Four years since work started at northwest Auckland's 3,000-residence Hobsonville Pt housing estate, the 150th house is about to be finished.
Rod Chadwick, AVJennings project director, said more than 400 people were now living at the master-planned waterfront housing estate, although only a small portion has been developed.
Most of the new houses are stand-alone or terrace-style, all developed by group house builders but the first apartments are about to go up. The 59-unit one and two-bedroom four-level Brickworks project by Tasman Cook will rise in four blocks called Crown, Clark, Carder and Holland, arranged around a large central gated courtyard, with one-bedroom 48sq m units selling from $349,000.
See Rod Chadwick describe the development here:
"It's the first intensively developed part of the site," Chadwick said of Brickworks, pointing to the new primary school, already open, and the new secondary school about to open in March.
A two-bedroom 71sqm Brickworks unit is advertised at $449,000 and a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at $489,000.
Chadwick said more than 20 per cent of Hobsonville Pt housing would be affordable, in the sub-$485,000 range.
"And we'll probably achieve 24 per cent in the Buckley A precinct alone," he says of affordability in that first stage.
In addition to the 150 houses already up, sites for a further 350 houses are being created. Chadwick said work was progressing fast and at least 240 houses would be built in 2014.
"The market demand is insatiable at the right point: $600,000 to $700,000 is the sweet spot in the local market. Hobsonville Pt has a combination of people coming here from all over the country but predominantly the North Shore and western suburbs like Waitakere."
Chadwick went to North America with Dave Irwin of landscape architecture and urban design business Isthmus Group looking at Vancouver's multi-unit estates, and at San Francisco.
He is more optimistic about the building and development consenting process than Evan Davies of Todd Property Group, who is complaining of significant delays at the 2700-residence Long Bay and Mark Gunton of New Zealand Retail Property Group. He describes the planning and consenting processes behind his $1 billion Westgate development at Massey as "torture, absolute torture".
Chadwick says Hobsonville Pt is being driven by a commercial liaison between the landowner, developer and builders, AVJennings' urban design role making use of its Australian experience - particularly from Melbourne's Lyndarum - and a strong relationship with Auckland Council.
Unlike Long Bay or Westgate, Hobsonville Pt will have no town centre.
"It's based on a spine," he says, likening it to Great North Rd with a lineal retail service area. Offices, a doctor and dentist, cafes and a few shops are being built beneath larger buildings.
Other developers have criticised Hobsonville Pt's tight roads but Chadwick said the community had been deliberately designed to be more pedestrian-friendly than elsewhere.
"The roads are narrower because the overall design is about a walkable community and road widths are reduced so cars slow down."
Ferries leave the point's terminal for the CBD, sometimes via Beach Haven, at 6.55am, 8.05am, 9.15am, 3.15pm, 4.25pm, 5.35pm and 6.45pm while ferries leave the city at 7.30am, 8.40am, 3.30pm, 5pm and 6.10pm.
Universal Homes has been the busiest builder in the first stage, putting up about 45 per cent of the dwellings by Chadwick's estimate.
At the start of October, Universal was selling a four-bedroom 265sq m house with a loft on a 306sq m Buckley Ave site for $885,000, while Classic Builders was selling a 242sq m four-bedroom house on a 286sq m Meteor Rd site for $849,000.
Hobsonville Pt progress
Forecast dwelling starts
• 2013: 254
• 2014: 238
Forecast dwelling finishes
• 2013: 105
• 2014: 272
• 396 - residents (averaging 3 a house)
• 25% - Proportion of affordable homes below $485,000
• 715 - Total dwellings to be built in Buckley Precinct
• 3,000 - Total dwellings to be built at Hobsonville Pt