31 Jan 2019

Tiny Ponsonby section ‘only $750,000’

From Checkpoint, 5:36 pm on 31 January 2019

Housing - or the lack of it - is set to be a burning political issue this year, with the government under pressure to deliver on its KiwiBuild policy after ditching its interim targets.

Yesterday Checkpoint took a look at some out-of-the-box housing options - a relocatable shipping container house - in the leafy hills of west Auckland.

Today Checkpoint presenter Lisa Owen headed off with cameraman Nick Monro in search of the emerging trend of tiny sections.

Watch their full report here:

In the heart of Ponsonby vacant residential land is rare, but in Vinegar Lane a 'for sale' sign is seen on a small 95sq metres section.

Real estate agent Craig Watkins said the section, which is 5m by 19m deep, would cost just $750,000.

"This section, believe it or not, might be the best priced section in the whole of the central greater Ponsonby area," Mr Watkins said.

"You build a 220sq metres townhouse on the site here, you know for under $2 million all up. You know $750,000 for a section sounds like a bargain."

He estimated it would need an additional $1 million on top of section price to build on the site and once done its market price would be reasonably valuable.

"It's certainly not at the lower end of the market."

The land is hard up against an apartment block, it's partly sectioned off with construction fencing, there's a portaloo and a few miscellaneous pieces of junk behind the wire.

While the section was as small as a car park, Mr Watkins said a better option would be to leave parking out of the design and opt for parking elsewhere or nearby.

"It's probably a better option to have this as a retail shop. You might want to live and work from home, in which you case you can purchase or lease a car park in the building next door," he said.

However, the buyer would also have to adhere to a design guide and not just vie for other options than building, like stacking shipping containers or parking a caravan.

"You must build per the guide, which is fairly onerous and rigorous but it means the outcome is high-quality and this sets things like the minimum stud height and every apartment must be at least 2.7m."

Next to it is an empty lot which could be considered as an informal car park, but Mr Watkins saw potential for five more sections in it.

He said the selling of sections was a trend nowadays and conformed to Auckland Council's plan.

"People are changing. The millennials are coming through, they don't want a section. They don't even know how to mow a lawn. They won't even know how to start a lawnmower," he said.

"So we're coming into a whole different generation of buyers, but what we've been specifically targeting here are the empty nesters where the kids have left home, they're rattling around on the big four-bedroom villa that needs a lot of upkeep an maintenance.

"It's the way of the future. This is a great concept to achieve the density that the council is looking for and what we're doing here we might end up with perhaps three units on the site, one per level."

A search online of similar land plots in west Auckland shows some at 150sq metres being on sale for $375,000 and upwards.