Survey finds few children in Grammar zone apartments

Only 3 per cent of Grammar zone apartment buyers have children

Botanica taking shape on Enfield Street, Mount Eden, within the coveted double Grammar zone.

Apartment buyers will not contribute to the strain on Auckland’s double Grammar zone as the population in the area grows, Colliers International research surveys show.

A report commissioned by Act Party Leader David Seymour from Property Economics predicts that the Epsom electorate is set for an influx of at least 5,000 new school-aged children, putting pressure on local schools such as Auckland Grammar and Epsom Girls Grammar.

However, research by Colliers International's Residential Project Marketing team suggests while residents of owner-occupier apartments are adding to the area’s population, the number of additional school age children in the area will actually be very minimal.

Colliers International has been involved in the marketing of five large scale apartment developments in the area, including Alexandra Park, Miro, Botanica (pictured above), Botanica Heritage, and SKHY.

Of the 503 units sold, a total of 421 buyers have been surveyed. The surveys found 357 purchasers (84.8 per cent) intend to be owner-occupiers, and only nine of these (less than 3 per cent) have school aged children.

The remaining 64 apartments (15.2 per cent) were purchased by investors who will typically rent their one or two bedroom units to professional singles or couples.

Pete Evans, National Director of Residential Project Marketing at Colliers International, says very few of the buyers are purchasing based on Grammar zoning or with the intention of buying into schooling zones.

“Our buyers generally aren’t families with school aged children. They are people who have had their children and are looking for a new apartment in a more convenient environment closer to amenity, where they can get away to their second homes more easily, or they are young professionals not wanting children at this time.

“New apartment developments actually reduce the proportion of family homes in an area, and consequently the proportion of school aged children.”

Evans says the survey found buying into Grammar school zones was not a priority for the majority of apartment buyers.

“The purchasers we surveyed gave 12 reasons for buying, and zoning for Grammar schools came out at number 11, while apartment design and size were number one and two.”

Colliers International’s research shows developers are continuing to deliver high-end new apartments in the city fringe.

“This signals a definitive shift from the traditional apartment model of investor properties and student accommodation in the CBD,” Evans says.

He says that rather than overloading areas with more school aged children, Auckland’s Unitary Plan is contributing towards urban renewal.

“The Unitary Plan allows people who have brought up their families in large homes to stay in the area by providing quality apartments and allowing new families to move into their existing houses.

“New developments are gentrifying existing areas and creating more diverse communities by appealing to a wider range of people who want to buy into sought after areas, especially in the city fringe.

“Developers are creating new high-end apartment dwellings targeting owner occupiers and these new developments mean that existing residents of houses are able to stay within the areas that they enjoy – where they have friends and connections – with open plan living, designer kitchens, beautiful en-suites, extensive walk-in wardrobes and luxury finishings.

“Recycling existing family homes, which allows new families to move into the area, is perfect for the seller, buyer and the community.

“We just don’t agree with the assumption that children will live in apartments – it will take at least another generation for a shift like this to happen in the mindset of Kiwi families.”

Will Coates, Projects Manager of Residential Project Marketing at Colliers International, says that where Auckland could see an uplift in the student age population will be from the subdivision of houses in the Mixed Housing zones under the new Unitary Plan.

“The new Mixed Housing zones allow for larger sections to be redeveloped or subdivided to make way for more densified housing typologies such as terraced housing or standalone houses on smaller sections,” Coates says.

“It’s these types of properties that will appeal to families and drive growth of the school-aged population.”

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