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3 Sep 2018
Apartments: Who’s Buying Them and Why? Part 3 of 3. Investors

As more people snap up apartments, we look at the reasons why.

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In New Zealand main centres, apartment living is a fast-growing trend, particularly for baby boomers. The pull towards the convenient locations and urban, cosmopolitan lifestyle that apartment living offers are taking priority over home size, contributing to some of the factors
driving the shift.

The benefits are easily visible with security, shared facilities, sociability and ‘a less is more’ lifestyle.

Over the past decade, there’s been a significant rethink of cultural ideals as to what constitutes a Kiwi home. Driven by rising property prices and a changing employment landscape, the transition from house to apartment is one that’s gaining momentum.
It’s a mix of ‘downsizers’, first-home buyers, and investors that are leading the charge and inspiring other Kiwis to rethink their approach to home ownership. In this series, we profile three apartment buyer types.

Purchasing an apartment as an investment is a popular choice, driven in part by rising house prices, population growth and an increasing number of people seeking an urban lifestyle. Good quality rentals are in demand.

As with any property purchase, it’s important to do your homework. As an investor, is the apartment somewhere you may one day live or is it purely an investment? If you’re purchasing with a view for renting, then remaining as objective as possible is important. Your decisions should be driven by what a prospective tenant will be looking for.

Buying a new apartment, rather than an existing one, means you’ll be less likely to spend time maintaining the property. Additionally since 2005, the new building code means that apartments are more robust, with more space and better amenities.

Choosing to purchase your apartment off the plans means that if you get in early, you’ll be able to secure your preferred location and layout in the development.

Apartments on higher levels provide better views, whilst ground floor apartments often appeal to families with children or an older, less mobile demographic. These are all important factors in determining the rental income.

Avoid investing in an apartment building or development that has a high number of similar units. This could lead to an over-supply, which may affect the rental value of your property. By investing in a smaller development, you’re more likely to attract good tenants. If possible when purchasing, ask for a break-down of owner–occupiers and investors in the building. It’s best to purchase in a building where most apartments are occupied by owners.

New apartment developments in quality suburban locations are worthy of consideration, especially if there is nothing else comparable in the area.

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21 Aug 2018
Building a New Road, Concept to Construction

Most of us give the roads we drive on little thought, but each one has followed a rigorous process to ensure they are safe for us to travel
on. So what does the construction of a new road involve? How does a proposed new road go from planning and design, to construction and opening? Here's a guide to the basics:

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STAGE ONE: SITE INVESTIGATION
The first step is to work out whether a new road is feasible. To determine this, a site investigation is carried out to assess existing land use and the nature of what lies beneath the proposed new road.
Information gathered from historical records and a range of experts help to determine what is under the land and whether any significant fault lines are present. Once all the available information is gathered, further investigations are undertaken as necessary. For example, a site may require an archaeological excavation to recover historical and cultural artefacts.

A thorough assessment is conducted to ensure that the site can accommodate a new road. This also identifies any problems, the need for alternative routes, the costs involved and the stability of the ground.

STAGE TWO: PRELIMINARY DESIGN
Once site investigation has been completed, a team of experts are tasked with the preliminary design. This stage focuses on the location of the road, the benefits to the existing road network and any environmental impact.

In New Zealand, all new roads must adhere to the Resource Management Act. This piece of legislation governs the management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water. The Act is responsible for protecting the environment and ensuring that any new project is sustainable.

The development of a new road must therefore pay significant attention to any potential impacts on natural resources. A large part of the preliminary design outlines any environmental impacts and the ways in which these will be managed. Ideally, a new road should work with the natural environment and be designed with sustainability in mind.

The preliminary design must also detail storm water drainage and consider the need for public transport access, cycle ways and paths.

All risks and benefits of building on the proposed site must be detailed. Alternative routes may also be identified and included if planners foresee any potential problems with the preferred route.

STAGE THREE: DESIGNATION AND CONSENT
When the preliminary design work is completed, plans are submitted to the relevant authorities
for consideration. Key stakeholders, such as
residents, iwi and local boards are consulted on the development before the new road gets the go ahead.

STAGE FOUR: PRE-CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
Pre-construction work is one of the most fundamental components of building a new road. Much like a house needs solid foundations, so too does a road.

During pre-construction, the site is prepared for the final construction stage. Excavation of the site can include both the removal of dirt and the filling of any areas that need to be built up and leveled. Roads require a substantial foundation, which is why the base layers are as important as the finished surface.

During pre-construction, storm water drainage is installed and any utility works are undertaken.
Upon completion, all pre-construction work must undergo strict inspections to ensure the highest possible safety standards have been adhered to, and to identify any potential problems.

STAGE FIVE: CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY AUDIT
Road surfacing, marking, pathways and landscaping are all part of the final construction stage. In New Zealand, the type of surface laid depends upon various factors such as noise reduction, consideration of using recycled materials and the best surfacing for the type of road. Other considerations may include the volume of traffic on the surface and how much maintenance will be required.

Glenvar Ridge Road is a new road, currently in the final stages of construction, that will connect the existing transport network with the urban development in
Long Bay. This road has been developed by Todd Property Group in collaboration with local authorities to provide a direct route into and out of the area. “The bulk of the Glenvar Ridge Road surface is a stabilising base layer of lime and cement, mixed with natural clay soil, which is around 300mm deep. The middle layer is composed of lime and coarse materials up to 500mm deep. Approximately 50mm of asphalt will form the final top surface,” said Paul Armstrong, Todd Property Development Manager.

During the final construction of a new road everything must be thoroughly tested; from the shape of the road to its strength, every detail must meet strict criteria. When construction is complete, the road must pass a safety audit before it is finally opened to the public.

PROPOSED NAMES for a new road are often submitted early in the planning process. Submitting a list of suggested names means it’s more likely that one or more will be approved
and developers typically allow plenty of time for consideration by relevant stakeholders.
The naming of a road must adhere to an extensive list of rules. For example, in Auckland, road names must be easy to pronounce, spell and write. They are limited to three words (or 25 characters), except in the case of Te Reo names.

A road name must not be considered offensive, racist, derogatory or demeaning, even when translated into another language. Some roads, such as those with five or less addresses, do not need to be named if numbering can be continued from an adjoining road.

Certain punctuation cannot be used in a road name such as a full stop, comma, colon, semi-colon, quotation marks, hyphens or others. Only characters from a standard alphabet can be used, although macrons can be used for Maori names.

Road-naming reports are prepared and submitted to local boards for consideration.
After discussion and consultation, the relevant authority will make a final decision.

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9 Aug 2018
Apartments: Who’s Buying Them and Why? Part 2 of 3. First Home Buyers

As more people snap up apartments, we look at the reasons why.

Read more

In New Zealand main centres, apartment living is a fast-growing trend, particularly for baby boomers. The pull towards the convenient locations and urban, cosmopolitan lifestyle that apartment living offers are taking priority over home size, contributing to some of the factors
driving the shift.

The benefits are easily visible with security, shared facilities, sociability and ‘a less is more’ lifestyle.

Over the past decade, there’s been a significant rethink of cultural ideals as to what constitutes a Kiwi home. Driven by rising property prices and a changing employment landscape, the transition from house to apartment is one that’s gaining momentum.
It’s a mix of ‘downsizers’, first-home buyers, and investors that are leading the charge and inspiring other Kiwis to rethink their approach to home ownership. In this series, we profile three apartment buyer types.

Many first-home buyers are now opting for apartments.

The trend is strongest in Auckland where people are keen to get a foot on the property ladder, without overextending themselves or moving too far from the city. Some first-home buyers start off with their sights firmly set on a house in city-fringe suburbs, only to find themselves in a never-ending cycle of open homes and auctions. That’s largely because the concept of an apartment as being city-bound, noisy and cramped is  outdated. High-quality, spacious apartments are now being  developed with the needs of a range of buyers in mind: sustainability, tranquility, green space and good amenities, to name a few. 

Regardless of age, first-home buyers are looking for apartments with an easy commute to work. They’re seeking apartments that provide refuge from the daily grind with a lifestyle that’s relaxed and laid back. Minimising risk is essential for any purchaser, but for first-home buyers, even more so. That’s why buying an apartment in a development that is already partially established is a safe option. 

The apartments at Stonefields are a popular choice for
first-time buyers where five separate apartment buildings have been built: Saltus, Altera, ilico, Verto and Bellus. When Verto apartments were launched in 2015, 90% sold within two weeks. Many first-home buyers queued up on the first day that sales commenced—having been privy to the ongoing development of Stonefields; buyer confidence was high and many had already discerned the high construction quality and finish of apartments that had previously been completed.

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31 Jul 2018
Making progress at Long Bay Village Apartments

There is still a lot happening at The Village - all concrete floors a completed on all buildings with over 3000m3 of concrete poured over the site. With all the precast walls up this number will double.

Structural beams have been put in place for the mid-level and top floors for the apartments with the roof moving into place soon on Building A. Framing of the external walls and window carpentry is well underway.

Building B's first floor of apartments is now underway with the internal structural steel framing to create the apartment layouts.

With the structural construction of the buildings almost complete the stunning views of of Long Bay Regional Park and Beach can be seen from the apartments.

Construction has just passed the half way point with over 4200 construction hours put in by approximately 100 contractors with completion still on track for 2019.

9 Jul 2018
Apartments: Who’s Buying Them and Why? Part 1 of 3. The Downsizer

As more people snap up apartments, we look at the reasons why.

Read more

In New Zealand main centres, apartment living is a fast-growing trend, particularly for baby boomers. The pull towards the convenient locations and urban, cosmopolitan lifestyle that apartment living offers are taking priority over home size, contributing to some of the factors
driving the shift.

The benefits are easily visible with security, shared facilities, sociability and ‘a less is more’ lifestyle.

Over the past decade, there’s been a significant rethink of cultural ideals as to what constitutes a Kiwi home. Driven by rising property prices and a changing employment landscape, the transition from house to apartment is one that’s gaining momentum.
It’s a mix of ‘downsizers’, first-home buyers, and investors that are leading the charge and inspiring other Kiwis to rethink their approach to home ownership. In this series, we profile three apartment buyer types.

The Downsizer:

For many, it’s an exciting transition; a chance to start afresh and free up time and money to pursue dreams that may have otherwise been unobtainable.

No longer is the apartment lifestyle seen as the domain of young city-slickers. An increasing number of more mature buyers are capitalising on the benefits of downsizing. Empty-nesters and those looking to utilise the equity in their house are opting to sell up and move into high-quality apartments that are more tailored to their lifestyle.
For many, it’s also an acknowledgement that sometimes less is more. Whilst a large home may have catered perfectly to your needs thirty years ago, priorities change.

Some downsizers find they no longer need all the space of  a free-standing home, whilst others don’t want to be bound  to the constant upkeep of a large property. For those with
plans to travel, purchasing an apartment they can lock up and leave is ideal.
Stonefields, Auckland’s newest central-eastern suburb is a good example. The thriving master-planned community offers a mix of apartments and houses, designed to provide
residents with access to cycling and walking tracks, a range of convenience stores and healthcare services.

Shared gardens, social groups and a secure and friendly  community are some of the reasons downsizers are  choosing to buy an apartment in the sought-after suburb.
It’s also a chance to farewell those bits and pieces you’ve  accumulated over the years, most of which are no longer needed or used. Culling and simplifying or purchasing new
pieces for an apartment space can be a liberating experience.

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