There is Something About New

Housing Update with James Heard


For most of us new is so appealing, even the idea of new carries a certain mystique. What will be new, fresh, in this otherwise familiar product? It doesn’t matter whether it is clothes, cars, cameras, jewellery, guns, boats, tennis racquets, a smart phone or even houses. Today of course it is not just the newness that has appeal it is the integration of functional design for today’s lifestyle, today’s technology and today’s styling.

The balance of Pukekohe’s residential housing stock is shifting from dominantly pre 1998/ 2004 construction to post 1998/2004 construction. The style and size of homes has shifted, some might say dramatically, since 2014, particularly with those homes in the ‘affordable home’ category. Construction costs and the deliberate decision to minimise land use i.e. section size have been key drivers of the new suburban look. Smaller, mostly 3 bedroom, homes, single garages, narrower roads, lower roof profiles, reduced sprawl and reduced infrastructure costs. The likes of Belmont don’t have room for ‘french cricket’, the climbing tree, or parking for the caravan or boat but they are selling well to present day family sizes, people with busy lifestyles who have a preference for minimal maintenance, and warm thermally efficient homes. People who may have a quiet desire for more yard space and a neighbourhood of established trees, walkways and parks but they don’t have the capital to buy an older home and then upgrade it to today’s standards.

And while some buyers will always have a preference for the nostalgic, a liking for retro, an enduring love for the comfortable spaciousness of pre 1940 homes, these ‘affordable homes’ are the direct competition for much of Pukekohe’s 1900 – 1990 housing stock. The majority of these new homes have a displayed price tag. Pricing above these levels may sink your sale unless there are discernible benefits clearly marketed.

Our larger contemporary homes, more typically built in the post 1990 period, a time where we felt more affluent or was it just a time when land and building materials pricing were more reasonable. These homes had larger sections, four or more bedrooms, two living rooms, an outdoor living courtyard, double garage, high profile roofs and broad streets. These ‘Pukekohe Hill’ and ‘Valley’ developments have emerged local competition up the road at Paerata Rise. And for those buyers who are locked into commuting to Metropolitan Auckland once your sale price expectation is locked in over $850,000 these buyers have choices closer to their workplace, even if those homes are in some or even are in many ways inferior.

Is it a ‘BUYER’s MARKET? Maybe it is turning that way but housing supply is still critical. The more important factor is the cost of living and the cost of getting to work. Affordability still rules. Market your home well. Turn buyers away with great caution.