A property developer is looking to tap into Auckland's growing group of empty-nesters.

Andrew Weipers of developer Reside says this demographic of people in their 50s and 60s are too young for retirement villages and are often faced with mounting home maintenance bills on multi-level homes worth millions.

This, he says has created a new niche property market.

Weipers doesn't know exact numbers of how many fit that profile but is targeting those blue blood locals keen to leave big family homes.

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Apartments are being marketed in the $7 million to $8m bracket at the proposed St Heliers' Sonata to be built where there is now a single-family home at 20 Devore St.

That is a block back from the waterfront but on a steep hill with extensive views. The project designed by architects in Australia and New Zealand from The Buchan Group is only five units, each with its own levels but is estimated to have a sale value in the $40m range.

Plans for Grace apartments on Sale St, CBD. Photo / supplied
Plans for Grace apartments on Sale St, CBD. Photo / supplied

The level one unit is for sale for $7.2m, level two for $7.5m, level three for $8.3m, and the two top levels have already been sold via Graham Wall Real Estate, Weipers said.

People with homes which sell for up to $15m keep about half their capital but have fewer worries, he claims.

"Their homes have served them well over perhaps two decades or more, but are often wooden and need regular painting and repairs and the buyers - often couples - are ready to take the next step," he says.

"We're trying to simplify their lives with single-level living and no ongoing maintenance. They often have homes in the $12m to $15m category, spend time at a beach house or overseas. The retirement [village] age has been pushed out," Weipers said, referring to major operators putting a 70 years or 75-year-old cap on entry.

Plans for Sonata, where resource consent will be sought. Photo / Graham Wall
Plans for Sonata, where resource consent will be sought. Photo / Graham Wall

"These people are resistant, so this is an interim step. It's an area of the market that's completely under-catered for. They can buy $10m penthouses in your Pacificas or Seascapes," he said of those new 57-level blocks rising in the CBD.

But they prefer to stay in the eastern suburbs and would not buy in blocks with hundreds of places. Instead, they want maybe five or eight units maximum and for them all to be owner-occupied so common interests are best served.

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Reside says it is part of the Location Group of companies "and since 1972 we've worked to build integrity and respect working closely with partners to create commercial and residential developments around New Zealand."

Reside expects this month to finish the 105-uni $105m Grace on Sale St in the Victoria Quarter where Weipers said in early September only five units were unsold. But how does a block that large fit the Reside model?

"It's more young professionals wanting city living but with a lot of break-out space from an apartment like a rooftop lounge and deck and spaces for people to move. That was for the downsizing young professionals moving into the CBD."

Reside's new 41-unit $92m Horizon in Mission Bay is being built by Ganeleon and won't be finished for another 12 months. That cost twice the price of Grace in the CBD, Weipers said, due to the difference in methods and finish.