This month, I’ve pulled out some of the data behind the RCG Development Tracker, to give a picture of the people helping to solve Auckland’s housing crisis. I’ve taken a narrow focus here – just looking at apartment developers, builders and architects – but they’re an important part of the solution.
Apartments are helping to provide more housing choice across Auckland, and that’s a good thing. As research from Colliers and others has shown, we’re starting to get apartments not just in the city centre, but in other places too – often with good access to nearby town centres and public transport. Some developers, like Ockham Residential, have specialised in these medium-density non-CBD apartments.
The “top 10” apartment developers in Auckland
First up, the top 10 apartment developers in Auckland, based on the total number of units:
Conrad Properties is the biggest developer by a country mile: they have almost twice as many apartments completed, under construction or being marketed as the #2, the University of Auckland. Lily Nelson is in at number three – that’s the company behind Sugartree, a three-building complex launched in the darkest depths of 2012 and still being completed. One building is finished, the second one is just about finished, and the third started construction earlier in the year.
A quick note on the university (and some other companies shown here and below, e.g. Unilodge) – these “student apartments” can be a bit tricky to compare with other apartments. Some of them might simply be single rooms, with a bed, a desk and not much else. These aren’t technically ‘independent dwellings’ like most apartments, which are self-contained and include bathroom and kitchen facilities. For the top 10, I’ve counted the number of single rooms as if they’re all individual apartments, but that could be seen as a bit overstated.
One more note – I’ve excluded retirement villages, but they could also be seen as some of the biggest apartment developers in Auckland. Most of the new retirement village units being built are apartments, and that’s a section of the market (and the supply solution) just like student apartments.
The “top 10” apartment builders in Auckland
Anyway, on to the top 10 apartment builders:
Kalmar is the biggest company here, followed by Hawkins and Dominion. These names, and the others on the list, are all commercial construction companies – they’ve always been involved in commercial construction, such as offices, shopping centres or hotels, which tends to be on a different scale than house building.
The “top 10” apartment architects in Auckland
As for the top 10 apartment architects:
Leuschke Group and Paul Brown & Architects have both specialised heavily in apartments in recent years, whereas many of the other companies on this list are simply major architecture firms. Ockham Residential is an interesting exception – they’re an apartment developer that also designs their own buildings, what economists call “vertically integrated”. The major retirement villages often do this too, and in fact Ryman and Summerset are their own developers, builders and architects.
So there you have it: the biggest 10 apartment developers, builders and architects in Auckland. Those three roles are the largest ones for apartments, but all sorts of other companies are involved too: engineering, planning, landscaping and more.
And the “top 10” are only a small fraction of the housing being built across Auckland. The RCG Development Tracker shows almost 6,000 apartments and terraces completed since 2012, 7,600 under construction and 3,300 being marketed. Plus there’s standalone houses and retirement villages, so you can more than double those figures.
But it’s still not enough, compared with Auckland’s population growth…