CBD, city fringe or suburban? So you've made the choice to move into an Auckland apartment. But where should you choose?

All apartments have pros and cons when they are compared with standalone homes and other options such as terraced homes, units and old-style flats.

Location, location, location is also an issue. Back in the 1990s the only real choice when buying an apartment was the CBD in Auckland.

The Auckland apartment market has moved on, diversified, become more sophisticated and spread right across the entire isthmus.

Advertisement

Daniel Horrobin, director of Ray White City Apartments says there has been a big shift in Kiwis' opinions about apartments and they have become an increasingly common choice for owner occupiers.

One thing the CBD has is a much higher proportion of investment apartments than other parts of the city and they tend to be smaller, often aimed at the huge student population.

None-the-less first time buyers and baby boomers have begun, in ever greater numbers, to enjoy the proximity to restaurants, nightlife, and culture the city has to offer. The other big plus in the CBD is the transport links, says Horrobin.

Owner occupier "stock" has been in short supply in the past, says Horrobin. This, however, is changing with new developments such as the International, Pacifica and CAB apartments.

It's those higher-end developments that are proving increasingly popular with buyers, says Stuart Robertson, sales manager at Bayleys City Living.

The current crop of CBD buyers is increasingly design conscious and educated than previous ones were a decade or so ago, says Robertson.

Buyers often choose city fringe apartments because they are larger than the options in the CBD. What's more they're often close to upmarket and/or interesting shopping such as Ponsonby, Newmarket, Karangahape Road, and Parnell. Schools are easier to access in the city fringe for families with children. Robertson says there is also a bit more green space and fewer high density developments.

"In the city fringe you get a larger apartment and a higher quality apartment for your money and it is quieter," Horrobin says. "There are smaller more intimate boutique blocks.

"A lot of (apartment dwellers) on the city fringe want the vibe without the hustle and bustle of down town."

Some desirable developments include the Ockham Residential apartment buildings in Grey Lynn and Eden Terrace; these are popular with buyers - as are Tawera Group's conversions of the former Baycorp House on Hopetoun St and the old Telecom headquarters directly across the road. Both were developed into luxury residences.

Wynyard Quarter, which is considered city fringe by some, also has high grade developments.

Although away from the CBD the city fringe is a good choice for an easy commute by car, foot, bus or train. There is a growing network of cycle ways for electric and old-style bicycles. Horrobin lives in Freemans Bay, and like many of his neighbours he walks into the CBD for work.

More apartment blocks are being constructed in suburbia. They're often near centres such as Manukau, New Lynn and Takapuna and their malls, services and transport hubs.

The big advantage of these apartments is they are more affordable than central Auckland buildings, says Horrobin.

There are of course many different markets in suburban apartments. The suburban centres have high rise blocks such as the Sentinel in Takapuna and Merchant Quarter in New Lynn and a number in Manukau City Centre including M Central and Lakewood Plaza.

The Manukau mixed use developments are near to the MIT Manukau campus, Manukau railway station and Southern Motorway interchange.

Apartments have also appeared within other larger subdivisions such Hobsonville and Stonefields.

The advantage of these for families is that they are mixed housing developments and there will be other children, schools and playgrounds in the vicinity, says Horrobin.

Robertson says another appeal of suburban apartments for baby boomers is that they can downsize to single level living without leaving their beloved community. This is proving a real drawcard.