If you look around at the companies which are developing apartments in Auckland, or the ones who have in the past, you’ll see that most of them are private firms. This is a contrast from Australia, where there are a number of big, stock exchange-listed companies carrying out projects on a much bigger scale than anything we see here.
Apartment developers on the ASX include Devine Limited, Finbar Group, Payce, Abacus Property Group, PBD Developments, Cedar Woods, and Mirvac, who used to run some hotels here but no longer have any NZ interests. The biggest Aussie developer, though, is actually a private company called Meriton, which has “designed, developed and built more than 60,000 apartments across the east coast of Australia”.
The Stamford Residences on Albert St were done by Stamford Land Corporation, a big Australian company which is listed on the Singapore stock exchange. However, their focus is more on hotels – the apartments added to their existing hotel complex.
I’ve always found it strange that so few of these large-scale developers have made their way over to New Zealand. My guess is that some of them will, at some point. But then again, the lack of large scale, listed entities is also visible for traditional subdivisions here. There’s just one specialist residential developer on the NZX (CDL Investments), and of course Fletcher Building do quite a bit of development too. That compares to many more names in Australia.
An Interest.co.nz article from June also suggests that we could see more Australian developers setting up in New Zealand:
Australian apartment developers are taking an increasing interest in the Auckland market as they find it difficult to compete against huge Chinese companies on their home turf.
Bruce Whillans of commercial real estate agency Ray White Commercial Auckland, said there was growing interest in the Auckland apartment market from Australian developers, who viewed Auckland as a more attractive development proposition than Sydney or Melbourne.
“The difference between the Australian development market and the New Zealand development market is that most of the Australian developers have serious balance sheets,” he said.
However Whillans also expected to see a pick up in development activity from Chinese investors in this country, however it may not be from the same Chinese companies that are active in the Australian market.
Incidentally, one apartment project which seems likely to launch soon (it’s apparently already being marketed overseas) appears to be a private but well-established Australian developer, so perhaps this is becoming more of a trend.