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Urbanisation prompts expansion for Bayleys operations in the Northwest

Wesley Gerber

Wesley Gerber, formerly Wallace & Stratton, joins Bayleys Northwest as associate director of development land and sales.

Transcending its rural roots over the last two decades to become an economic and service powerhouse, the region makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through heightened construction, professional and manufacturing activity.

“Sustained investment across the region continues to strengthen investor confidence, buoyed by the evolution of once-rural Westgate into a 56 hectare, $1 billion-plus economic and service hub, says Ryan Johnson, Bayleys national director commercial and industrial.

“Similarly, urban intensification underpinned by the development of fringe communities Kumeu, Huapai, and Whenuapai further drive commercial and industrial investment across the region,” he adds.

The addition of membership-only bulk retailer Costco, the world’s second-largest bricks and mortar retail chain with some 803 stores worldwide, along with tech-giant Microsoft, developing a substantial data centre off Fred Taylor Drive is further evidence the pandemic has done little to stall progress in what’s been dubbed by the Auckland Council as a key growth area for the country.

Underpinning the firm’s confidence in the region, Bayleys Realty Group has appointed award-winning broker Wesley Gerber, formerly Wallace and Stratton, as associate director of land and development sales to its development land sales team for residential, commercial and industrial activities in the Northwest.

“The development and land sales division will identify key growth opportunities across the region, with our specialists a valuable ear to the ground and conduit between the council, landowners and developers,” says Ryan Johnson.

“The role represents a huge growth opportunity and the expansion of Bayleys operations in the Northwest,” he adds.

Wesley Gerber says infrastructural investment and line upgrades, technological advancement and a more distributed workforce are allowing firms to look beyond traditional areas in search of value, underpinning heightened interest through the Northwest corridor.

“Large land parcels released for development under the Unitary Plan have facilitated intensification, however tight supply of suitably zoned sites coupled with strong demand continues to put upward pressure on land values,” Gerber says.

Population projections for the Upper Harbour and Henderson-Massey areas indicate rapid ongoing growth, with the local population expected to swell some 38 percent, gaining 73,000 residents between 2018 and 2038.

“As the international borders open we will regain another demand dynamic, absent from the local marketplace for the last two years,” he says.

“In preparation for this we’re seeing existing property owners across the Northwest hold tightly onto their assets, while landowners seek advice about how best to extract value,” he says.

“Specialised in this increasingly valuable marketplace, Bayleys’ Northwest land and development sales team provide a deep knowledge of land development spanning practical, technical and financial knowledge extending to credible networks and partnerships,” he adds.

Underscored by what is considered the ‘largest urbanisation’ programme in New Zealand, the Auckland Council’s Northwest Transformation project is set to deliver sustained regional economic growth through the creation of new housing, light rail and transport initiatives.

“High demand for housing in the region is evidenced by a faster-than-expected uptake of new-build stock, which has been fueled by new occupants moving to the west,” says Chris Farhi, Bayleys head of data, insights and consulting.

In 2021, house prices in Whenuapai, Hobsonville and Westgate were around four percent higher on average than the median house price for the wider Auckland region, which Farhi notes could be understated given the prevalence of new-build sales by group builders which are not always captured by market statistics.

“Established new communities Hobsonville, Kumeu, Huapai, Whenuapai, Redhills and Riverhead have delivered significant employment opportunities with new transport routes, public transport access, vibrant amenities and a strong community focus attracting ongoing investment and we expect future land releases set out under Auckland’s Future Urban Land Supply Strategy 2017 to support continued growth,” he adds.

The Land Supply Strategy outlines how Auckland’s 15,000 hectares of future urban land will be released over the next 30 years, having earmarked land for the development of some 42,000 new homes in the Northwest.

“Transport and infrastructure upgrades aided by the government’s $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, freight access and a more agile working environment underpin ongoing investment interest in the residential development sector here,” he adds.

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