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Why trains and buses matter more than affordability

Tags: Auckland Residential

Infrastructure and social amenities are the keys to picking Auckland’s next “up and coming” suburbs.


Train stations, bus stations, retail amenities and hospitality hubs have become the key societal factors behind choosing where to live.

These have replaced the previous primary property growth fundamental of simply being the “next affordable suburb” in Auckland’s concentric geographic ring – with the centre point being Queen Street in the heart of the city.

Picking Auckland’s up and coming suburbs has become an increasingly difficult challenge.

There are very few, if any, ‘bargain’ suburbs left in Greater Auckland. Everything has moved considerably up the price-ladder over the past three years. The challenge now is to identify which suburbs will outperform the market in the medium to long term.

In the past few years it has been the city-fringe suburbs of Grey Lynn, Pt Chevalier, Mt Albert, Greenlane/Ellerslie and Orakei which have recorded substantial capital growth. That was predominantly on the back of Auckland’s concentric city fringe ring spreading ever outward.

Now however, we are tracking that there is a jump to suburbs further out, with the fundamentals now very much encompassing social amenities and transport infrastructure.”

Under the criteria of assessing locations by the amount of social infrastructure they are served by, locations such as New Lynn, Central Onehunga, and Birkenhead could be considered “case studies” of up and coming suburbs.

Onehunga, for example, has long been touted as the next Ponsonby. However, until recently that suggestion was pure fantasy for a multitude of reasons – including primarily that there was a far closer comparison between the likes of Westmere, Pt Chevalier and Grey Lynn, than anything Onehunga had to offer.

The retail heart of Onehunga has, traditionally, also been somewhat “less than salubrious” in its offerings. That is now changing – particularly with the changes to amount of residential development that will be allowed under the Unitary Plan and Auckland Council’s plans to transform the nearby Onehunga waterfront precinct into a harbourside hospitality and retail zone.

In addition, there are still a substantial number of “do-up” villas in the lower part of Onehunga which represent considerable added-value buying opportunities, while further to the east there are large tracts of state houses.”

In New Lynn, there is still room for growth in the value of properties located within a one kilometre radius of the train station.

Train services from New Lynn to the CBD are among the best in Auckland, and the new Brickworks hospitality precinct in the revamped shopping centre again offers a ‘local’ dining and drinking destination rather than the immediate populous having to head into the central city as previously.

And on the North Shore one of the area’s oldest suburbs, Birkenhead, is a public transport hub for bus services to and from the city to the outer reaches of Beach Haven, Birkdale and Glenfield.

There are also regular ferry services to and from downtown. And it has a vast array of food and beverage options in the town centre, which is well supported by a very pro-active business association.

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