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Top 10 residential growth areas identified

FABRIC of Onehunga

Auckland's best suburbs and neighbouring regions of Tauranga, Hamilton and Raglan picked for residential growth

The Auckland suburbs of Northcote, Manukau, New Lynn and Panmure are among Colliers International’s annual pick of top 10 residential growth areas.

The areas have been identified for their potential growth for new residential dwellings due to changes or improvements underway and planned. 

Pete Evans, National Director of Residential Project Marketing, says the focus in 2019 has shifted to the supply of affordable homes and regeneration of traditionally less expensive suburbs.

“Investment in these suburbs through new development and infrastructure will invigorate these areas and create more desirable places to live with continued growth potential.”

The ‘Golden Triangle’ centres of Hamilton, Tauranga and Raglan – along with the Auckland suburbs of Onehunga and Westgate - remain among the pick of top growth areas for the second year in a row.

At the higher end of the market, Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter is expected to experience continued improvement in the lead up to Apec in 2020 and The America’s Cup in 2021.


Located only 6km from Auckland’s CBD with good transport links, natural amenity and Town Centre status under the Auckland Unitary Plan, Northcote is well-suited for intensification. 

The area is set to undergo major change over the next 10 years through a comprehensive development plan between Auckland Council and Housing New Zealand (HNZ).

Existing HNZ homes will be replaced with over 1,000 new homes, 400 of which will be retained for social housing and the remaining sold as affordable homes for qualifying buyers and to the general public. 

Auckland Council’s development arm Panuku will lead transformation of Northcote’s town centre to create a more attractive retail and commercial environment and better public spaces for the community. 

Planned infrastructure upgrades include a new town square, multi-purpose community building, improved transport links, including new safe cycle routes and a greenway linking Lake Road to the town centre.  


Manukau is one of three centres outside of CBD that Auckland Council has prioritised for growth through to 2050 and is expected to undergo significant change. 

The Transform Manukau project involves major investment by council and central government and covers 600ha of land including the metropolitan centre and Wiri suburban area to the south. 

This will regenerate the town centres at both Manukau and Wiri, support substantial residential and commercial development and focus on improving services such as healthcare and schooling, as well as increased tertiary education presence in the area. 

Transportation improvements include a new integrated rail and bus station, upgrades to Great South Road, a mass transit route from the airport to Botany via central Manukau, and creation of a comprehensive cycle network. 

New Lynn

New Lynn is an integral hub of Auckland’s western suburbs with a diverse mix of retail and commercial activity, sporting, recreation and community centres and strong connectivity through the New Lynn Transit-Oriented Development programme. 

The new transport interchange at New Lynn was New Zealand’s largest investment in public transport infrastructure when completed in 2010 and was the first step in the suburb’s transformation. 

The $36 million interchange is part of a wider $300m project by Auckland Council to transform the town centre, improve its transport and roading infrastructure.

In 2019 work will commence on a 2.9km shared path that will link New Lynn Train Station, Avondale Train Station, the Waterview shared path, the Northwestern Cycleway and other city centre networks. 

Residential development West Edge will provide more than 2,000 new homes in the area in a staged development, with the first stage due for completion this year. 

Evans says infrastructure investment in an area will always act as a catalyst for private-sector development, further advancing the growth, potential and appeal of a suburb. 


Located within the wider Tāmaki Transformation area, Panmure is ripe for intensification with robust infrastructure, proximity to major employment areas and access to the CBD by rail. 

The Tāmaki Regeneration Programme is adding 7,500 new homes to the wider area over the next 15 years as well as supporting infrastructure investment.

Auckland Council’s existing land holdings in Panmure provide significant opportunity for continued development.

In 2018 the council announced plans to sell $104m of property to fund rejuvenation of the town centre and further improve transport links with new retail and commercial spaces and a new multi-purpose community centre. This will create mixed-use sites for private sector development.  


Onehunga remains a key growth area with regentrification well underway and significant further upgrades planned. 

Transformation began when Auckland Council named Onehunga as one of its main transformative locations as part of its 10-year long-term plan.

The plan includes continuing advances such as electric trains, redevelopment of the foreshore, which was completed in 2015, and opening of the Waterview Tunnel in 2017. 

In 2018 Auckland Council announced the purchase of Onehunga Wharf with plans to continue redevelopment of this area into a high-quality waterfront space. 

Evans believes development of the wharf will cement Onehunga as the southern alternate destination to Wynyard Quarter, drawing people from across Auckland with cafes, bars, restaurants and family entertainment. 

Other infrastructure projects in the pipeline for Onehunga include removal of the high-voltage power lines along the port and shoreline, as well as plans for a new light rail link between the CBD and Auckland Airport that will stop at Onehunga Mall.


Evans predicts that Auckland’s Northwest, specifically the area spanning from Westgate to Hobsonville Point, will continue to be a significant growth area, with the focus in 2019 moving further north to Kumeu and west towards Redhills.  

“The Northwest is an area where infrastructure is moving faster than population growth with the opening of the NorthWest Shopping Centre in 2016 offering significant amenity for surrounding development. 

“Residential intensification of the wider area will offer opportunities for people seeking a more relaxed lifestyle with proximity to the Metropolitan centres of Westgate and Albany.

“Outer suburbs such as Kumeu and Whenuapai will be especially appealing for people seeking a lifestyle change but who wish to remain close to employment, schooling and transportation links.

A substantial residential and commercial development, Kumeu Central, plans to deliver 300 new homes to the Kumeu area, with a mixed offering of residential, retail, commercial and live/work dwellings.

The development will also reserve 2ha for public space, which will include a public walkway and cycle track adjacent to the Kumeu River. 

In late 2018 the government announced a further $339m investment to support major projects in Whenuapai and Redhills, with the funding expected to help deliver 7,000 new homes to the area. 

Wynyard Quarter 

At the high-end of the market, Evans predicts that Wynyard Quarter will be the next area to see a significant spike as the first major developments reach completion and provide market confidence.

Expected to be fully completed in 2030, Evans anticipates that development of Wynyard Quarter will amplify over the next one to two years in preparation for the America’s Cup in 2021.

Recent changes include 113 new apartments and townhouses now complete in Wynyard Central, with a further 200 to be added with completion of 132 Halsey and 30 Madden, both of which are under construction. 

The $300m five-star hotel the Park Hyatt is also due to be completed in 2019. 

The Auckland Fish Market opened in late 2018, adding 10 new eateries and two bars with the iconic Samford & Sons fishmonger as the anchor. 

Ongoing infrastructure upgrades include development of Wynyard Common, envisioned to be a public space similar to Takutai Square in Britomart, and the Daldy Street Linear Park that will create a green connection between Victoria Park and the waterfront. 

Future development includes a new village at Westhaven Marina, which will be home for marine business and essential services as well as an additional food and beverage offering, a proposed walkway and cycle path across the Harbour Bridge and light rail from the city to the airport, both of which will commence at Wynyard. 


The ripple effect of people looking for an alternative lifestyle location will see other North Island centres continue to see strong growth.

“Tauranga’s CBD is on the cusp of transformation with significant residential and commercial development both in planning and underway,” says Evans.

A planned $250m of major development covering a 600m stretch of the CBD from Elizabeth Street to McLean Street will be completed in the next five years.

The Farmers site on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Davenport Road is a $120m development that will comprise retail, car parking and 120 high-end apartments and terrace homes.

Other major developments include a new central library and civic administration building as well as an international-brand hotel and conference centre. 

A new University of Waikato campus opened at the beginning of 2019 and will bring approximately 1,000 students to the city centre.

In the retail sector, the second stage of Tauranga Crossing will open later in 2019 with over 90 specialist shops, eateries and entertainment, including global retailer H&M and a Hoyts cinema.


Growth of Hamilton will continue with central government confirming funding for a five-year trial of a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service starting from March 2020. 

The service will commence at Frankton and The Base in Te Rapa, stopping in Huntly then Papakura, where passengers can change on to the Auckland public transport network. 

Hamilton City Council, supported by government, plans to invest $2 billion into the city over the next 10 years.

Major infrastructure plans include the creation of a new community at Peacockes Road and a 30-year project to transform public use of the Waikato River. 

Peacocke is a substantial residential development that is estimated to house over 20,000 people as well as a new bridge, roading and parks to the new southeastern suburb. 

The River Plan aims to create a premier riverside destination comprising of hospitality, recreation and commercial activity in the city centre as well as transformation of the Pukete Bridge into a pedestrian walkway and garden, a new riverside sculpture-walk and a city beach.

Growth suburbs will include Rototuna, Ruakura and Rotokauri, all of which have been granted funding as part of the government’s $1b Housing Infrastructure Fund. 


Evans predicts that Raglan will continue to experience strong growth with increasing tourist numbers and a new 550 section development. 
“Raglan is well placed for residential intensification, with existing amenity provided by a boutique village and the rapidly growing city of Hamilton 30 minutes’ drive away.”

This is a vision which is shared by the developers of Rangitahi Peninsula, a new multi-million dollar housing development. 

The first phase of the project is underway and includes construction of a new vehicular bridge to access the suburb.
While the property market is cyclic in nature, the undersupply of new dwellings remains a constant challenge for the government and industry. 

These suburbs have been identified as they represent opportunities for new dwellings in areas of high future demand in the short to medium term.


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Pete Evans

National Director


Pete specialises in residential property development and project marketing. Pete is focused on leading the growth and development of the national residential business line through providing diverse and integrated residential property services, enhancing project design and mix to identified target markets, client engagement strategies, branding and positioning, project sales specialist to sell-out projects, fostering and maintaining service excellence. 

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