Commercial property sales on the Auckland city fringe have boomed over winter, says Gareth Fraser, Auckland investment sales director for Colliers International.
Fraser says Winter is usually subdued, with a lull in new listings and sales due to many clients and customers being away. However, he reports "a real surge in activity this winter for Colliers.
"Vendors are seeing we're near the top of the market, and consider it a great time to take advantage of the market by selling."
Buyer demand for top quality properties, particularly in the Auckland CBD and city fringe, remains high, he adds.
"We've seen strong bidding at auctions and pre-auction as purchasers aggressively pursue properties. As a result, some record yields and prices are being set."
Among Colliers' winter transactions, were:
• 36 Rossmay Terrace, Mt Eden: A vacant industrial premises that attracted multiple pre-auction offers. "A furious bidding war on the day saw a sale made under the hammer at a level in excess of $300,000 more than the highest pre-auction offer". The deal was brokered by Jonathan Lynch and Hamish Paterson.
• 52 St Lukes Rd, Mt Albert: This medical centre attracted huge inquiry and pre-auction offers. Sold prior to the auction for a yield of 4.48 per cent, the deal was also brokered by Lynch and Paterson.
• 109 Carlton Gore Rd, Newmarket: An off-market transaction, sold by a syndicate to a local investor for $28m, representing a yield of under 7 per cent on passing income. The deal was brokered by Fraser, David Burley and Simon Child.
• 36 Mackelvie St, Grey Lynn: Attracted huge interest and was sold vacant pre-auction for $2.9m, such was the demand. The deal was brokered by Charlie Oscroft and Kris Ongley.
• 134 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga: Sold for $1.46m at auction after aggressive bidding, despite seismic and asbestos issues. The deal was brokered by Gawan Bakshi and Ned Gow.
• A confidential off-market transaction over $50m, with a yield in the early 5 per cent range.
The level of inquiry on recent campaigns has surprised Fraser.
"On the other hand, I'm also aware a number of properties are remaining unsold at the end of campaigns. These appear to be secondary properties, which tend to take longer to sell in the current market conditions."
He says the biggest shift in the market has been the influx of Australian inquiry.
"There's a huge amount of demand from across The Ditch. That's expected for the premium CBD stock, but what we're also seeing is inquiry on mixed-use sites, and I definitely haven't seen that for a long time. It's also coming from offshore parties in general. In fact, it's the strongest offshore demand I've seen in my 20 years in real estate."
Fraser says demand from local investors is still really strong.
"Australian inquiry isn't all translating into transactions yet. I think that will come, whereas the local parties are consistently fronting up. Eight or nine times out of 10 at the moment, local purchasers are still buying the properties.
"That shows there's still significant local demand, predominantly from high net worth private investors in the metropolitan market."
Fraser says the Investment Sales teams in the Auckland CBD, North Shore, West Auckland and South Auckland offices are all having record years.
"This suggests there is a really strong level of activity across the whole Auckland market, and I expect more of the same over the next 12 months, particularly given our low interest rates.
"We'll see strong inquiry, good quality properties selling really well, and secondary properties taking a little bit longer to sell."
The investment sales team has 16 new 'on-market' campaigns booked so far for the balance of the year and expects to see even more listings.
Among the properties coming to the market in the next month are strip retail centres in multiple fringe locations, offices, childcare centres, service stations, strata units, bare land and new industrial syndication offerings.