Bayleys research shows homes in high-traffic areas no longer second-place on the market.
Fancy a sprawling semi-rural property on the east Auckland shores of Maraetai, complete with cruise to work along a free-flowing motorway, or a congested commute from your upmarket Mount Albert home?
New property research suggests the latter.
Dissolving the myth that homes on busy roads are less desirable, and therefore less valuable than their off-the-beaten track counterparts, the recent analysis by Bayleys Real Estate reveals that suburban location has a greater influence on a home’s appeal when it comes time to sell.
“The research, which has been collected over a three-month period from respondents across the greater Auckland region, simply reinforces the old estate adage – location, location, location” says Bayleys national residential manager Daniel Coulson.
“While certainly busier, with the potential for nose-to-tail queues during both the morning and evening rush hours (7.30am and 6pm), the majority of respondents to the survey indicated that proximity to a main arterial route led the charge in terms of a home’s desirability.
“Generally speaking, State Highways form a national network of high speed spines, the Auckland portion of State Highway 1 for example carries more than 200,000 vehicles every day.
“Our research criteria focussed on urban routes, which are high traffic areas within the region and transport a comparatively high level of vehicles with a lower level of infrastructure” Mr Coulson explained.
Main arterial routes and high traffic connective roads surveyed by Bayleys included Urban Route 5 and the Ellerslie/Panmure highway which loops into Ti Rakau Drive, Urban Route 30 and Te Irirangi Drive, Urban Route 14 which includes Massey and Kirkbride Roads, Urban Route 15 Hillsborough Road, Urban Route 10 Mount Albert Road and major routes on the North Shore including Glenfield, Lake and East Coat Bays Roads.
“While traffic on these routes came to a slow crawl during most weekday mornings and evenings, the majority of home-owners we surveyed said that they were prepared to sacrifice time spent behind the wheel ahead of losing proximity to preferred amenities, schooling and recreational facilities.
“Our data found that the far bigger determinant underpinning a property’s value was its suburban identity, rather than delays caused by proximity to high-traffic roads.
“Urban residents take great pride in their communities, and it seems that the right home in a prestigious location is a driving factor when buyers are scouring the market for their next home.
“Recent sales data shows that a modest home on Belmont’s Lake Road – the only road in to, or out of the North Shore suburb of Devonport, which is severely congested during peak commute times and often on weekends too, will be worth considerably more than a comparable home on a quiet street in Howick” says Mr Coulson.
Bayleys Takapuna salesperson Ryan Steven agrees, saying that respondents to the survey saw living on a main arterial route as a benefit for their role as ‘linking routes’ between motorways and suburbs.
“Additionally, many respondents commented that living on a main road equated with less time driving down side streets to get home – you can observe commuters all over Auckland waiting for up to ten minutes for a break in traffic when entering on to a main road.
“Arterial routes are also usually taken by busses making public transport easily available” Mr Steven says.
Another reason for this shift in value lies in Auckland’s burgeoning profile as cultural melting pot, as recently released data from the International Organisation for Migration found Auckland home to the world’s fourth largest foreign born population.
“The growing presence of New Zealander’s who have immigrated from countries in South East Asia and Europe – which traditionally face the worst traffic jams in the world, may account for the changing attitudes toward traffic congestion.
“In cities such as Chengdu, China, commuters can face up to 81 percent more travel time during peak evening traffic – compare this with a slow crawl along Great South Road and the traffic in suburban Auckland pales in comparison” Mr Coulson laughs.
“Aside from migration, there are a number of factors at play, including the shifting hours of a traditional work day, advancements in technology allowing greater work-from-home capacity, the changing face of public transportation, and improved building materials to negate sound and air pollution.
“Urban buyers are increasingly understanding that living in their desired neighbourhood usually means flexibility, and with school zoning, access to parks, amenities and the workplace ahead of traffic inconveniences - the out-dated stereotype that homes located on arterial routes are less valuable is quickly dissolving” says Mr Coulson.