New apartments an accessible option in regional centres

Brand new apartments more affordable than existing homes in sought-after Albany, Onehunga and Hobsonville

OKLA, Albany

New apartments adjoining suburban amenity now offer an accessible option for many Auckland buyers, with average median house prices 27 per cent higher than new apartments in the sought-after growth areas of Albany, Hobsonville and Onehunga.

Research by Colliers International shows the average price of a house in the suburban suburbs of Albany, Hobsonville and Onehunga, is $966,783, almost $200,000 above the average sale price for new apartments of $770,138.

The research looked at apartment complexes in these areas that are currently selling both off the plans or are nearing completion.

Prices range from $525,000 for one bedroom, $735,000 for two bedrooms and two bathrooms, to $950,000 for three bedrooms.

Pete Evans, National Director of Residential Project Marketing at Colliers International, says people are potentially able to get an apartment in a far superior location with walkability to more public amenity compared with the standard suburban home.

“In an area such as Onehunga, people are able to buy an apartment within a short walk from Onehunga Mall with over 100 retail outlets, boutique eateries and bars, and the train station.

Fabric of Onehunga

“In Albany, apartments are a short walk to the Westfield shopping centre, Albany village, the park and ride facility, the North Harbour Stadium and pools.

“Hobsonville has new schools, the Catalina retail precinct, a farmers’ market, cafes and various public transport options.” 

Evans says apartments offer a better lifestyle at an affordable cost without any of the additional refurbishment and ongoing maintenance costs that often come with older houses.

“To gain the maximum advantage from an apartment it must offer great lifestyle opportunity with infrastructure to support ongoing development.”

Albany reaps infrastructure gains

Albany has been earmarked as one of 10 metropolitan centres where much of the growth will occur as part of the 30 year Auckland Plan.

Existing amenity includes New Zealand’s largest shopping centre, sports stadiums, Massey University, and good access to the Northern motorway and beaches. 

Infrastructure spend that has already benefitted the area includes extension of the park and ride car park for the Northern Busway, which connects to the CBD in less than 30 minutes during peak times.

Auckland Transport’s North Shore rapid transit network project is also under investigation. The project aims to further improve public transport options from Albany, with a light rail connection and Harbour crossing in consideration. 

According to QV’s latest figures, the median house price in Albany is now over a million dollars, at $1,004,450, a stark contrast to the median apartment price of $724,512.

Hobsonville planned for growth

Hobsonville is projected to be an equally promising area for property owners, with new master-planned development Hobsonville Point expected to house 11,000 Aucklanders within the next decade.

Hobsonville Point is distinctive from the traditional organic urban growth model in that infrastructure, amenity and housing are being built simultaneously to support population growth. 

According to HLC, a subsidiary of Housing New Zealand, Hobsonville Point will have all the things that a community needs to thrive, including a high street and waterfront hub with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, new primary and secondary schools, a weekend farmers’ market, community hall, gardens, parks and public spaces, as well as a new coastal walk. 

The Northwest Transformation, which includes the development of a new town centre at Westgate, a village and employment park at Hobsonville, and development of Hobsonville Point will be the largest urbanisation project in New Zealand, according to Auckland Transport. 

Infrastructure spend of $110 million has been confirmed for the project, with another $215 million to be invested over the next 10 years.

Improvements already taking place include new roads, linking Hobsonville with central Auckland in 20 minutes during non-peak times, a variety of public transport options including bus services to the CBD, Westgate, Albany and Takapuna, and a 40-minute ferry from two ferry terminals with park and ride services. 

QV’s latest figures for Hobsonville show a median price of $955,450, considerably higher than the median apartment price of $731,745.

Onehunga growing beyond industrial roots

Onehunga, one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, has also been pegged as a key area for growth.

“It has come a long way from its light industrial heritage in recent years, with access to amenities, public transport, and boutique shops and eateries in the village centre,” Evans says.

Over $1.5 billion has already been spent on the Waterview tunnel, which now links Onehunga with the northwest, and restoring the foreshore.

Future infrastructure spend will be aimed at continuing the rejuvenation of the town centre and further improving transport links.

In Onehunga, the median house price for a typically older villa-style house is now $940,450, compared with a median of $854,745 for a new build apartment.

Generational shift needed

Will Coates, Project Manager of Residential Project Marketing at Colliers International, predicts it will take at least another generation for a shift to occur where apartment living widely appeals to kiwi families, but there is a growing trend towards the lifestyle that apartment living delivers. 

Coates says apartments in suburban areas are appealing to a wide range of buyers. 

“Access to amenity and ease of lock up and leave is particularly attractive for baby boomers and empty nesters with holiday homes and travel plans, while young professional singles and couples are drawn to the lifestyle of being able to walk down the road to restaurants, bars, transport and local services.

“The number one reason for purchasing a suburban apartment is the quality it offers in a location where many would not be able to afford to buy a house.

“The Kiwi dream of a quarter acre section is no longer what a large percentage of the market wants or needs, they want an urban lifestyle and easy walk to amenity, which apartment living offers.”

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