Follow us on Twitter

Auckland Density Illustrated I: The Inner City

It’s hard not to get the feeling that for some in the Auckland Plan debate the answer is simply that they just need to get out more. Yes I’m thinking of you Dick Quax. But also Bill Ralston, whose advancing years seem to have settled upon him as a sort of domestic panic; a fear that some one will take his villa away. And the always unreadable and wrong Jim Hopkins. Plus all the other forces that appear to to be running a coordinated campaign against the plan, like the National Party’s pollster David Farrar, who enjoys apartment living himself but whose politics means he has to twist into a funny shape to conjure up bogus arguments against city life, he claims for example that to live in an apartment you can’t have a pet or a family, and imagines Ak turning into East Berlin. So in order to help those who seem to have absolutely no conception that life in Auckland is possible, for some even preferable, outside of a detached suburban 3 bedder I have dipped into my archives. These are simply random examples of the rich variety of lives lived by different people with different interests and different resources already enjoying the ‘absolutely gobsmacking‘ life that so terrifies the good councillor Quax.

I would also add that one area that the recent analysis of the Auckland Plan by Studio D4 and Jasmax did not look at was the inner city itself. There is clearly a great deal of opportunity for increased living in the city as the people pictured below already are. New supermarkets are opening in the city now and of course there is still room for further infrastructure to support and improve living, working and playing in the CBD. But of course I am not, and nor is the Plan, arguing that high or even medium density is to everyones’ taste, but that when given the chance there are many you do seek it. And that these include the young and the old, families with kids, groups of flatmates and people living alone, rich and poor, renters and owners, and every kind of race and outlook, pet owners, new agers and right wingers, strugglers, idlers, and toilers- in short, every kind of person.

First up, meet my mother. Her apartment is in a re-purposed commercial building from the early 20th century. Pretty special and very well placed for public transit as you can see [she can no longer drive]. Also ideal for a single elderly person, extremely secure, all on one level, the building has a concierge and is incredibly handy to both necessities and distractions. The only thing that hasn’t worked well is interaction with health agencies who insist on driving, often just from the hospital, and then of course, parking. They then want reimbursement for these costs although the services are free. Naturally they will happily drive to Albany or Cockle Bay and those costs are clearly buried somewhere in the health budget. Doh! Small problem, but indicative of how deeply imbedded auto-dependency is in our institutions.

The Bolletta family on a very grey evening, for them an apartment offers an affordable way for the young family to live centrally.

The Urale family. OK this is a detached house, but a new one on a tiny Freemans Bay site with no off street parking. Designed for the family by Malcolm Walker Architects, and therefore qualifies as both medium density and urban renewal.

Also a new building, but higher density. Fashion and publishing personality Paula Ryan in her waterfront apartment.

Again High-D, but different location, Newton, and different value. Complete with art loving cat.

The loveliest of Auckland’s far-too-few Heritage apartments: Courtville flatmates.

A return to the original use: Living above the business. Gallerist Michael Lett in his modernised flat over his old gallery space on K’Rd. The first occupants of this Victorian or Edwardian building doubtless did the same. But with as much style?

Another residential conversion. Compact apartment in the old George Courts Building ideal for young couple.

Inner city living is also for the young at heart: Peter Bromhead in his crisp apartment that will soon be looking down on the new Parnell Train Station.

Those genuinely concerned about housing affordability need to understand that even sweeping views of the CMJ is no barrier to successful rental or ownership for many if the price is right. Very serious students with a very relaxed cat included.

I could go on but the post would get too long…

74 comments to Auckland Density Illustrated I: The Inner City

  • morecityplease

    Yes, they also need to get OUT more! :)

  • Bbc

    Michael L’s apartment has had many lives – previously it was a brothel, probably before that it was an apartment and perhaps repurposed to something else before that.

    I never understand the hatred some people have with the idea of people living in intercity apartments – and personally I’d love it if Auckland were to become more like Berlin be it the former east or west, which are not really much different these days.

  • Icebird

    Did you take those photographs yourself Patrick? They do make living in inner city apartments seem appealing.

    My perception at the moment is that Auckland inner city apartments have an image problem. To me they feel like either tiny shoeboxes which are almost the exclusive domain of foreign students, or pricy upmarket apartments on lease-hold land in the Viaduct Harbour. As your photo essay tries to indicate, that’s generalizing wildly, but take a loot at the real estate listings for CBD apartments: cheap apartments seem to be marketed almost exclusively as investments, rather than spaces you would want to live in yourself (and the marketing effort for many of them would best be described as “minimal”).

    I lived in Vancouver between 2000 and 2005, and a *lot* of new high-density tower blocks were going up on car yards and other former light industrial sites in the CBD. These new developments were competing fiercely with each other for buyers, so there was a lot of effort going into convincing people that this building was an attractive place to live. There were also apartments available at a variety of price points.

    In Kitsilano, they turned an old brewery site into an entire neighbourhood of new condos – in that instance, the buildings were 5 to 6 story “low rise” developments, rather than the tall thin towers that characterised downtown Vancouver.

    Having lived in an apartment in downtown Vancouver, I’d love to find one in Auckland thats affordable without feeling “small and cheap”, but I haven’t seen anything in that bracket yet.

    • It is my day job Icebird, so they should be a little better than average.

      Like all cities Auckland has its secrets…. there are plenty of surprises beyond the cliché out there, and room for more…

  • Willuknight

    Beautiful photographs, you really told a wonderful story Patrick!

  • David

    Nice photos, Patrick.

    You are right there are all too few heritage apartments in the city — I’ve stayed in a few on occasion and have loved it. The new apartments I’ve been in have mainly just lacked the touch of a decent interior design (probably due to poor landlords sticking with dull initial builds) and your photos show that someone with a sense of home can make them really nice places to live.

    • Other gems include Espano at the top of Myers Park, Brooklyn in Emily Place, and the hosing corp. modernist beauties in Grey’s Ave- but yes too few really. This reflects Auckland’s youth, land has always been available for spread…. That time is over now though.

  • David

    I’m not sure what they are called, but this block on Newton road just below St Benedicts St is a cracker…

  • Bob

    Brilliant post. A great counterbalance to the public perception that they are student dwelling shoe box slums. Apartments can be great places to live for all sorts of people.

  • George D

    Excellent post. It seems obvious now, but illustrating these helps shift imaginations; it’s easy to think about what we already know, and see frequently.

  • Good stuff Patrick, great way to illustrate how high density isn’t automatically slumtown. One consideration is that these are all a bit ‘designy’ places that might not sit well with white bread kiwis, but I guess that’s a side effect of what you’re taking the photos for in the first place.

    Any chance of seeing another route from the outside and the street? After all it is perhaps the fear of what high density could do to their neighbourhood that scares the folks who don’t know any better.

  • Gian

    Beautiful pictures, of course. I love where your mother lives, always wondered if they were apartments or just empty carparks like all quay street…
    So, nobody wants to leave in the city but still the rents are so high? How do you explain that?
    Finally going to live in the city myself from Feb, but it’s been hard to find a spot big enough and with a nice view, without having to sell both kidneys.

  • obi

    The cat in the fifth photo is kinda photo-bombing you by nudging the painting askew just as you press the shutter release.

    And your mum looks as if she has a keen sense of decorative style.

    • Cats are of course undirectable, but some certainly seem to know how to perform and turn it on for the camera.

      My Mother was one of two women to study Architecture at AK Uni in the 1940s so is an old modernist and certainly has style. But that doesn’t mean she’s always lived in the city, in fact my family moved out to Howick in 1960 and built the house I spent the first 18 years of my life in 1962. So really it’s fair to say that my parents lived long enough to be part of two clear macro trends: the move to the new suburbs in the post war auto boom and the return to the inner city this century. Perhaps they have always been a little ahead of each curve.

      By the way because of that early experience out in the ‘burbs I do feel qualified to discuss the merits and otherwise of that social order [I think if fact it total formed my pro-urban views], I am not so confident that others like John Roughan or Dick Quax are so qualified to talk about city living however….?

  • TimR

    I love this stuff. Real people, real lives, no politicised bu*****t commentaries. This is exactly the sort of visual, accessible story that needs to be unpacked for Aucklanders to understand as part of the Auckland Plan process. So much of what passes for “planning” is meaningless, inaccessible tosh – we desperately better approaches to describing possibilities than words and maps.

    Reminds me of a great book I read recently, telling the story of how Australia came to embrace apartment living, photos of how areas changed over time, and the stories of people living in them now. Great book, I got it frm the AKL library system:

    http://books.google.co.nz/books/about/Homes_in_the_sky.html?id=oDRUAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

  • Christopher T

    “My Mother was one of two women to study Architecture at AK Uni in the 1940s so is an old modernist”. The other was Lil Chrystal who is still practicing architecture. After leaving AUC she worked with some of the great modernists including Ernö Goldfinger in London, 1951-52; and André Sive (Andras Szivessy) in Paris, 1952-53. And on returning to Auckland she and her husband David chose to live in the city in a wonderful, now sadly demolished, 19th century cottage in Airedale Street (there’s nothing new about the Council’s supine connivance on the demolition of the Paget Street cottage). The Chrystals were pretty much alone in their thinking that living in the city was a viable option; in Auckland, from the 1920s onwards, the received idea was that only prostitutes and intellectuals would choose to live in apartments. It seems that Quax, Ralston, Hopkins, Farrer et al aren’t able to see beyond this particularly myopic provincial view of life in an urban environment.

  • Superb illustration of how downtown living can be really attractive. Reminds me quite a bit of this article that was recently in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/opinion/the-death-of-the-fringe-suburb.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22fringe%20suburb%22&st=cse

    It will be interesting to see where the market takes things over the next few years. If we’re anything like the US, it won’t necessarily be business as usual.

  • Cornelius

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing these. It’s something I have been hoping to see more of an should hopefully help start to dispel all the myths about High Density living. One of my submissions to the AKL plan was to better showcase what High-D living can actually mean through say show-homes, local and international showcases etc.

    Slightly biased as I live in it, but one more exemplary city residential building to add is St James apartments. Descent sized units, high quality build and good looking to suit.

  • Don’t suppose you have a phone number for the Courtville flatmates :-)

    • Patrick R

      Err? That’s your best comment, David?

    • James F

      Ew. People have the right to exist without your sexual objectification, tyvm.

      I love all the apartments in this post, shows just how glamorous inner-city living can be! I also think this post serves as a reminder that within our inner cities we need to be creating spaces where families can happily exist. I also have a real interest in rooftop greenspace and whether we can legislate to force developers to include things like rooftop gardens etc, that will have positive impacts like lowering inner city temperatures, insulation, water collection etc.

      Thoughts?

      • Patrick R

        Well I think if we can get the planning incentives right for apartments in general, like the plan proposes, then the market itself is likely to respond to these kind of desires. Looking at the improvement in medium and high density buildings in Sydney and Melbourne once the regs changed and the markets there heated up shows that this is likely. People will pay more for better location and amenity, so in a more mature market better design will be more profitable. But only if we help by incentivising the sector as a whole, or at least reduce some of the barriers- like parking minimums.

    • Bbc

      Jeez get a life and a reality check whilst you’re at it David.

  • Peter in Sydney

    An interesting post. Only two years ago I moved from a house with a yard (grass and plants to look after) to a 2Br.flat adjacent to my great interest which is the railway. I am often asked if I am still happy with that move. The answer is always a yes. As an aside it is interesting that those of you good enough to continue this excellent blog are also morphing it slightly towards the other excellent but now ceased AKT blog. How, you ask? More pictures. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to come and ride your first (what are they going to be called?) electric trains.

  • Stuart H

    Patrick have you ever considered some kind of public exhibition of photography along these lines? I think it could be fantastic and timely to stage something that cuts across the dehumanised discussions of statistics and political rhetoric to focus on peoples lives in Auckland today and the choices they have already made …

  • For most of the 1990s I lived in Windsor Towers (same street as the Courtville Apartments, but with 270 degree harbour views) when our street and a few others were the only ones ‘inhabited’. The lack of amenities was atrocious – nearest supermarket was in Newmarket – but we loved it, especially coming from a similar living situation in Europe. We escaped to Waiheke Island when the view was built out by a 17 storey monster block next door.

  • bronwyn

    Having lived in the city for five years, I’d like nothing more than to keep living here, but the reality is, as some other commenters have mentioned, that finding a decent sized apartment (and I don’t even mean especially big – around 80square metres would be fine!) is really very difficult, and a testament to the fact that historically many many councillors and planners don’t understand/care that the first step in building a thriving inner city is a mix of housing stock. From that comes a mix of residents, all wanting different local amenities. It is unbelievable that the inner city lacks services like greengrocers, bakeries or delis, or even good places to get dinner after 9.30pm at night. I can only assume that there just isn’t enough people who live in the area who want these things, whilst clearly there are enough people eating Big Macs to keep several McDonalds in business on Queen St.

  • Grum

    Are any of these buildings sit on freehold land?
    Body corp, building management, yuk!
    I guess the moral of the story for City appartments in the Wynyard Quater area is to to stay away.
    At least when you have the quarter acre you get the escalation of the land value without the spanking of increased ground lease increases.

    Really good photos, you obviously have an eye for a good shot

    • Well my mother’s is freehold, can’t talk to the rest. Anyway the point of the post is that this life suits many but of course not all…equally: lawn mowing, burglars, maintenance, rates bills: Yuk!

      And the thing that seems very hard for some to grasp is that the Draft Plan does not propose the destruction of Auckland’s existing housing stock, so there will be plenty of suburbia for you yet Grum. And thanks for the kind words.

  • Bob

    Did anyone read Bill Ralston’s article. Did he have a brain explosion? Incredible.

  • Jonathan

    Back in 2004 I was being enticed to uproot my life in London and move to Auckland because a friend of mine wanted to return to his native New Zealand.

    Looked at several apartment blocks in the CBD/Port Area including the Precinct in Kitchener Street (which at the time had yet to be started on site).

    Thanks but no thanks.

    Whilst the public transport has marginally improved since then (Nats notwithstanding) and the train frequencies are further increasing from this coming March many of the above comments again vindicate my reasons for not wanting to move.

    Anyway my friend now hates being in the ‘city’ if living in an apartment on Stanley Point can be described as such and is moving to a new build architect designed single storey house on a FIVE ACRE(!) plot east of Manaku.

  • About the only places in Auckland with leasehold land are Quay Park, the Viaduct Harbour and Beaumont Quarter in the CBD. Presumably Wynyard will be the same. But the vast majority of high density housing in the city and Auckland in general is freehold.

    My apartment is freehold and I have reaped the benefits of an increase in the value of the land it is built on. I certainly do pay body corporate levies but at $35 a week it is worth it to have the paths swept, the gardens maintained, the garbage taken out, the hallway cleaned, the building waterblasted each year etc. I couldn’t count on my tenants taking care of the household maintenance and I’d rather not have to do it each week either.

    Personally I hate mowing lawns, gardening and doing maintenance, but I do know that my father relishes in it. Even among high density housing there is a whole spectrum of options, from townhouses and duplexes with large lawns, through to terraces with compact courtyard gardens and tower apartments with only a few potted plants balcony to worry about.

    Patrick, further to not destroying the existing housing stock, the Draft Plan actually specifies 140,000 new detached houses be built in the next 30 years even under the most intensive scenario. It is laughable to read the likes of Ralston and co suggesting we’ll have citizens frog marched out of their houses and into high rises, when the plan proposes to increase in the number of separate houses from 385,000 to 526,000!

    • Ta, Nick, exactly! I should have mentioned that too.

      Beaumont Quarter is now freehold, the land was offered to the leaseholders and as far as I know the holding company was wound up….

  • Amy

    Wow – beautiful photos – thanks for sharing. I can’t believe that Bill Ralston doesn’t know that almost all the housing in his area is heritage and protected. Although, having said that, there are plenty of sites in the isthmus heritage areas which could be redeveloped as high density. For example, the car yards on Great North Road between Newton and Bond could go (and probably would) if the economic case for redevelopment as apartments was strong enough. On another note, I always find it amusing that so many people who live in Grey Lynn spit at the idea of flats, or any type of redevelopment that is higher density. But I suspect that the main thing which makes Grey Lynn village “work” in terms of having lots of people on the streets and enough customers to keep (all those) cafes going is the nice sets of apartments that run down Richmond Road.

    • Thanks Amy, exactly right. Intensity of habitation also means intensity of economic activity….. which means jobs, variety of services, and, of course, wealth. Why are all these right wingers trying to fight that? They don’t understand and are being played, basically. Our own little Tea Party moment, people fighting against their own interests.

    • “For example, the car yards on Great North Road between Newton and Bond could go (and probably would) if the economic case for redevelopment as apartments was strong enough.”

      That’s exactly the corridor that is identified in chapter 8 of the Auckland Plan for the intensification of that part of town.
      That’s what pisses me off about Ralston and the like, they haven’t even read the plan, they just regurgitate their fellow ignorant commentators scaremongering.

      • Geoff Houtman

        To be fair to Bill- Freemans Bay is under siege right now- 18 Paget, 6 Hepburn etc

        Regarding GNR- exactly- perfect place to do the AK plan upzone, but who are the idiots who allowed Giltrap et al to fill it with flasher and flasher car yards?

        • Patrick R

          I’ll be fair to Bill when he stops writting such lazy and inaccurate crap. There will never be a tower block on the site of that cottage. And come on Geoff, I’d rather that building was moved and kept intact than buggered by a new addition that cannot help but be neither good new design nor an actual Victorian building… This is one that I think could go, but go elsewhere. Seems it was moved onto its current site, so I’m happy for it to move again.

          • Geoff Houtman

            Just between the two of us Patrick- I could live with a two storied Victorian or Edwardian beauty there. But what would go in would almost certainly be a glass and concrete monstrosity of gargantuan proportions.

            When will “replica” stop being a four letter word in Urban Design and architect land? It could be a useful tool for ending some of these stoushes.

          • Bryce

            That is a very good point Geoff. While in Germany it was pointed out that there are a lot of ‘replica’ terrace houses – old looking facade but brand new behind.

          • Geoff Houtman

            Bryce- exactly. It’s no different to the “blowing out the back” that has been going on for years, and if it can’t be seen from the street- who cares?

            Villas are an excellent house form, adaptable to changing needs and timeless in their beauty.

            Maybe it’s time to get something into the Urban Design Compendium before it’s locked off?

          • Bryce

            You’ll love this Geoff. Recently some friends built a brand new ‘bay villa’ in Greenhithe but in the consent process got pulled up by the decorative post on the peak of the roof not meeting height / boundry rules (I cannot for the life of me remember what they are called). Eventually, they managed to get some council rep to see sense but not without a fight.

          • Geoff Houtman

            Finial? Lightning rod type thing?

            Yeah, good on them for doing it. As to the Council- the Design Compendium is to be completed by the end of this year. If it’s anything like the Auckland Plan it’ll have very little, if anything, about Heritage.

            Still, time to get it fixed.

            And congratulate your friends for me, that bay villa will surely stand the test of time…

          • Bryce

            Ahh, finial. Yes that’s it. A sky dish was ok because that wasn’t part of the ‘house’ :-).

          • Patrick R

            Replica!? Nightmare, not much worse in my book, faux, false, and bogus. I repeat the city is not and should never be a museum. What about future heritage? Good 21century architecture is part of the city’s future rich palette. I don’t want a city that has pretended to stop. You want a villa Geoff, buy the real thing, not a plastic knock off.

  • Fantastic post Patrick. I’ve pointed this out over at Kiwiblog, but what I don’t get is the obsession Government and media have with the median house price. It is the median dwelling price that is more of interest. By increasing the number of apartments and higher density housing, the median dwelling price should fall.

    • Patrick R

      Really good letter in Te Herald this am from a young mother pissed off at being told by well-off middle aged men that she doesn’t want to live in an apartment. She does.

      • bbc

        Patrick where exactly is the apartment located in the last photo, is it one of those that line the motorway offramp in Grafton, the ones that were recently reclad? If it is, they’re certainly nice inside that they appear from outside.

        • Patrick R

          Newton rd, the Ponsonby Rd end. Good point, as that’s the thing about apartments, they can often be little private gems in an otherwise tough outside world. Secrets often too. So many of the people that decry them have clearly never been in one, and judge the quality of life with in them from their own take of their exteriors.

          Those suburban McMansions make me shudder but I’m sure it’s possible to live a full rich life within them too …. Possibly…maybe, d’ya think?

          “in my bedroom in those ugly new houses, I danced my legs right down to my knees” -The Smiths

          • bbc

            Those apartments have certainly improved since being re-clad, but their exterior design has always been pretty average and unfortunately that’s what a lot of people imagine their streets will be filled with when they hear terraced housing. In comparison the terraced housing such as that on George Street in Newmarket has a lot more character.

    • Patrick R

      Cameron the running on this is by sprawl developers, Ralston, Farrar, Quax, etc are just their foot soldiers, knowingly or otherwise.

  • Matt L

    Great post Patrick – I think it is really important to show people what good quality apartments can look like as far to often when the word apartment comes up the impression tends to be the tiny shoeboxes designed for students. Decent quality two bedroom apartments around the 80sq m mark are very liveable and if we can get more like that and can show the general public them in an honest assessment the then it will start to make a big difference to peoples perceptions.

  • James

    “That’s what pisses me off about Ralston and the like, they haven’t even read the plan, they just regurgitate their fellow ignorant commentators scaremongering.”

    The thing that frustrates me is that lies/mistruths/misunderstanding, if repeated enough, become accepted as truth simply through repetition.

    Cos, y’know, Auckland is simply too spread out, too low-density, and too full of car-loving kiwis who love large sections for public transport to ever work properly

  • Lindsey

    Finials are like chimneys and aerials, not counted for Height in Relation to boundary purposes.

    My partner and I want to retire to an apartment somewhere in the CBD. Safe, secure, no lawns or things to maintain and lock up and leave for when we want to travel. Why do these righties hate the idea of people having housing choices?

  • Anton

    But doesn’t Paula Ryan’s bum look huge in the mirror…?

  • I’m glad you made the transport reference…”indicative of how deeply imbedded auto-dependency is in our institutions”. When Jan Gehl was in Auckland he made the point that the Auckland CBD is more densely populated than most imagine. It coulde be such a perfect environment for getting around by bicycle.

  • Boris

    Important discussion… I grew up during the 60′s living in a 2 storey square fronted villa in Freemans Bay when it was regarded as a slum, progressed to an attached 2 storey State house in Glendowie, then on to a traditional 2 storey 3 bed 70′s bungalow on a 1/4 acre section also in Glendowie, 2 storey townhouse in Mission Bay, the original Smales Family beachfront homestead on an acre of land in Campbells Bay, back to a 2 storey townhouse in Kohimarama & now a bungalow in Mt Eden. Have also lived in medium rise & high rise apartments in Chile. Enjoyed living in each housing style for different reasons at different times in my “life cycle” and I have been in and out of a lot of houses/apartments all over the world.

    Kinda figure I may have learnt just a tad about the pro’s & con’s of different housing styles along the way.

    There is nothing to fear in well designed, properly specified & well built apartments in the appropriate locations with access to good public transport, amenities & services. In fact there is much to be applauded.

    That said, if they continue to build to minimum spec & spit out trash flat roof leaky developments….then there is justifiable reason for concern.

    Our national DIC mentality is what we have to overcome. We aren’t a DIY mation we are a do it cheap nation. That’s that’s the real issue we have to overcome

  • Aucklandmedic

    Great post. The health benefits of intensification need to also be recognised.

    • Patrick R

      Good point, cities with more walkable neighbourhoods, and fully supported PT, walking, and cycling infrastructure consistently have better health outcomes. Every PR user is a walker too, basically any movement not in a car is helping your, and therefor the whole community’s wellbeing.

      Be good to see research that you may know about Akmedic?

  • Simon

    Quite apart from the plan and the arguments for and against density, there is also vicious circle affecting apartments: the stuff that’s getting built is crap. The reason it’s crap is because you can’t borrow to buy them, so there’s no incentive to build good ones.

    Because what no one is talking about in this debate is the lending policy of the big banks.

    I’m a case in point. I’m 31, single, I had a good year, scraped together a deposit and went apartment shopping. I didn’t much feel like leaving the inner suburbs. I found a really nice apartment I really liked. It had good light and a big balcony and a high stud and a big park across the road. It was built post-leaky, the price was right and I thought: yes. The bank wanted a 30% deposit, plus security over my parents’ place. I gave up and bought a house on minimum deposit in the suburbs.

    • Terrible story Simon… the MSM only talks about ‘housing’ and clearly the banks also can’t get their heads around the strange desire to live centrally in an apartment.

    • James B

      Unfortunately a lot of banks got burnt by people over leveraging on investment apartments. When the economy tanked and people couldn’t pay the mortgage on these the banks had to sell them by mortgagee sale. They then discovered that the price of the apartment had dropped below the value of the mortgage thus the bank lost money on the deal.

      I agree that something needs to be done to get banks to lend on apartments again. It’s just another way that young people are being hung out to dry in the property market. After all this type of housing is attractive to households without children and those are the exact people who are unable to afford to buy due to situations like Simon’s. I’m in a similar situation I would love to buy an apartment yet because of bank policies it is impossible for me to buy without saving a huge deposit equivilant to two or three times my salary. Ironically I could buy a more expensive house in the burbs without any issues thanks to 5% deposit mortgages.

  • J-bot

    I used to live the Endeans building (picture one) a few years back, probably in the cheapest apartment in there, but that place was great in all sorts of ways. And a tip for your mum (and you) – I used to park all night and most weekends in the 10 minute parking on Tyler St. next to Britomart, and I never got a ticket. It was a while ago, but I think the parking guys still ignore it, since whenever I’m back in Auckland I still park there without any issues.

    I also lived in a great place in Eden Terrace in that pocket between Upper Queen, Newton Road and the King’s Arms in apartments above a large commercial space. Huge and relatively soundproof two bedroom with two secure carparks, ensuite in the main bedroom… if Auckland developers keep building apartments like that, there should be no problems.

    If it was easy to find apartments like that at reasonable rents, I’d move back to NZ/Auckland in a heartbeat.

  • Ana Hancock

    Loved your photos! Thanks.

Leave a Reply