It seems that the market for higher density housing is starting to heat up with news today that Fletcher Building has set up a special division to focus on building apartments.
Fletcher Building is making a big push into Auckland’s apartment development market, forming specialist new division Fletcher Developments this year to hunt down opportunities on big sites.
Graham Darlow, Fletcher Construction’s chief executive, said this was a new area of focus but Fletcher was not interested in building infill housing.
Instead, it wants sites where amenities can be provided, such as open space and reserves.
As Auckland demand shifts towards higher density homes, Fletcher decided to focus on that area and the formation of Fletcher Developments was a response to that and the general housing shortages in the city.
“Developments is focused on delivering carefully targeted, desirable, high-quality apartment opportunities within Auckland,” Fletcher Construction says on its website.
This is good news as one of the big issues we seem to be have is that most developers/builders are fairly small and simply don’t have enough scale and/or capital to pull off large developments. It also signals that large players like Fletcher definitely see a market for high quality, higher density dwellings which perhaps suggests they have started seeing purchasing trends change. I have heard recently that some builders are finding smaller dwellings selling much better than they expected
Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that they are not just looking for sites to build apartments on but ones where they can add value through additional amenities which indicates that they recognise that it is the amenities that are critical to improving liveability. Of course amenities need to be more than just a park or open area and most of those needed are unlikely to be able to be provided in a single development but instead would exist within a wider town centre.
In other apartment news, a crane has appeared on the skyline at New Lynn to start construction on the Merchant Quarter Apartments for which more than 75% of the apartments have already been sold. The building is located almost directly above the train station.
I get a very strong feeling that we are going to see quite a lot more developments springing to life in the coming years as we shake off the financial crisis. Not all will make it through to construction but it definitely gives me hope that we might start to see some good intensification occur. In a way you could say that Auckland is moving onwards and upwards.