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Residential development blocks for sale set to underpin Auckland’s house-building momentum

Three sites around Auckland have come onto the market simultaneously – bringing with them the combined capacity to accommodate approximately 118 new dwellings in a variety of configurations.

The trio of bare land holdings spans the city’s northern, eastern, and southern boundaries, offering residential development opportunities at:

• The final two stages of a large-scale residential development at Warkworth just north of the city – encompassing 3.2 hectares of land in two titles

• A 5,374-square metre block of near-level land with a 93-square metre frontage onto Botany Road in the East Auckland suburb of Botany and

• Some 23,725-square metres of residential-zoned land with two street frontages in the semi-rural township Pukekohe just south of Auckland.

Warkworth, Botany and Pukekohe are all identified as future residential growth areas in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) report published last year – which outlines $28billion worth of transport infrastructure development plans for the city and greater Auckland Isthmus over the coming decade. Auckland Transport Alignment Project is a joint entity bringing together multiple Government agencies – including the ministries for Transport, Treasury and Kiwirail – and Auckland Council.

All three development sites are being marketed for sale by Bayleys Real Estate in separate campaigns. National director of commercial and industrial property at Bayleys Real Estate, Ryan Johnson, said the residential development blocks now coming up for sale reflected an evolutionary phase in the city’s property cycle.

“While three or four years ago we were seeing expansive landholding swathes of say 10 hectares with residential development potential coming onto the market – and we’re talking sites suitable for subdivision into hundreds of sections – that stock is now rarer to find, and we are instead seeing much smaller landholdings becoming the norm,” he said.

“Consequently, the smaller development sites now being marketed for sale are delivering up opportunities which are more appealing to a wider target buyer market, suited to taking on ‘bite-size’ projects as opposed to the bigger corporate-sized home-building companies involved in the likes of Hobsonville Point, Millwater, Ramarama/Drury, and Flat Bush.

“And with the numerous substantial KiwiBuild locations now identified across Auckland and in the pipeline for construction, attention is returning to more traditional, and smaller, residential development opportunities,” Mr Johnson said.

“These smaller sites are also a lot more palatable for bank funding too in light of the tighter lending restrictions now in place. Smaller residential development blocks generally equate to a lower risk profile, and banks feel a lot more comfortable lending several million dollars for a project which is relatively straightforward to consent and sell down than they do lending tens of millions of dollars to a ‘from scratch’ project.”

The two adjacent Warkworth sites for sale have the potential to accommodate up to 83 residential dwellings when fully developed. Located at John Andrew Drive and Anne Burton Drive in the town’s McKinney Valley, the blocks encompass:

• Stage 3 which has resource consent for 25 single homes sections averaging 600-square metres each and

• Stage 4 which has as-yet unconsented plans for the creation of 58 terraced housing sites averaging 350-square metres.

The blocks are being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Warkworth, with tenders closing at 4pm on May 16. Salespeople Henry Napier and Dylan Turner said the plots could be tendered for individually, or together, and would include the civil works feasibility study and subdivision application plans prepared for Stage 4.

To the south of the city, a 23,725-square metre block of land at 92 Anzac Road in Pukekohe is being sold with concept plans for the development of 20 standalone residential sections.

The site is being marketed for sale at auction at 11am on May 15 through Bayleys Pukekohe. Salespeople Shane Snijder, Piyush Kumar and Ginny Cheyne said that in addition to the Anzac Road entrance, when subdivided, homes would also be accessible off Upper Queen Street.

Rounding out the trio of future residential developments is a 5,374-square metre bare site at 179 Botany Road in Botany – with the potential to sustain some 15 standalone sections.

The freehold site which has a 93-metre frontage onto Botany Road is being marketed for sale at auction at 11am on May 15 through Bayleys Manukau. Salespeople Dave Stanley and Harry Cheng said that as one of the last remaining greenfield development plots in the area, the land was already encircled by a well-established residential neighbourhood.

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project report acknowledged that working in conjunction with residential property developers - such as those who would go on to own the three sites being offered for sale - was core to making Auckland suburbs and satellite townships appealing destinations to live in.

“Over the next decade, around 32,000 new homes housing up to 100,000 people are expected to be built in major greenfield growth areas to the north, north-west and south (of Auckland). Significant investment in transport infrastructure will be needed to enable this growth,” said the report.

“The ATAP package has been developed by assessing possible land-used responses to investment in rapid transit corridors. Rapid transit needs land-use policies which unlock growth around transit corridors.

“The transport challenge (for Auckland) is not just one of congestion, but also enabling and supporting a rapid acceleration in the rate of housing construction.”

For Botany, the ATAP report spotlights the importance of pushing ahead with the Eastern Busway linking the suburb to Panmure with its rail connections to the CBD.

“The provision of an urban busway that allows buses to avoid congestion will improve travel times, reliability and corridor throughput along Ti Rakau Drive. The busway also provides an excellent opportunity to unlock significant growth potential… particularly at Botany,” said the ATAP report.

For Pukekohe, the ATAP whitepaper identifies the southern extension of the city’s electric rail network upgrade as key to reducing travel times and increasing the frequency of trains for stations between Pukekohe and Britomart.

“These upgrades should focus on enabling rail to play a much greater role in meeting the current and future travel needs of the south, where substantial greenfield growth is planned, and where public transport use has been historically low,” said the report.

For Warkworth, the State Highway One Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension is pinpointed in the ATAP research as crucial to improving both the route’s reliability and safety.

Mr Johnson said it was encouraging to see the joint Auckland Council/Government body officially working in tandem with the residential property sector as new home dwelling development sites continued to be opened up across the isthmus.

“It’s one thing to have new homes built in locations such as Warkworth, Botany and Pukekohe, but it’s another to deliver the cornerstone social infrastructure which residents in those locations need to thrive. The ATAP report does that – underpinning the viability of land intensification opportunities becoming available in the many locations where transport network growth will be occurring in the short to medium-term,” he said.

A 2015 Auckland housing market report – compiled by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment – supported ATAP’s analysis of growth around the city’s edges, highlighting that: “Until 2003, about 66 percent of each year’s new dwellings (in Auckland) were located in established urban areas. Since then that share has declined to 51 percent. The fastest growth over the last three years (pre-2015) has occurred in the urban periphery.”

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