Auckland mayor Len Brown said on Friday he expected apartments & terrace houses to comprise 50% of consents for new homes in the region by the end of this year.
That would set Auckland well on its way to meeting intensification targets written into the council’s overarching Auckland Plan, which proposed a 70:40 split between development in established areas & greenfields, with a 10% margin for excess greenfields housing.
Mr Brown was talking before turning the first sod to start construction for the 60-unit Brickworks apartment & townhouse block at Hobsonville Point, which passed 60% sold when the 37th contract was signed shortly before the mayor spoke. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2015.
Mr Brown said 2014 would be a bumper year for building consents in Auckland, with approvals for about 7000 new homes expected in the June 2014 year, twice the total for the June 2012 year: “It’s clear that we are entering a growth phase for Auckland home building. Over the next few years Aucklanders will see a lot more building activity across the region, with a good mix of apartments, terraced houses & standalone houses.
“This boost in residential construction has been helped by strong economic growth, greater certainty for developers and improvements to the council’s consenting processes.
“I have been really impressed by the work of our consenting teams. Although volumes are much higher than previous years, the building & resource consent teams have continued to perform at 95%, at least, of consents processed within statutory timeframes.”
- More than 6300 building consents were granted last year in Auckland, up 38% on the previous year & double the year before
- Resource consents (distinct from building consents for individual homes) continue to increase – up from 12,000 in 2011-12, 13,000 in 2012-13 and, at the current growth rate, expected to top 14,000 in 2013-14
- The resource consents issued will result in a significant increase in new dwellings being built – more than 20,000 new lots have been approved as part of resource consents issued in the last 6 months
- Apartments are becoming a larger proportion of new homes – in December alone in Auckland, consents were granted for 397 new apartments, and over the last 6 months consents for 1918 new apartments were granted.
Hobsonville Point has been highly successful as a compact development – smaller sections for standalone homes, and now an outer-suburban apartment & townhouse development round a quadrangle, one side with a row of apartments above 2-level townhouses, 4 & 5 levels on the other sides.
Tasman Cook Ltd’s release of 1-3-bedroom units of 40-90m² was priced at $349-499,000. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2015. Over the whole first stage of the 167ha Hobsonville Point, the Buckley precinct, the Housing NZ Corp-owned developer, Hobsonville Land Co Ltd, has had 300 homes built in the first 2 years and now has capacity to build 250-300/year.
“We’re going at a pace now which I call optimum,” Hobsonville Land commercial manager Mark Fraser said. “We’re releasing enough product for our 5 building partners.”
The Brickworks project will have cafes, a medical centre & convenience retail in 13 shops around the ground floor and is across the road from the subdivision’s new secondary school, amenities guaranteed to increase interest in the residential units, but Hobsonville Land chief executive Chris Aiken believes the restyling of apartments was an important factor: “Part of the reluctance with the apartment model was the ‘egg crate’ model. This is 4 buildings, spreading from 3 storeys to 5 and containing what we call hidden density – the 2-level townhouses with apartments on top, adding homes without the feeling of being dominated. That’s a great concept for the Auckland market.
“This is done in Vancouver & London, but we haven’t seen it here. The high point of Brickworks is across the road from the school, and also across from a park.”
Apart from care about how passing pedestrians might view developments, Mr Fraser sustainability was built into everything done at Hobsonville Point: “Homes here use about 30% less energy & water than the Auckland average, and we’re getting good reports on the community value of it.
“We’re putting the infrastructure in early – the development community often fails to do that. It allows us to do something like Brickworks, which is a little different in the Auckland context but shows Auckland is maturing.”
The mayor wasn’t surprised at the rapid signup for Brickworks, because he believed Auckland was starting on a significant transformation toward providing more choices. It was a stark contrast to 1965, when his family moved into Otara. That new suburb had no infrastructure ready for the new arrivals.
AV Jennings Ltd project director Rod Chadwick confirmed the change in approach: “Brickworks is a key component of the overall vision for Hobsonville Point, which is about providing a variety of dwelling styles. In developing the Buckley precinct, the bottom line for us is that the quality of your new home & the community environment is not compromised, no matter what the price is.”
Brickworks takes its name from the pipe & brick manufacturing industry established at Limeburners Bay at Hobsonville in the 1850s, which went on to become the original site of the Crown Lynn pottery business.
In top photo: Tasman Cook director Leonard Ross, AV Jennings project director Rod Chadwick, mayor Len Brown, Hobsonville Point’s commercial manager Mark Fraser & chief executive Chris Aiken, standing behind the Brickworks model at Friday’s sod-turning.