assisting Cindy in her fantastic business. She has continued to be a leader, a top performer and a top marketer over her nine-plus years with Harcourts. She is a real asset to our team.”

Contact Cindy-Lee Sinclair at Harcourts Holmwood Merivale on 027 4888 616 or 03 355 6677.



Classic Country Masterpiece: Harcourts

“It’s truly an honour to be entrusted with the sale of such a standout property.”, real estate specialist Cindy-Lee Sinclair of Harcourts is referring to the unique and magnificent property on West Coast Road, Yaldhust that she is currently marketing and which goes to auction on Wednesday 14 November.



“The 760 square metre house with its four hectares of land must be sold as the owner has already purchased elsewhere,” she says. “This is a rare opportunity to own a country estate on the fringe of the city. The house is of outstanding quality with classic elegant lines crafted in the enduring beauty of Oamaru stone and with expansive entertaining areas inside and out. “We find it a joy to hold open homes at `Alpine View’ because there is so much beauty everywhere inside the house and show-stopping views of the mountains as well.”

Cindy-Lee explains that the house has six beautifully appointed double bedrooms and four bathrooms – plenty of room for guests and friends. There is also an indoor heated pool and sauna, as well as an office and an attached, fully self-contained apartment which is ideal for extended family. And of course there is the entertainer’s dream-of-a-kitchen and butler’s pantry finished in granite.

“The detailing and quality of finish is exceptional throughout, from the soaring cathedral ceilings upstairs, the Italian marble and the north-facing living areas that open the home to the grounds. The property really offers what has to be the ultimate lifestyle.”


You can contact Cindy-Lee on 03 355 6677, or 0274 888 616.


Cindy Lee

The power of Teamwork:Cindy-Lee, Harcourts Holmwood

Creativity thrives when people work together in a team. Combining unique perspectives from each team member creates more effective solutions to problems and teamwork also maximises shared knowledge in the workplace. Real estate specialist Cindy-Lee Sinclair definitely believes in the power of teamwork and has built up her own team of superb sales consultants and administrators.

Cindy Lee
L to R Michelle Blakely, Cindy-Lee Sinclair, Jo Mansbridge, Denise Todd

“When vendors choose me to sell their homes they receive the benefit of our whole team’s knowledge and experience,” Cindy-Lee explains. “Each member of my team has embraced my passion for delivering exceptional results.”
Sales consultants Denise Todd and Jo Mansbridge echo their team leader’s views. They’ve both worked in sales and customer service for many years and place particular emphasis on developing and maintaining the very best relationship with their clients, both vendors and buyers. They have excellent skills in negotiation, are empathetic, yet highly professional and know how to set up flawless sales campaigns. “It’s really mentally stimulating and energising for us to work as members of ‘Team Cindy’ and we are learning new valuable skills all the time.”

Essential to the team is smooth, organised administration and that is the role of Michelle Blakely. She has considerable experience working in various marketing and media environments. Attention to detail is her forte and completing tasks to the highest possible standard is her focus.
Cindy-Lee sums up her team’s success in these words, “The strength of my team is each member. The strength of each member is because of the team.”

You can contact Cindy-Lee on
03-355 6677, or 0274 888 616.

Harcourts Redwood

Apartments, Christchurch’s inner-city secret: Harcourts Redwood

Back before cell phones, social media, email, fax machines and talking over the fence to neighbours, the history of multi-level attached living within the inner city was the hip way of living without gardens and lawns, minimal maintenance and a strong sense of community belonging.

Harcourts Redwood
By Harcourts Gold Consultant Mark O’Loughlin

Today’s apartments are designed to meet stringent building codes around engineering standards, structural integrity, acoustics and insulation.
Ease of living, a ‘lock and leave’ mindset, plus the sense of safety and security of multiple residents in a complex are strong drawcards for city occupiers. In recent years there has been consistent growth in young KiwiSavers buying their first home, professional couples, single adults, semi-retired buyers and investors looking to buy completed or off the plans inner-city apartments or townhouses.
The recent completion of new apartment projects at 50 Kilmore, 194 Worcester and 282 Madras Streets replaced only 90 of the approximate 1200 inner-city multi-unit dwellings removed post-quake.

We have just launched a very cool boutique project ‘Identity’ at 135 Kilmore Street adjacent to the refurnished Town Hall and Victoria Square. The 15 apartments have been crafted by Stufkens Chambers Architects to be attractive to the mix of owner-occupiers, KiwiSavers, investors and retirees, priced from $450,000 each, built over five levels with good city views. An onsite display and model is open Sunday 1:45 to 2:15 to view or by appointment. Launched late June, there are four under option already.
Our inner city is a flourishing and exciting place to live. The simple lifestyle of apartment living was never a secret in the world, but in Christchurch the secret is out.