If you’ve been near Hobsonville Point recently you’ll have seen it’s going off and is currently a hive of building activity.
There was some very positive news this week about that would now be developed with twice as many homes as originally intended, especially some of the reasons as to why this has happened, which I’ve emphasised below.
The scale of one of Auckland’s newest big housing developments has now doubled, with Hobsonville Point dwelling dwelling numbers now rising from 2500 to 5000.
Demand for residences at the housing estate in Auckland’s northwest has been so strong that the numbers planned to be built there have been up-scaled.
Chris Aiken, Hobsonville Land Company chief executive, said instead of 2500 dwellings, around 5000 residences would now be built.
More land on the Waitemata Harbour had become available, the area had been prepared for greater density and demand was so strong that it was not only appropriate but also possible to vastly upscale numbers, Aiken indicated.
“Building 2500 [dwellings] was first planned about 10 years ago and there was a view of the market – Waitakere City Council and the Government said ‘we will allow for more density’ and they put in place ferry services, roads and employment zones and the market was there. The market came screaming along five years ago,” he said.
“The doubling is driven by market demand for smaller product and the capability of the master planning and infrastructure to deal with it. It was a visionary, enabling master plan,” Aiken said.
Decisions about rising numbers had been taken over a number of years, due to a combination of factors, he explained.
“The land was always capable of carrying that higher number. Five years ago, it was scaled up [from 2500] to 3000 when it became clear people would buy terraced housing. When we introduced affordable housing, it went to 3500 planned. It made sense to build more. And then with the advent of apartment typologies, that pushed it closer to 4000.”
It’s not the first and definitely won’t be the last but Hobsonville Point is a great example that many Aucklanders are quite happy to buy different types of homes, especially if they’re built and designed well. The old myth that “everyone wants a stand alone house and big section” is once again shown to be completely false.
Another big source of housing is new land that was planned to become a marine industry and then a film studio but for which neither eventuated.
However, an extra 1000 dwellings were added to the plans when a further 20ha became available due to a bureaucratic back-peddling.
After being lobbied heavily by the marine industry, a large slice of 20ha was ear-marked for those services, which failed to arrive. That land is now re-zoned for housing, which further contributed to the increasing dwelling numbers, Aiken said.
“Land which Auckland Council ear-marked for the boating industry – now we can built on it,” Aiken said.
Across most of the site, more apartments and terraced-housing would replace original plans for stand-alone housing.
This land is shown below along with the high level plan for how it will be developed.
With more houses going in, Auckland Transport are going to need to do a lot better with providing alternative options for transport in and out of the area. The ferry to the city is a good start but only runs a couple of times at the peaks on a weekday so is completely useless for anyone not working very specific hours. As an alternative, as currently planned in the new network, the main bus route through the area will link up Hobsonville Point with Westgate and Constellation Dr Busway station at which people could transfer for a bus to the city but the route is only planned to run every half hour. Further either direction is likely to have locations where the bus is subject to congestion until other projects built, such as the Northwest busway.