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Microsoft throws $US500 million at Seattle unaffordability, and mayors vow to cut red tape

Tech giant Microsoft Inc said last Wednesday it would throw $US500 million at reducing housing unaffordability around its hometown of Seattle, and mayors around the region listed ways they’d make development easier.

In short, Microsoft president Brad Smith & chief financial officer Amy Hood said in their corporate blog, too few houses had been built to meet Seattle’s growth: “Since 2011, jobs in the region have grown 21%, while growth in housing construction has lagged at 13%.This gap in available housing has caused housing prices to surge 96% in the past 8 years, making the Greater Seattle area the 6th most expensive region in the US.”

[According to the Demographia survey of affordability out today, Seattle’s median multiple – median house price divided by median household income – was 5.6 in 2018, compared to Auckland’s 9.0.]

“Median income in the region hasn’t kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making it impossible for lower- & middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work.”

The Microsoft duo said the company had worked with housing statistics business Zillow and the Boston Consulting Group & Challenge Seattle to learn more about best practices. They said the gap between job growth & housing growth had been even greater in the suburban cities around Seattle than in Seattle itself.

“We’ll put this money to work with loans & grants to accelerate the construction of more affordable housing across the region. We will invest:

  • $US225 million at lower-than-market rate returns to inject capital to subsidise the preservation & construction of middle-income housing. These investments initially will be made in 6 cities east of Seattle & Lake Washington: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton & Sammamish
  • $US250 million at market-rate returns to support low-income housing across the entire King County region, and
  • $US25 million in philanthropic grants to address homelessness in the greater Seattle region.

The Microsoft duo added: “We believe the state government has an important role to play as well. In the state legislative session that began this week, we’ll encourage the legislature to support the private sector by making additional housing investments and through policy changes to preserve & develop affordable housing.

“These recommendations include a $US200 million appropriation to the Housing Trust Fund to expand support for very-low-income individuals & families, which would almost double the investment from the last budget cycle. In addition, we will support condominium liability reforms, extending the multifamily tax exemption (MFTE), and new incentives for local communities to enact more efficient land use policies.”

The mayors’ support list

9 mayors in King County, representing communities outside Seattle, issued a statement in support: “To address this problem, we intend to do our part to break down barriers and provide incentives to substantially increase the supply of quality housing for all households in our community. We will consider opportunities to advance housing affordability in the region, including but not limited to:

  1. Making available at no cost, at deep discount, or for long-term lease, under-utilised publicly owned properties
  2. Updating zoning & land use regulations to increase density near current & planned public transit
  3. Reducing or waiving parking requirements in transit corridors to help reduce overall development costs
  4. Reducing or waiving impact & other development-related fees
  5. Streamlining & accelerating the permitting process for low- & middle-income housing projects to improve developer certainty
  6. Providing tax exemptions & credits to incent low- & middle-income housing development, and
  7. Updating building codes to promote more housing growth & innovative, low-cost development.

“We believe that these efforts, combined with the support of the greater community, will make our region more affordable for all households and will advance quality of life throughout the region.”

Link:
Microsoft blog, 16 January 2019: Ensuring a healthy community: the need for affordable housing

Attribution: Company release.

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Auckland & Tauranga rank among internationally least affordable again in Demographia housing survey

Auckland has again ranked among the least affordable cities internationally in Demographia’s annual international housing affordability survey, out today, but Tauranga again beats it to take the rap as least affordable of the 8 New Zealand centres in the survey.

7 of the New Zealand centres grew less affordable – Christchurch was unchanged.

Auckland’s median multiple was 9.0 at the survey date of September 2018, compared to 3.9 for the whole of the US, 4.3 in Canada, 4.6 in Singapore and 4.8 in Ireland & the UK. The 5 major markets of Australia averaged out at 6.9 and Hong Kong was on 20.9.

The median multiple Demographia authors Wendell Cox (US) & Hugh Pavletich (NZ) use for their survey of middle-income housing affordability is the median house price divided by the median household income.

The authors wrote that prices in some of the most unaffordable markets had moderated, prices had stabilised in some and declined in others, but none of the price declines had been sufficient to materially improve housing affordability: “These developments could, in the long run, simply be further indication of the price volatility exhibited associated with stronger land use regulation.”

Demographia ranked 29 major markets as severely unaffordable, including Auckland, all 5 in Australia, 13 of the 55 in the US, 2 of 6 in Canada & 7 of the 21 in the UK.

9 major housing markets, all in the US, were ranked as affordable.

I’ve had malware issues this morning in accessing the Demographia website, leaving you with this one table.

New Zealand markets with median multiple (2017 in brackets), median price, median household income and their rankings – international affordability, major market ranking (Auckland only) and NZ ranking:

Auckland: 9.0 (8.8), $845,000 ($836,700), $94,400 ($94,800); rankings 301 (281), 85 (84), 7 (7)
Christchurch: 5.4 (5.4), $447,000 ($448,300), $83,300 ($83,700), 240 (226=), 2 (2=)
Dunedin: 6.1 (5.4), $412,000 ($363,300), $67,100 ($67,400), 264 (226=), 3 (=2)
Hamilton-Waikato: 6.8 (6.5), $551,000 ($530,100), $81,400 ($81,800), 278 (257), 6 (6)
Napier-Hastings: 6.7 (6.1), $449,000 ($409,100), $66,700 ($67,000), 274 (253), 5 (5)
Palmerston North-Manawatu: 5.0 (4.5), $310,000 ($278,000), $61,700 ($62,000), 224 (181), 1 (1)
Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty: 9.1 (8.9), $623,000 ($617,000), $68,800 ($69,100), 302 (282), 8 (8)
Wellington: 6.3 (5.5), $577,000 ($508,700), $91,700 ($92,100), 268 (231), 4 (4)
Median market: 6.5 (5.8)

Link:
Demographia

Earlier stories:
22 January 2018: After 14 years, 3 more years’ income needed to buy same house in Auckland
23 January 2017:
Auckland still near top of Demographia’s international unaffordability table
25 January 2016: Demographia ranks Auckland severely unaffordable

Attribution: Demographia.

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December home sales dive – but medians rise

House sales in December fell to their lowest level for that month in 7 years, the Real Estate Institute said today.

The 5330 sales were down 12.9% from December 2017’s 6117.

Auckland sales for the month were the lowest in 10 years, down 24.3% to 1336 (1765 in December 2017).

Outside Auckland, sales were the lowest December tally in 5 years. The 3994 sales were down 8.2% from December 2017’s 4352.

Sales declined from the previous December in 12 of the institute’s 16 regions.

The institute’s response was to try convincing vendors that the market is falling and to drop their asking price to get a sale. Institute chief executive Bindi Norwell said: “With national listing levels down 11.3% in November and 13.3% in December, it’s not entirely surprising that December was a quiet month in terms of sales volumes. However, what we’re hearing is that part of the lower sales volumes can also be attributed to some vendors’ understanding of the value of their home. A realistic approach to market value may help vendors sell their property in a more reasonable timeframe.” 

The median sale price rose in every region and hit a new record in the Bay of Plenty, rising 2% to $610,000 ($598,000).

Median house price, December 2018 (November 2018 & December 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: $862,000, ($860,000 in both November 2018 & December 2017), up 0.2%
National: $560,000 ($579,000, $551,750), down 3.3% from November, up 1.5% from December 2017
NZ ex-Auckland: $480,000 ($485,000, $451,000), down 1.0% from November, up 6.4% from December 2017

Volume sold, December 2018 (November 2018 & December 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 1336 (2133, 1765), down 37.4% from November, down 24.3% from December 2017
National: 5330 (7514, 6117), down 29.1% from November, down 12.9% from December 2017
NZ ex-Auckland: 3994 (5381, 4352), down 25.8% from November, down 8.2% from December 2017

House price index (December 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 2822 (2872), down 1.7%
National: 2740 (2653), up 3.3%
NZ ex-Auckland: 2672 (2473), up 8.0%

Median days to sell (December 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 39 (34)
National: 35 (32)
NZ ex-Auckland: 33 (31)

Auctions (December 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 260, 19.5% of all sales (462, 26.2%)
NZ: 584, 11% of all sales (836, 13.7%)

The breakdown of sales in price brackets and their share of the market (December 2017 in brackets):
$1 million-plus:  687 (852), 12.9% (13.9%)
$750-999,999: 834 (872), 15.6% (14.3%)
$500-749,999: 1596 (1730), 29.9% (28.3%)
Under $500,000: 2213 (2663), 41.5% (43.5%)
Total sales: 5330 (6117)

Median prices & volumes around Auckland on old council boundaries for December 2018 and, in brackets, November 2018 & December 2017:
Auckland region: $862,000 ($860,000, $860,000), 1336 (2133, 1765)
Auckland City: $986,000 ($950,000, $915,000), 414 (704, 605)
Franklin District: $680,000 ($702,000, $710,000), 66 (89, 88)
Manukau City: $830,000 ($835,000, $840,000), 275 (398, 336)
North Shore City: $980,000 ($1,050,000, $1,108,000), 213 (319, 278)
Papakura District: $685,000 ($650,000, $700,000), 52 (97, 68)
Rodney District: $855,000 ($865,000, $812,500), 120 (207, 149)
Waitakere City: $828,000 ($773,000, $780,000), 196 (319, 241)

Attribution: Real Estate Institute.

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It’s a buyer’s market, says Barfoots chief

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson acknowledged last week – on the agency’s latest residential sales figures – that it’s become a buyer’s market.

“The Auckland property market ended the year edging towards its first decline in prices for 10 years,” he said.

His analysis is supported by Quotable Value Ltd’s monthly index release, out today, which showed the Auckland index just positive (by 0.4%) in the 12 months to November, but has slipped to 0.4% negative in the 12 months to December.

“In the past few months the tide has turned towards it becoming a buyers’ market,” Mr Thompson said. “The overriding market sentiment at present is indecision as to the direction the market is heading.

“A range of factors contributed tomarket uncertainty at year end. These included non-New Zealand residents being restricted from buying certain categories of property, the reported major decline of property prices in the major Australian cities, the potential for capital gains to be applied to investment properties in the future and concerns over world economic stability, in part caused by the trade friction between the US & China.

“The sales data for December masks that trend, but it shows up clearly in the year-on-year figures between 2018 & 2017.

“In December, the point was reached where it was vendors that were prepared to meet the market who were achieving a sale while those holding out for their asking price were not.”

Mr Thompson said residential sales rose 8.1% from 2017 to 2018, but the median price fell 0.8% to $836,792 in 2018 – “the first time the median price has fallen below that for the previous year since 2008, the year the impact of the global financial crisis affected house prices.

“The average 12-month sales price for 2018 at $929,910 is up on that for 2017, but by only 0.4%. Earlier in the year it was tracking between 1-2% above 2017’s average price.”

While the focus has moved from constant price rises, Mr Thompson said the standout feature of 2018 for him was in the under-$500,000 price category, where sales rose from an 8.9% share ofthe agency’s total in 2017 to 11.4%: “This increase can be linked directly to the higher number of apartments, terraced housing & townhouses hitting the market, giving first-time buyers & those on limited incomes far better access to property.”

He said the 555 new listings in December were in line with a year earlier, and the 4194 properties on the agency’s books at year end were also similar: “It will ensure that we start the year’s trading with buyers being offered the highest level of choice for 7 years.”

The figures:

Related story today:
Auckland house price chart turns from just-positive in November to just-negative

Attribution: Agency release.

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Auckland house price chart turns from just-positive in November to just-negative

Quotable Value Ltd’s monthly chart of house price movements, out today, shows Auckland going from a just-positive 0.4% shift over the 12 months to November, to a just-negative 0.4% shift for the December year.

Nationally, the picture remains more positive than in Auckland, as it has been for the 2 years since the Auckland charts stalled (with the exception of the southern suburbs on the isthmus & the north-west of old Manukau – QV still works on the local government boundaries abandoned in 2010).

QV’s average residential value for the Auckland region in December 2018 was $1,048,145. Back one year it was $1,050,647. Back 2 years it was $1,047,179.

In the north of the region, prices in Rodney, and the more rural north of Rodney, have held up, while pricing on the Hibiscus Coast remains weak, declining in the last 3 months. That weakness is also apparent on the North Shore (but not North Harbour) & the isthmus, but not the Hauraki Gulf islands (on the usual thin results). Prices in the south of the region have stayed positive over both 3 & 12 months.

Outside Auckland, the catchup continues – Dunedin’s QV index has risen 11.2% over 12 months, Invercargill’s 11.6%, Gisborne’s 10.7% and, on the northern border, Kaipara’s has risen 10.8% (on low numbers, as usual).

Nick Goodall, head of research for CoreLogic NZ Ltd, which contributes analysis for the QV reports, said: “Responsible bank lending standards remain and have been a defining factor of the property market in 2018. However, solid market foundations also continue, both of which shape our outlook for the market to perform similarly to last year.

“These foundations include low mortgage interest rates and a relaxation of loan:value ratio (LVR) rules for both owner-occupiers & investors, still-high (albeit slowing) population growth, a strong labour market & a remaining deficit of new properties being built, despite very encouraging consent figures.

“Counteracting these factors are proposed tax changes for investment property, potentially an increased requirement for banks to hold greater capital against their loans, and the elimination of foreign buyers in the New Zealand property market.

“These all contribute to our expectation of growth rates remaining constrained, while not necessarily doing enough to see values drop.”

“In Auckland in particular, there’s still a deficit of supply from years of under-building, which is likely to guard against a significant drop in values, given still-strong population growth.

“The lending environment will remain another key market fundamental. We’ve just seen a loosening of the LVR restrictions and, with interest rates likely to stay low, certainly in the short term, we’re in a relatively accommodating position, which will allow for a continuation of modest property growth.”

Below, the dollar figure is the average value for December. The first percentage is for the 3 months to December, the second is for the last 12 months (QV switches those around in its tables) and the third is the change since the 2007 peak. For Auckland, QV still works on the old council boundaries (councils marked in bold); Kaipara & the Hauraki Gulf Islands, as usual, have low counts:

Auckland region: $1,048,145, 0.1%, -0.4%, 92.4%
Total NZ: $682,938, 1.2%, 3.2%, 65.1%

The Auckland region:
Rodney: $950,940, 0.1%, 1.1%, 62.1%
North: $973,800, 0.6%, 1.3%, 62.1%
Hibiscus Coast: $929,006, -0.4%, 0.8%, 58.2%
North Shore: $1,212,664, -0.3%, -1.1%, 87.9%
Coastal: $1,383,491, -0.4%, -1.6%, 83.6%
Onewa: $969,252, -1.1%, -1.3%, 95.4%
North Harbour: $1,194,389, 1.0%, 0.2%, 96.6%
Waitakere: $822,906, -0.2%, -0.2%, 94.1%
Auckland City: $1,233,311, -0.1%, -1.0%, 98.1%
Central: $1,082,656, 1.1%, -0.2%, 90.1%
East: $1,547,702, -1.1%, -1.7%, 94.2%
South: $1,095,532, -0.4%, -0.5%, 103.5%
Islands: $1,166,500, 6.5%, 0.5%, 82.5%
Manukau: $906,658, 0.9%, 1.2%, 98.1%
East: $1,156,353, 0.3%, 0.5%, 94.0%
Central: $707,726, 1.2%, 1.7%, 88.3%
North-west: $784,662, 1.3%, 2.0%, 112.4%
Papakura: $701,230, 0.2%, 0.6%, 94.9%
Franklin: $673,679, 0.5%, 1.1%, 70.3%

On the borders & down country:
Whangarei: $563,201, 5.3%, 12.8%, 42.1%
Kaipara: $550,378, 1.3%, 10.8%, 38.7%
Waikato: $486,980, 1.8%, 6.0%, 60.9%
Hamilton: $570,886, -0.2%, 5.0%, 57.9%
Tauranga: $720,645, 1.6%, 3.9%, 49.7%
Gisborne: $324,691, -0.2%, 10.7%, 9.2%
Wellington region: $688,074, 3.2%, 7.8%, 51.0%
Christchurch: $496,562, 0.5%, 0.6%, 30.9%
Queenstown-Lakes: $1,193,225, 2.0%, 7.3%, 73.5%
Dunedin: $434,903, 3.5%, 11.2%, 51.9%
Invercargill: $286,275, 3.2%, 11.6%, 29.8%.

Attribution: QV & CoreLogic releases.

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Auckland residential activity stagnates as rises continue elsewhere

Real Estate Institute figures out on Friday show residential sales in Auckland rose slightly from October to November, and the $2500 rise in median price was next to a standstill. The November median was lower than a year ago.

Outside Auckland, the rise in number of sales was stronger in a month than it was compared to a year ago, but the median price gain in a month was small, versus a 7.8% gain from a year ago.

In short, a mixed picture.

For Auckland, it equates broadly to stagnation – volume marginally up, time to sell longer, price index down, the monthly median up from October in 4 areas and down in 3 (the institute still counts according to the pre-November 2010 council boundaries).

Median house price, November 2018 (October 2018 & November 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: $867,000 ($864,500, $880,000), up 0.3% from October, down 1.5% from November 2017
National: $575,000 ($561,000, $540,000), up 2.5% from October, up 6.5% from November 2017
NZ ex-Auckland: $485,000 ($478,500, $450,000), up 1.4% from October, up 7.8% from November 2017

The November median sale price was a record in 6 regions (November 2017 median in brackets):
Northland: $515,000 ($425,000), up 21.2%
Waikato: $529,000 ($490,000), up 8.0%
Hawke’s Bay: $470,000 ($420,000), up 11.9%
Wellington: $613,000 ($550,000), up 11.5%
Tasman: $645,000 ($541,000), up 19.2%
Southland: $275,000 ($265,000), up 3.8%

Volume sold, November 2018 year (October 2018 & November 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 2039 (2019, 1963), up 1.0% from October, 3.9% from November 2017
National: 7286 (7052, 7102), up 3.3% from October, up 2.6% from November 2017
NZ ex-Auckland: 5247 (5033, 5139), up 4.3% from October, up 2.1% from November 2017

House price index (November 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 2873 (2891), down 0.6%
NZ ex-Auckland: 2663 (2476), up 7.6%
National: 2758 (2664), up 3.5%

Median days to sell (November 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 37 (35)
NZ ex-Auckland: 34 (32)
National: 35 (33)

Auctions (November 2017 in brackets):
Auckland: 524 (653), 25.7% (33.3%)
NZ: 1112 (1235), 14.7% (14.9%)

The institute said this was the first time the under-$500,000 share had fallen below 40%.

The breakdown of sales in price brackets and their share of the market (November 2017 in brackets):
$1 million-plus: 1072 (1061), 14.7% (14.9%)
$750-999,999:  1130 (927), 15.5% (13.1%)
$500-749,999:  2201 (1957), 30.2% (27.6%)
Under $500,000: 2883 (3157), 39.6% (44.5%)
Total sales: 7286 (7102)

Median prices & volumes around Auckland on old council boundaries for November 2018 and, in brackets, October 2018 & November 2017:
Auckland region: $867,000 ($864,500, $880,000), 2039 (2019, 1963)
Auckland City: $999,000 ($959,000, $960,000), 642 (658, 714)
Franklin District: $700,000 ($638,500, $629,000), 90 (78, 76)
Manukau City: $842,000 ($830,000, $860,000), 390 (400, 351)
North Shore City: $1,041,000 ($1,000,000, $1,064,500), 313 (325, 309)
Papakura District: $650,000 ($675,000, $655,000), 91 (86, 96)
Rodney District: $854,000 ($870,000, $960,000), 200 (159, 175)
Waitakere City: $772,500 ($825,000, $750,000), 313 (313, 242)

Attribution: Real Estate Institute.

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Auckland house values at standstill, catchup continues strongly elsewhere

Auckland house values remained at a standstill in the 3 months to October, while the catchup being played out around the rest of the country was strong in several centres, according to Quotable Value Ltd’s monthly update.

Averaged over the whole region, Auckland’s value growth rate for the 3 months was 0.1% – up in 4 of the pre-2010 council areas, down in 3, but none of those moves by very much.

Places where housing inflation wasn’t rampant for the 9 years from December 2007 – starting with the trough during the global financial crisis and much slower climb out of that than occurred in Auckland – included Gisborne, still up on the QV count by only 8.9% since 2007, Whangarei up 42.1%, Invercargill up 28.2% and Dunedin up 50.8%.

Those cities’ most recent rolling 3-monthly gains are 1.5% in Gisborne, 6% in Whangarei, 3.6% in Invercargill, 3.8% in Dunedin.

On Auckland’s borders, Kaipara has risen 2.3% over the last 3 months and 11.5% over the last year, while Waikato has gained 1.7% in 3 months, 5.3% over the year.

Below, the dollar figure is the average value for October. The first percentage is for the 3 months to October, the second is for the last 12 months (QV switches those around in its tables) and the third is the change since the 2007 peak. For Auckland, QV still works on the old council boundaries (councils marked in bold); Kaipara & the Hauraki Gulf Islands, as usual, have low counts:

Auckland region, $1,050,647, 0.1%, 0.4%, 92.9%
Rodney, $943,053, -0.7%, 0.8%, 60.8%
North, $965,739, -0.1%, 0.6%, 56.9%
Hibiscus Coast, $921,316, -1.3%, 0.6%, 56.9%
North Shore, $1,215,601, 0.1%, 0.2%, 88.4%
Coastal, $1,381,946, -0.5%, 0.1%, 83.4%
Onewa, $979,159, 0.9%, 0.5%, 97.4%
North Harbour, $1,194, 0.9%, 0.3%, 96.6%
Waitakere, $826,280, 0.6%, 0.6%, 94.9%
Auckland City, $1,239,592, -0.1%, -0.2%, 99.1%
Central, $1,090,427, 2.3%, 0.4%, 91.5%
East, $1,558,780, -0.1%, -0.7%, 95.6%
South, $1,097,192, -0.9%, 0.3%, 103.8%
Islands, $1,171,450, -1.1%, 1.4%, 83.2%
Manukau, $906,928, 0.9%, 1.7%, 98.1%
East, $1,159,206, 0.9%, 1.3%, 94.5%
Central, $706,492, 0.9%, 2.8%, 87.9%
North-west, $783,961, 0.8%, 1.8%, 112.2%
Papakura, $698,825, -0.6%, 1.0%, 94.2%
Franklin, $671,732, 0.4%, 1.8%, 69.8%

Northern border, down country & nationally:

Whangarei, $563,312, 6.0%,12.7%, 42.1%
Kaipara, $548,740, 2.3%,11.5%, 38.3%
Waikato, $484,170, 1.7%,5.3%, 59.9%
Hamilton, $565,859, 1.2%,4.0%, 56.5%
Tauranga, $713,859, 1.2%,3.9%, 48.3%
Gisborne, $323,702, 1.5%,11.3%, 8.9%
Wellington region, $685,387, 4.0%, 8.1%,50.5%
Christchurch, $495,742, 0.3%,0.4%, 30.7%
Queenstown-Lakes, $1,174,167, 1.1%,6.2%, 70.7%
Dunedin, $431,665, 3.8%,11.7%, 50.8%
Invercargill, $282,705, 3.6%,12.2%, 28.2%
Total NZ, $681,545, 1.3%, 3.5%, 64.8%

Attribution: QV.

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300ha Paerata Rise subdivision opens first homes

Paerata Rise, the 300ha urban development on Wesley College’s farmland between Karaka & Pukekohe, opened its doors to the public on Saturday.

The subdivision was approved as a special housing area in 2015, with plans for up to 5000 homes in 10 stages (now reduced to 4500 homes).

75 of 86 sections in stage 1 have unconditional buyers and are with builders. Earthworks for stage 2A have been completed and 54 titles are expected to be issued in August 2019.

Owned by the Wesley College Trust Board & Grafton Downs Ltd, the development will feature a train station & transport hub, a relocated Wesley College, and a primary school which will be complete by 2021.

10 new show homes on Jonah Lomu Drive have been opened.

Also opening was the Rise ‘n Shine café, made from shipping containers that had been part of the Christchurch Container City project.

Grafton Downs executive director Chris Johnston said boutique shops were planned for south of Wesley College’s current site and a smaller set of shops would be located near the Glenbrook roundabout, which the NZ Transport Agency will start building next year.

Link:
Paerata Rise

Earlier story:
11 September 2017: Wesley College developer selects build partners & new subdivision name

Attribution: Company release.

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Residential market gets lift, but Barfoots chief adds price caution

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said yesterday residential sales, prices & listings all rose in October.

“In comparison with where the market has been for the past 9 months, October trading was extremely active,” he said. “Spring arrived, and the market came alive.

“The average sales price for the month, at $937,277, was the highest this year and up 1.5% on the average for the previous 3 months.

“The same trend is there with the median price, which at $860,000 for the month was also the highest it has been this year (along with that for March) and 3.9% higher than the average for the previous 3 months.

“In part, the increase can be attributed to the traditional upturn that comes with spring, but there was also a newfound confidence that prices were not going to retreat.”

Mr Thompson said the 884 sales for the month were the highest for October in 3 years, available property for sale the highest in 6 years, and new listings the highest for 19 months.

11% of sales were for under $500,000, 32% between $1-2 million, 5% over $2 million.

Despite all that extra life in the market, Mr Thompson cautioned: “The revival of the Auckland housing market is not a signal that the market is ready for another burst of rising prices. What it does signal is that residential property is set for strong trading through to Christmas.

“Contrastingly, the rural & lifestyle market experienced a quiet month’s trading. Prices remained steady with strong listing numbers, particularly in Orewa & Pukekohe.”

Barfoots’ October residential statistics:

Attribution: Agency release.

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Housing NZ takes Mt Albert townhouse land to market

20 residential sections in 5 development blocks in Mt Albert have been put on the market with resource consents in place, 4½ years after Housing NZ was granted special housing area status for a total 8094m².

The 5 blocks at 33 Asquith Avenue, corner of Burch St, Mt Albert, have been put up for tender through Bayleys, closing on Wednesday 21 November.

Each block contains 2-5 sections and they all have resource consents for 4-bedroom townhouses. They’re being offered individually, as one super-block or in any combination of lots. Housing NZ will continue to oversee construction.

Special housing areas were introduced in 2013 through an agreement between then-Housing Minister Nick Smith & Auckland Council. This one had 3 blocks of flats housing boarders at the nearby Mt Albert Grammar School, which were demolished in February 2015.

Housing NZ named the builders for a 40-townhouse project on the land in November 2017 – 20 of them designated one-bedroom units for its tenants and the other 40 to be sold on the open market.

It’s the open-market part that’s up for sale.

Earlier story:
9 May 2014: Third tranche of special housing areas unveiled
Accord tranche 3 adds 41 special housing areas

Attribution: Agency release.

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