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The value of protected areas

Tags: Residential

One relegated as ‘off-the-beaten-track’, ‘remote’, or ‘isolated’, new infrastructure and buying attitudes are changing the way property near protected areas are valued, new data from Bayleys Research shows.

As Auckland’s urban sprawl continues its development to accommodate a burgeoning population, developers are increasingly looking to suburbs which border protected areas, marine reserves and regional parks to provide a premium lifestyle for a new generation of Kiwi’s.

However it’s not only the developers paying attention to these once undervalued suburbs, the buyers are also taking note.

Increasingly turning their attention to locations which frame protected areas, currently experiencing growth in terms of access and infrastructure, buyers are looking to capitalise on the ‘cleaner, greener’ image which promises less congestion and a better quality of life with an outdoor playground on their doorstep.

Long Bay on Auckland’s North Shore lies some 20 kilometres north of Auckland central and borders the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve and the Long Bay Regional Park.

Attracting visitors with walking tracks which traverse coastal farmland, golden-sand beaches, rocky reefs, native bush and a number of bookable public spaces, plans began some seven years ago to transform one of the neighbouring areas into a large-scale housing development that will see some 2,000 new properties built across 67 hectares in little over ten years’ time.

Analysing sales data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, Bayleys has found that the average sale price for the Long Bay suburb in the year to July 2017 was $1,228,694 - 21 percent higher than the North Shore district average which was $1,015,000. Higher again, the average sale price for the new Long Bay subdivision which borders the regional park and marine reserve is $1,640,000.

Bayleys Long Bay manager Jeff Wagg says he is not surprised by the new trend toward protected areas and regional parks.

“Kiwi’s value our environment and the development at Long Bay has a high-standard of sustainability incorporated through considerations such as storm-water treatment, wetlands, landscaping and specially designed rain-water gardens which filter pollutants and improve water quality before reaching local streams and wetlands.”

“The suburb is becoming increasingly accessible with schooling, roading and transport improvements as well as a new village planned for 2019 which will provide the community with a supermarket, convenience retail and a medical centre.”

It’s a trend mirrored in the Waitakere suburb Titirangi whose south-western border edges the eastern limits of the well-known Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

Encompassing some 16,000 hectares of native forest and coastline, the park contains nearly 250 kilometres of walking and tramping tracks with access to waterfalls, cliff-faces and a variety of both golden and black-sand beaches.

The sales data analysed by Bayleys found that property sales for Titirangi in the year to July 2017 averaged $929,520, which when compared with the Waitakere district average of $732,000 was up 26 percent.

Speaking about the suburb’s desirability, Bayleys Titirangi sales manager Belinda Henson explained the area had become extremely popular with buyers in their second or third home ownership over recent years.

“We have seen a definite relationship between the popularity of residential home sales in Titirangi and improved access to transport, roading and amenities handy to the area,” she says.

“Families who are perhaps on their second or third home with two incomes are looking to buy in areas which offer a little more room to move with elements of a lifestyle property such as a chicken coup or paddock for horses.

“Improved cycle trails and public transport routes have meant that these buyers do not need to sacrifice access in order to be near some of Auckland’s most desirable beaches, walking tracks and outdoor activities.”

Across the Manukau Harbour, the south Auckland suburb of Papakura has also followed suit with a median sale price four percent higher than the Papakura District average of $650,000.

Raymond Mountfort, general manager of Bayleys south and east Auckland explains that Papakura’s recent popularity is closely related to the suburb’s location which is near the Hunua Ranges Regional Park and proximate to aspirational suburbs like Clevedon and Karaka.

“Papakura straddles the line between town and country, having experienced plenty of growth over the last five years in terms of motorway improvements, housing development and amenities.”

“With a reputation as relatively affordable, we’re finding the majority of buyers are young families and first-home buyers who value land and lifestyle over an inner-city apartment.”

“Development and densification across the region have posed an interesting question to buyers – immerse themselves in the hustle and bustle of the city, or take advantage of improved infrastructure and accessibility to offer the best of both worlds,” Raymond says.

“I think Aucklander’s are conflicted at the moment, caught between pride that we’re growing as a city but yearning for the quarter-acre-dream. It’s almost inherent that we want fields, beaches and room for a pet or two.”

“This is why we’re seeing greater interest in property near protected areas and buyers are willing to pay a premium for the lifestyle these areas afford,” he adds.

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