Archive | Sectors

Dickens takes aim, but the residential land fix is elusive

Rodney Dickens.

Property-focused economist Rodney Dickens took aim at the Government’s housing initiatives at the weekend.

Despite the valid criticisms, though, his harshest presentation of failure is aimed not at a single year’s performance by the present government but at 2 decades of failure by successive governments.

In doing so, Mr Dickens didn’t present a forward path.

His solution to escalating house prices is to fix section prices.

That in itself is not an answer. How do you fix? Who fixes? Where do you start?

This article comes in 3 parts:

  1. Mr Dickens’s key points in his latest Rodney’s Ravings report – which will fill you with horror although you’ve known the truth of them for a long time
  2. I will take you to some questions which I think need to be assessed, and
  3. To close, I’ll look at potential ways forward.

Now to the Dickens report:

The Government should do the obvious to fix housing affordability, says Dickens

Economist Rodney Dickens, owner & chief researcher of Strategic Risk Analysis Ltd, produced graphs at the weekend which show how far out of kilter residential section prices have gone.

Mr Dickens wanted to throw the spotlight on the role rising section prices have played in driving up new & existing house prices in Auckland and the similar story in all major urban centres except Christchurch, where the 2010-11 earthquakes set it on a different path.

KiwiBuild, one of Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford’s solutions to the slow construction rate, has experienced some teething problems: “Some people aren’t happy that it isn’t delivering new housing affordable to low income earners, while the extension of the ballot for the first 10 of the 211 KiwiBuild dwellings planned for Wanaka over 2 years may be a sign it will face indigestion problems in towns.

“More teething problems will no doubt arise. But the real criticism should be aimed at the Government’s housing initiatives more generally because they aren’t aimed enough at fixing the largest obstacle to more affordable new housing: high section prices.”

Mr Dickens’s graphs illustrate, at least in part, the role rising section prices have played in driving up prices for new & existing houses in Auckland.

Ironically, he said, the housing accord & special housing areas the National-led Government put in place in Auckland “may be belatedly starting to drive a hint of downside in sections prices. But it is far too little. Much more needs to be done to get down the cost of developing sections; it would deliver a real solution to the housing affordability problem.”

True extent of escalation much higher

Even the research he has done doesn’t show the true extent of land price escalation, because Real Estate Institute figures on section prices don’t take into account the shrinking size of sections.

Over the last 25 years, the average construction cost/m² for a new home in Auckland, based on consent data, rose 212%. The median section price rose 903% over the same period, but Mr Dickens said that because sections had been shrinking in size, the price escalation/m² for sections could well exceed 1000%.

“Obviously the cost of sections feeds directly into the cost of new dwellings, but section prices are also an implicit part of existing dwelling prices.

“A link between Auckland section & existing dwelling prices is evident in the chart below that uses the Real Estate Institute median prices. The difference between the existing dwelling price & the section price is the effective market value of the improvements, that is linked to a moderate extent to building costs.

“Between January 1993 & October 2018, the median section price increased 903% while the median dwelling price increased 514%. In the 12 months ended January 1993, the median Auckland section price was 41% of the median dwelling price, while for the 12 months ended October 2018 the median section price was 67% of the median dwelling price.

“In a country with an extremely low population density, it is madness that it costs more on average for a section than for the house built on it, even in the largest region.

“These increases, and especially the increase in section prices, look horrific when compared to the 68% increase in prices in general over the same period based on the consumers price index, the 111% increase in hourly earnings over the average employees & the 89% increase in the national average rent based on the CPI rent component.

“The causes of sky-rocketing section prices have been discussed elsewhere, including by the Productivity Commission. Relevant factors include massive increases in development contributions, council policies that effectively gave oligopolistic pricing power to landowners, and a drawn-out & expensive process for getting new subdivisions approved.”

Next, Mr Dickens compared the median section price reported by the Real Estate Institute for Auckland with the average cost of building/m² based on the new dwelling consent data: “While the median section price increased 903% between January 1993 & October 2018, the average cost/m² for new dwellings in Auckland increased 212%. Building costs have increased much more than prices in general & average hourly earnings – this is in the context of average hourly earnings most likely understating overall income growth for a range of regions not discussed here. But the increase in building costs is dwarfed by the increase in section prices.

“The increase in section prices is even worse than it looks because, since 1993, the average section size has fallen significantly. The average price/m² for Auckland sections will have increased much more than suggested by the median prices reported by the Real Estate Institute. Unfortunately, data are not available on section prices/m², but the increase will be well over 1000%.

“If Auckland section prices had increased in line with building costs, the blue line in the chart below suggests what existing dwelling prices will have done relative to what they actually did.

“If Auckland section prices had increased since 1993 in line with the average cost/m² of building new dwellings in Auckland, the median section price would be around $180,000 now rather than $575,000.

“By implication, the median existing dwelling price would be around $460,000 rather than $854,000 (ie, $394,000 or 54% lower). So why isn’t the Government (and the Auckland Council & councils in all major urban areas) doing more to get down section prices? If the problem of high section prices was fixed, the market would fix the new housing affordability problem without the need for the contentious & bureaucratic KiwiBuild ‘solution’.

“Maybe the problem lies partly with the other parties that Labour relies on for support? But the problem runs deeper than this. National had every opportunity to fix this problem when it was in government, but didn’t.

“Ironically, the minor fall in the weighted average Auckland median section price since early-2017 may be a response to the boost in supply from the 154 special housing areas approved following National introducing special housing area legislation in 2013. The 154 special housing areas were expected to add over 60,000 new dwelling sites in Auckland. But if it is, it is far too little & way too late. The special housing areas didn’t stop a massive increase in section prices since the legislation was passed in 2013 (ie, 69% based on the weighted average median price for the Auckland region).”

Links (for all 3 pages of this report):
Rodney’s Ravings, 17 November 2018: The government should do the obvious to fix housing affordability
2017, National-led Government’s urban development authorities discussion document
Solly Angel + 5 other contributors, essay 5 July 2018: The new urban peripheries: Findings for a global sample of cities, 1990-2014
Solly Angel
NYU Stern urbanisation project
Stern urban expansion initiative

Earlier stories:
16 November 2018: 3-way partnership to fund infrastructure for next big subdivision at Wainui
13 September 2018: Transport agency sets out project list
20 April 2018: Council approves quest for $300 million of government housing infrastructure money
24 July 2017: Ministers explain infrastructure funding deal
24 July 2017: New Crown entity will advance housing infrastructure
12 July 2017: Council gets $300 million infrastructure package, balance sheet-beating deal to come next
28 April 2017: Joyce lifts infrastructure intentions and talks new operating mechanisms
6 March 2017: Property Council joins call for new infrastructure funding
8 January 2017: Housing infrastructure fund call for final proposals imminent, and panellists required
26 October 2016: Goff talks up growth along with cutting congestion and revising funding
5 October 2016: Infrastructure frailty puts US financial woes in perspective
3 July 2016: 
PM talks $1 billion infrastructure fund, English talks payback frame, Smith talks grabbing more power
6 September 2007: Curtis loses fight to remove “compact” from development framework
11 April 2007: Expect 4-5 centres to be earmarked in growth strategy review

Articles on Productivity Commission:
22 August 2016: Commission sees government change as essential for urban planning
22 August 2016: Commission says everything English wanted on planning
19 August 2016: Government says it’s already implementing land for housing recommendations
 5 October 2015: Commission sends land for housing report to Government
19 June 2015: Commission looks behind high land prices
19 June 2015: Key points from land for housing report
2 June 2015: Productivity Commission draft on land for housing out in fortnight
 7 November 2014: Productivity Commission launches land supply regulation inquiry
13 April 2012: Productivity Commission misses key affordability point – again
4 April 2011: First inquiry for Productivity Commission is housing affordability

Productivity Commission releases:
11 May 2018: New inquiry into local government funding announced
2 March 2018: Why can’t Auckland build enough homes?
29 March 2017: Urban planning – moving beyond the wheel spin

Pages in this report:
1: Dickens takes aim, but the residential land fix is elusive
2: Things to keep in minds while focusing on fringe land supply
3: Cutting the margin without breaking the market…

Attribution: Rodney Dickens, Solly Angel.

Continue Reading

Things to keep in mind while focusing on fringe land supply

This is page 2 of a 3-page article based on economist Rodney Dickens’s weekend report, The Government should do the obvious to fix housing affordability.

In this section, I’ve raised other factors that need to be considered.

Things in the wider picture to keep in mind:

  • Keep in mind that a syndrome featuring in the Auckland & New Zealand pictures also happens to have featured worldwide: Housing prices have been escalating in many countries, not just New Zealand, which ought to raise the suspicion that there’s at least one element of common cause.

The common features internationally:

  • Unheard-of low interest rates, which lift asset values
  • Rising US public debt, now truly out of control, an influence on values exported worldwide because of the reserve status of the $US
  • Sharp & prolonged increases in immigration.

Near-term international influences which will make it harder to bring specific economic policies of countries & for sectors such as housing under control:

  • The US desire for control, seen at the moment through President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, pressure on Iran & increase in military spending
  • Likely for/against positioning regarding the South China Sea, Pacific islands (including New Zealand) support, various treaties & international agreements (particularly those involving Asia), ad African development

Those might seem like far distant influences with little likelihood of interfering in domestic issues down here, but look at them this way: When, as a country, you’re forced to take sides (and this will happen all too soon), your trade routes & relations can be seriously upset.

There’s also one issue peculiar to Australia & New Zealand, and another which both countries can start to rectify:

  • The peculiar local issue concerns the flow of migrants across the Tasman Sea, thataway when times are tougher here & expanding there, the reverse when jobs are harder to find in Australia and Kiwis come home.

New Zealand came out of the global financial crisis of 2007-12 (the years of greatest impact here) very well, courtesy of a leap in immigration. Australia has encouraged even more immigration than our previous government did, though as a lower percentage of total population, but other factors have reduced the boost there. The most notable factor is the price of mined commodities, combined with some uncertainty in the biggest market, China.

Reduced immigration by both countries would at least stabilise the pressure on housing, but would also reduce economic growth.

Auckland’s 2 key issues: land availability & price

The 2 key issues for housing in Auckland are land availability & land price. Less of an issue (although they’re still big) are construction costs & regulation. Infrastructure funding is also less of an issue than the certainty of providing it quickly in the right place.

Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford addressed infrastructure funding this week in a way which looks positive, but in reality shifts the cost burden from today’s buyer down the track as a fixed-in-place (& spreading everywhere in short time if it’s accepted) cost for all homeowners.

Why do I regard it as a “targeted” cost for all homeowners? Targeted rates have spread from a city-centre rate to local rates for services such as sewerage to a fuel tax. Development contributions paid (and factored into land pricing) by developers to local councils were seen as a short-term solution to infrastructure expense and will remain in place, but are increasing in Auckland. The new targeted rate will be an extra.

The division of rates into general & specific is turning up more specifics. At the moment, buyers in new subdivisions pay development contributions, and you will see that kind of cost spread to specific charging for replacing infrastructure in older suburbs.

In the short term, the Government’s infrastructure funding support measure, via Government-sourced loans (as a long-term depository for Accident Compensation Corp income) plus targeted rates on specified homeowners, gives more certainty to the supply of utility networks & roading. It will spread infrastructure costs from immediate into years hence – an addition to the mortgage.

Is the rural:urban boundary the real bogey?

There has been a campaign for several years for Auckland Council (& the regional council & regional growth forum before it) to abandon set rural:urban boundaries (the RUB) to free more land for subdivision and, through competitive pricing, thereby reducing land costs.

Through all that campaign, nobody has ever said how that open-slather approach would be applied. In particular, how infrastructure would be provided.

One method could be to impose regulations on urban-fringe land sales to control prices of sale & onsale – authoritarian, roughly applying the model brought in by National Prime Minister Rob Muldoon in 1982 to freeze wages, prices, interest rates & dividends, which lasted until he lost office to Labour in 1984.

Lifting of that freeze had the most telling impact on interest rates – first mortgage rates flew quickly as high as 30% – but also loosened the reins on mortgage lending.

Unitary plan changed the equation

Auckland Council’s unitary plan, mostly operative since October 2016, has done 2 things to encourage new housing. One is to make zoning through much of suburbia less restrictive, opening the way to more brownfields development through many existing suburbs, resulting in a wider spread of intensification.

The other is to ensure a supply of potential greenfield residential land is made available through rezoning, starting as land zoned initially as future urban, mainly on the fringes, and progressing to long-term zonings.

Despite the aim of the National-led Government’s special housing areas legislation to free more land for housing – pretty much anywhere – somebody had to supply infrastructure, and that was in the hands of the council, which was approaching debt ratio limits.

Through last week’s 3-way government-council-developer infrastructure funding agreement for the Wainui area west of the Hibiscus Coast in Auckland’s north-east, Government loan support in September for Auckland Council via the Housing Infrastructure Fund to get further development underway at Redhills & Whenuapai in the north-west, and the legislation to establish a national urban development authority (that’s been sitting on the rack since National introduced it in early 2017), funding uncertainty appears resolved.

Pages in this report:
1: Dickens takes aim, but the residential land fix is elusive
2: Things to keep in minds while focusing on fringe land supply
3: Cutting the margin without breaking the market…

Attribution: Rodney Dickens.

Continue Reading

Cutting the margin without breaking the market…

This is page 3 of a 3-page article based on economist Rodney Dickens’s weekend report, The Government should do the obvious to fix housing affordability.

In this section, I look at market answers, and ways to achieve change without destruction.

The central housing issue in Auckland, as economist Rodney Dickens presented it in his weekend Rodney’s Ravings, is the leap in house prices resulting from excessive land prices.

The market answers have been:

  • Shrink section sizes
  • Build 2-storey houses to keep their size up to expectations of 200m²-plus homes
  • Supply some smaller homes, cheaper, but still more expensive than they would have been if section prices had been held down.

Mr Dickens wrote: “If Auckland section prices had increased since 1993 in line with the average cost/m² of building new dwellings in Auckland, the median section price would be around $180,000 now rather than $575,000.

“By implication, the median existing dwelling price would be around $460,000 rather than $854,000 (ie, $394,000 or 54% lower).”

Politicians keep looking for ways to get the prices of new houses down, and KiwiBuild is part of that hope.

But is it realistic?

And if new housing does take a price cut, how does that affect existing housing?

The first requirement is to increase supply so there is no longer an acute shortage.

Small builders’ assessment of prospects a critical aspect

The Government can force the issue by using Crown land for subdivisions but, long-term, the country’s thousands of small private sector builders need assurance that prices aren’t going to plummet. That, as we know from experience, destroys small businesses, the country loses experienced tradesmen to Australia and New Zealand goes through the painful task of rebuilding expertise again.

Buyers also need assurance. Like the builders, buyers will have negative equity if prices plummet after they’ve signed up for their purchase.

Alternatively, all other costs rise to meet the already-escalated land & house prices – inflation, but somehow excluding housing. That would include rises in fixed incomes, such as pensions & income derived from interest. Interest rates would have to rise.

Oh, and the banks. They’ve just reported massive profits, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for a house price shakeout.

For all these entrenched & vested interests, a sharp drop in prices would be destructive. A general rise in non-housing costs & prices is possible, alongside a steady housing market. But who’s going to build if house prices don’t rise along with the rest of the economy?

Take a quantum leap

One answer to that question is to do something very different.

First, infill housing – intensification of existing suburbs as townhouses replace standalones – can reduce the heat in the greenfields market. It’s starting to happen, and an increase in available land supply should curb price expectations.

Second, brownfield development can go right to the heart. Those upstairs flats above shopping strips, in recent decades turned over to storage or the occasional office? Modern apartment blocks now have shops at ground level, and you will soon see apartments being developed above shopping centres.

They will need to offer a mix of the small & the family-sized. They will also need to be accompanied by far more town centre amenities. They can come without attached parking – given enough residential development in a centre, more travel can be by public transport and rental vehicles can replace the private car.

Generally, apartment developers wouldn’t expect to build to the same height in the suburbs as they would in the city centre – and generally, stipulated maximum heights would prevent it.

At the moment, only a handful of apartment blocks have been erected in old city centres or suburban centres. I see the increasing development of standalone apartment blocks, with retail at ground, becoming acceptable in suburban centres. And if shopping centres can have housing built on them elsewhere in the world, the same can happen here.

That would lead to 2 fundamental changes in New Zealand urban living:

  • Day & night populations in those centres, bringing a different vitality, and
  • A move to larger apartments to accommodate families (which is also achieved elsewhere in the world).

It could also lead to a further decline in home ownership, the arrival of largescale residential investors, and the growth of residential ownership by small investors. That, in turn, would create new requirements for investment education, and changed pension expectations as pensioners switch from mortgage-free owners to lifelong renters.

All of that is a long way round uncontrolled escalation of fringe land values. It needs to be accompanied by less inflationary population growth; continued advances in public transport systems; and more careful relation of dormitory suburbs to suburban centres, jobs & amenities.

Urbanism expert Solly Angel presents an action plan

New York professor Solly Angel.

For an outside view, New York urbanism specialist Shlomo (Solly) Angel + contributors wrote in the concluding section of a 29-page essay on the new urban peripheries, a shortlist of takes to prepare future urban peripheries: “Emphasis on complex master plans that rely on strong compliance must give way to simpler interventions that can utilise the limited available capacities for making significant changes on the ground.

“Finally, the quality of the urban fabric in new urban peripheries can be enhanced with a simple 4-point action programme:

  1. Estimating the amount of land needed for expansion in the next 30 years, identifying the area needed for expansion, and obtaining planning jurisdiction over the entire area
  2. Preparing an arterial road grid throughout the expansion area
  3. Identifying & securing a hierarchy of public open spaces that need to be protected from development, and
  4. Improving land subdivision practices on the urban periphery.”

Shlomo (Solly) Angel is an adjunct professor at New York University & senior research scholar at the New York University Stern urbanisation project, where he leads the urban expansion initiative. Professor Angel is an expert on urban development policy, having advised the United Nations, the World Bank & and the Inter-American Development Bank.

It sounds fine, except: We are not good at predicting (or acting promptly on our predictions), which is why we have bottlenecks, congestion, land & house price escalation well beyond reasonable.

Local body infrastructure providers in New Zealand have always been wary of developing too much infrastructure ahead of time, in case the economy slumps, needs change, somewhere else becomes more popular – in short, taking away the excitement of unpredictability.

Influences not covered

Others have noted that New Zealand has no capital gains tax or stamp duty, and Auckland uses capital value to set council rates rather than land value.

Seemingly irrational buying by a surge of foreign investors appeared to have the intention of shifting money out of their homeland, mainly China, as quickly as possible rather than being a carefully priced asset investment. That door has closed.

The above is a handful of ideas on how to gradually overcome an imbalance that’s been grown over a quarter century, without sudden destructive impacts.

You may think those ideas are impractical, or you may have better ideas to share. Comments are welcomed.

Pages in this report:
1: Dickens takes aim, but the residential land fix is elusive
2: Things to keep in minds while focusing on fringe land supply
3: Cutting the margin without breaking the market…

Attribution: Rodney Dickens, Solly Angel.

Continue Reading

Valocity makes Fintech finals in Singapore

Auckland-based mortgage valuation software company Valocity Ltd was one of 5 finalists in the global general category and one of 31 overall global finalists at Fintech in Singapore last week.

Valocity founder Carmen Vicelich.

Valocity (originally called DI Data Vault Ltd) is majority-owned by Aucklanders Carmen & Antony Vicelich, with just under 22% shareholder support from Chris Huljich & his son Peter, mostly through Christopher & Banks entities.

The global awards are part of an awards programme run for the last 3 years by the Monetary Authority of Singapore & the Association of Banks in Singapore to recognise innovative financial technology solutions.

The top 3 global places went to Everspin (South Korea), Naffa Innovations (India) & Keychain (Japan).

The finalists were whittled down from 514 submissions for the global Haccelerator & Fintech awards to a list of 210 in October, and then to the shortlist this week.

Valocity’s pitch was that it’s “transforming the mortgage & valuation process all through one smart platform. It combines the best of technology, data & analytics through a modular cloud-based solution. This enables banks to deliver more seamless, transparent & relevant customer experiences, while at the same time managing risk & regulatory compliance”.

Valocity digitises a bank’s credit policy, automates the valuation process and allows seamless data capture & insights throughout the process. The company says 3 of New Zealand’s 5 largest banks are now using it, transforming the mortgage industry.

The Singapore awards event has a heavy weighting to ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations) businesses, with awards on the first 2 days for ASEAN open & small-medium enterprise categories, plus a section for businesses founded by a Singaporean, followed by the global awards.

The judging panels all comprised experts from public & private sectors, including venture capital, accelerators, consultancies & industry associations, and the entries were evaluated on 4 parameters: impact, practicality, interoperability, and uniqueness & creativity.

One other New Zealand entrant, Wellington-based Eight Wire Ltd, made it to the finals and another 10 New Zealand companies participated in Fintech Week events.

Since Valocity’s platform went live in October 2014, the company has opened offices in Australia & India and has supported almost $400 billion of lending decisions. Its solution supports the growing demand for increased regulatory compliance, in conjunction with improved customer experience for a more seamless & transparent mortgage & valuation process.

Company founder Carmen Vicelich also founded Data Insight Ltd in 2012, with the same ethos of leveraging the power of data, technology & smart people to deliver game-changing value & make the complicated simple.

Before setting up these companies, she was a data solutions manager at QV Online for 6 years and account director at Property IQ Ltd for 4 years.

Unleashing NZ companies at Singapore Fintech Week 2018
12 innovative fintech solutions recognised

Attribution: Valocity, Fintech.

Continue Reading

3-way partnership to fund infrastructure for next big subdivision at Wainui

Government support for infrastructure funding ahead of the next big residential development between the Hibiscus Coast & Kumeu is recognition that Auckland Council doesn’t have the capacity to provide the works immediately, for recovery over the longer term.

Image above: Housing developed over the last 5 years below the Millwater Parkway.

Through the immigration explosion of the last 5 years, the council’s debt has risen to be a wafer short of its limit, although the same issues of infrastructure funding have been staring politicians in the face for 2 decades.

The last government chose major roads as its best option for infrastructure funding, and watched on as former mayor Len Brown told Wellington the Auckland council would go it alone in starting the city rail link. The Government later joined in, to become a full partner.

Offroad transport is the greatest apparent need to defuse the congestion steadily bringing Auckland to a more widespread standstill, at all times of the day. But, as the net inflow of migrants into the region remains above 30,000/year, a change in how subdivision preliminary works are funded was equally imperative.

3-way partnership, outlay recouped through targeted rates

Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.

The answer from Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford came on Wednesday, when he & Auckland mayor Phil Goff announced a 3-way partnership to fund $91 million of roading & wastewater infrastructure to support the building of 9000 homes at Wainui, immediately west of the Millwater subdivision rapidly being built out between Silverdale, Orewa & State Highway 1 40km north-east of downtown Auckland.

Along with the council & Government entity Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd, the Government special purpose vehicle (SPV) will have Fulton Hogan Land Development Ltd as the third partner.

Mr Twyford said the Milldale project (an extension beyond Millwater, which began in 2007 with Fulton Hogan as one of the partners) “demonstrates an approach to funding that allows private investment in new infrastructure, with the debt sitting on a balance sheet that is neither the council’s nor the Government’s.

“The Milldale project is an example of the innovative new approaches to financing infrastructure that the Government is developing through the urban growth agenda. This funding model can be used in other high growth areas affected by the housing crisis to help more houses to be built more quickly.

“This could include private investment in infrastructure, funded by a charge on the properties that benefit from the infrastructure.

“This new infrastructure funding model will result in a large number of homes being built much sooner than otherwise would have been the case.

“One of the major roadblocks to our towns & cities growing is the lack of ready access to finance for the infrastructure that allows for new urban growth, for greenfields or brownfields developments.”

Mr Goff said addressing the shortage & unaffordability of houses was a priority: “We’ve zoned much more land for housing, but we need the infrastructure before we can build on it. Using Crown Infrastructure Partners to fund that infrastructure enables us to build roads, water & wastewater services without overburdening the council with debt and exceeding our debt:revenue ratio.

“We can build more homes sooner and tackle the housing crisis quicker than would otherwise have been possible.

“This project enables nearly 4000 new dwellings in Milldale, and the infrastructure can support another 5000 dwellings in the surrounding areas as well. It’s a big step towards meeting Auckland’s housing needs.”

Fulton Hogan Land Development has already started work on Milldale.

Crown Infrastructure Partners has secured long-term fixed-rate debt from the Accident Compensation Corp, and the special purpose vehicle will provide $48.9 million towards the infrastructure, with the Crown contributing less than $4 million.

The council contribution will total $33.5 million.

The SPV funding will be repaid over time, partly by Fulton Hogan Land Development and partly by section owners as an ‘infrastructure payment’ collected as a targeted rate through council rates bills.

Mr Twyford said: “This new model of infrastructure financing means that long-term debt can be raised through the SPV to enable the building of largescale infrastructure, which is needed to step up the rate houses are being built at, and to assist councils which are nearing their debt limits.

“The Milldale development will be a modern, contained urban development with green spaces & parks, a town centre, cycleways & walkways, and potentially education facilities, and will be connected to the northern busway.

The infrastructure includes a new arterial road & bridge connecting Wainui Rd to the State Highway 1 interchange & Dairy Flat Highway at Silverdale, intersection upgrades, a roading extension & bridge to the Highgate Parkway business precinct on the eastern side of the motorway, and wastewater tunnels.

Construction of the wastewater tunnel has started, and the first residential sections will be released in the early new year.

Mr Twyford said the infrastructure funding & financing pillar of the Government’s urban growth agenda would enable responsive infrastructure provision & appropriate cost allocation, including the use of project financing & access to financial capital.

Through this agenda, he said the Government aimed to reform infrastructure funding & financing by:

  • providing a broader range of tools & mechanisms  to enable net beneficial bulk & distribution infrastructure to be funded
  • rebalancing development risk from local authorities to the development sector, and
  • making long-term debt finance available to developers willing to take on the commercial risk, with the debt serviced by revenue from the new properties in a development.

Link: Millwater & Milldale website

Attribution: Ministerial release.

Continue Reading

Studio pushes to new price level in resale as buyers put pressure on other reserves

3 of the 9 apartments auctioned at Ray White City Apartments yesterday – in 96 on Symonds, the Sapphire & Siena Terraces – were sold under the hammer.

Bidding on the studio in 96 on Symonds (pictured above) ended $31,000 above the price the owner paid at auction just 5 months ago. A number of other traders expressed surprise at the $12,056/m² price paid in June, although units smaller than the minimum that can be built these days often command higher price tags for their superior anticipated cashflow. This sale lifts the price/m² to $13,778.

Bidding on 2 units in the leasehold Landings complex beside the old Auckland railway station, and in the Manhattan on Albert St, fell about $20-30,000 short of adjusted reserves yesterday.


Albert St

Manhattan, 105 Albert St, unit 5C:
Features: 80m², 2 bedrooms,
Outgoings: rates $1749/year including gst; body corp levy $5122/year including gst
Income assessment: $560/week, fixed unril 12 December
Outcome: passed in at $571,000
Agents: Ron Yang & Adam Gurr

Learning Quarter

96 on Symonds, 96 Symonds St, unit 1004:
Features: 18m² refurbished studio
Outgoings: rates $975/year including gst; body corp levy $2453/year including gst
Income assessment: $370-390/week
Outcome: bought for $217,000 at auction in June, passed in at $248,000
Agents: Dominic Worthington & Ady Huang

Sapphire, 76 Wakefield St, unit 810:
Features: 53m² + 6m² balcony, 2 bedrooms,
Outgoings: rates $1478/year including gst; body corp levy $4061/year including gst after 10% prompt payment discount
Income assessment: $500/week
Outcome: sold at pre-auction offer of $485,000
Agent: Lucia Gao

Quay Park

The Landings, 8 Ronayne St, unit 810:
Features: 71m², 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, parking space; building has new code compliance certificate after remediation
Outgoings: rates $1633/year including gst; body corp levy $5548/year opex including gst, ground rent $7976/year
Income assessment: $680/week, fixed until March 2019
Outcome: passed in at $270,000
Agents: Dominic Worthington & Ady Huang

The Landings, 10 Ronayne St, unit 415:
Features: 47m² + 8m² balcony, 2 bedrooms, parking space
Outgoings: rates $1323/year including gst; body corp levy $3118/year opex including gst, ground rent $4482/year
Income assessment: $500/week, fixed until August 2019
Outcome: passed in at $204,000
Agents: Mitch Agnew & Ryan Bridgman


SkyView, 7 Scotia Place, unit 8C:
Features: 71m², new 2 bedrooms, parking space
Outgoings: rates $1904/year including gst; estimated body corp levy $4399/year including gst
Income assessment: $750-800/week furnished
Outcome: passed in at $600,000
Agents: May Ma & Mark Li

Bianco off Queen, 2 White St, unit 12B:
Features: 57m², one bedroom, under hotel management, building has remediation issues
Outgoings: rates $6571/year including gst; body corp levy $2216/year opex including gst + special levy $5192
Income assessment: $800/week
Outcome: passed in on sole bid of $60,000
Agents: Ron Yang & Adam Gurr

Victoria Quarter

Altitude, 34 Kingston St, unit 5L:
Features: 27m², one bedroom
Outgoings: rates $1013/year including gst; body corp levy to be confirmed
Income assessment: $340/week
Outcome: passed in at $205,000
Agent: Damian Piggin

Ascent, 149 Nelson St, unit 303:
Features: one bedroom
Outcome: withdrawn from auction
Agent: Damian Piggin

Isthmus west

Grey Lynn

Siena Terraces, 6 Burgoyne St, unit 2N:
Features: 51m², one bedroom, balcony, tandem parking spaces
Outgoings: rates $1321/year including gst; body corp levy $3769/year including gst
Outcome: sold for $490,000
Agents: Judi & Michelle Yurak

Attribution: Auction.

Continue Reading

Henderson adult store & Onehunga warehouse passed in

Both commercial properties auctioned at Barfoot & Thompson yesterday were passed in.

Isthmus east


38 Angle St, unit 1:
Features: vacant 295m² high stud warehouse unit, 4 parking spaces, seismic rating 105% new building standard
Outcome: passed in
Agents: Nick Wilson & James Marshall



253 Lincoln Rd, unit D:
Features: 100m² Peaches & Cream adult shop, seismic rating 100% new building standard
Rent: $36,409/year net + gst + outgoings, leased renewed for 3 years from April, 2 more 3-year renewal rights to 2027
Outcome: no bid
Agent: Chris Park

Attribution: Auction documents.

Continue Reading

11 South Island commercial sales

Bayleys agents have sold 11 commercial properties around the South Island, from Nelson to Queenstown but mostly around Christchurch. They include 2 development sites in Selwyn District Council’s Izone business park and one in the Northfield business park in Papanui (pictured above).

South Island




6E Sir William Pickering Drive:
Features: 141m² modern office unit; 2 tenants, one on 3-year lease, the other on 2-year lease, both with rights of renewal
Rent: $30,100/year net + gst
Outcome: sold for $430,000 at a 7% yield
Agent: George Phillips


Carlton Mews, 21C Bealey Avenue:
Features: 92m² ground-floor retail space, insurance payout to be transferred to buyer on settlement
Outcome: sold for $525,000 with vacant possession
Agent: George Phillips


Northfield business park, 62 Langdons Rd:
Features: 1250m² site, 434m² 2-level office building leased to 3 tenants on 3-, 5- & 6-year terms, 17 parking spaces
Outcome: sold for $2.55 million at a 6.06% yield
Rent: $154,424/year net + gst
Agents: Murray Madgwick & Greg Bevin


245 Blenheim Rd, unit 3:
Features: 239.5m² industrial unit
Outcome: sold with vacant possession for $600,000
Agent: Nick O’Styke


13 George Holmes Rd:
Features: 3001m² business-zoned landholding
Outcome: sold for $500,000 at $167/m²
Agent: Nick O’Styke

Izone business park, 12 Detroit Drive:
Features: 4230m² site
Outcome: sold to a developer for $655,600 at $155/m²
Agents: Stewart & Alex White

Izone business park, 14 John Morten Place:
Features: 2547m² industrial site
Outcome: sold for $446,000 at $175/m²
Agent: Nick O’Styke

North Canterbury


16 & 753 Ashworths Rd:
Features: 24.62ha corner site on State Highway 1, various buildings including a café, rented house, cabin & sheds, plus mini-golfcourse, climbing tower & various other assault course structures
Outcome: sold for $1.3 million
Agents: Stewart White & Chris Frank


170B Williams St:
Features: 102m² retail space, 29m² verandah, seismic assessment 67% of new building standard; AMI Insurance Ltd will vacate the building next April
Rent: $31,360/year net + gst
Outcome: sold for $370,000 at an 8.48% yield
Agents: Stewart & Alex White



150 Glenda Drive:
Features: 400m² industrial site, 150m² 3-bay shed
Outcome: sold vacant for $790,000
Agent: Steven Kirk


203-207 Trafalgar St:
Features: 218mcentral business district site, 400m2 building
Outcome: sold with vacant possession for $905,000
Agent: Doug McKee

Attribution: Agency release.

Continue Reading

Kohi townhouse sells at auction

A large Kohimarama townhouse (pictured), one back from Tamaki Drive, sold at Bayleys’ Remuera branch auction today, but the only bid for a Parnell studio was from the vendor and a unit in the new St Marks apartment block in Remuera attracted no bid.

Isthmus east

Eastern bays – Kohimarama

20A Eltham Rd:
Features: 259m² site, 229m² floor area, 3-level 3-bedroom townhouse, 2 living rooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 parking spaces, balcony, patio, roof garden, self-contained living at entry level giving guests independence
Outgoings: rates $5239/year including gst; no body corp fees
Outcome: sold for $2.715 million
Agents: Gary & Vicki Wallace


258 Parnell Rd, unit 43:
Features: studio, parking space
Outcome: passed in after sole bid from vendor at $550,000
Agent: Trisha Vincent

10 Ruskin St, unit 3C:
Features: 2-level penthouse, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, balconies, 2 basement parking spaces
Outcome: auction postponed
Agent: Jiali Liu


St Marks, 10 St Marks Rd, unit MAC 101:
Features: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2.9m stud, 2 basement parking spaces
Outcome: no bid
Agents: Karen Spires & Trisha Vincent

Attribution: Auction documents.

Continue Reading

Argosy sells in Hastings & Palmerston North, buys Turners site

Argosy Property Ltd has sold 2 properties in Hastings & Palmerston North, reducing assets outside its core Auckland & Wellington markets to 3, and it’s added an industrial yard in Wiri (outlined in picture above) to the Auckland portfolio.


  • Hastings, 1478 Omahu Rd, sold for $10.2 million, a 12% premium over book value, settlement scheduled for March 2019
  • Palmerston North, 31 El Prado Drive, sold for $35.5 million, a 25% premium over book value, settlement scheduled for December
  • Wiri, 133 Roscommon Rd, 15,838m² industrial yard leased to NZX-listed Turners Automotive Group Ltd, acquired in September for $8.6 million; the 15-year lease provides a holding return of $430,000/year net + gst (5% yield) with fixed reviews of 2.5%/year and a market review in year 6.

Argosy chief executive Peter Mence said of the Turners deal: “We are pleased to have commenced what we envisage to be a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with an organisation that has a significant real estate footprint across New Zealand.”

Turners uses this property to store damaged & end-of-life cars. It also owns a large site at 160 Roscommon Rd, used for trucks & machinery.

Attribution: Argosy release.

Continue Reading