'Cheap but steep' cliffhanger section in Wellington fetches $365,000 |

Look at the photo, and you can see this Wellington section looks pretty much like a square of bush and not much else.

What you can’t see is the steep slope of the land that drops away from street level. You couldn’t pitch a tent on this land, but you could possibly build a tree house. 2 Story Prefab Houses

'Cheap but steep' cliffhanger section in Wellington fetches $365,000 |

But with a scarcity of land in Wellington, if a section is buildable, then it is worth something – $365,000 to be precise. That’s what this 516 square-metre block has just sold for (

The Northland property, which was sold by Alexia Stoddart of Tommy’s Real Estate, came with resource consent to build a house to a plan by architect Nic Ballara, who specialises in putting up houses in ridiculously steep places. His own property, which clings to the cliff with rock anchors, was featured on the first series of Grand Designs NZ.

READ MORE: * Cliffhanger home sells for more than $1m over CV * A steep learning curve: Why is it so hard to build on a hill? * Out of the ordinary: Seven best houses on steep sites

At the time he said he wanted to prove it was possible to turn an inhospitable site into a building site. Rather than encourage urban sprawl we should be more clever solutions, such as building more densely and utilising steep sites.

“Wellington's topography ensures houses on these sites are not overlooked by neighbours. You can be so close to the city yet feel right in the middle of nowhere."

Stoddart says the purchaser plans to put up a house for their own use, but she is not sure if it will be modelled to Ballara’s plan.

The vendor, who bought the site in 2016 for $240,000, was planning to build here herself, but is now working outside Wellington, hence the decision to sell. She had already commissioned Ballara to design a house for the site.

She says the site appealed to her because although it was challenging, it had amazing views. “I grew up in Wellington, but never did have sea or harbour views. I loved the idea of being able to see all that every day.”

And she loves Ballara’s architecture and philosophy.

“I liked how Nic didn’t want to just dig a massive hole in the side of the hill and try to make a flat base (for a building platform), which would have involved a lot of excavation,” she says. “We didn’t need to butcher the landscape, and anyway that wouldn’t have been cost effective.”

'Cheap but steep' cliffhanger section in Wellington fetches $365,000 |

3 Rooms Prefab House The house Ballara designed would be supported by deep vertical piles, not horizontal rock anchors, like Ballara’s house. And while there is additional cost involved with the engineering and foundations in any house built on a steep site, this is usually offset by the price of the section.