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A closer look at Hobsonville Point – Auckland’s newest suburb

The new Hobsonville Point housing development on a former New Zealand Air Force base offers new insight into how Auckland’s urban landscape is evolving

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A closer look at Hobsonville Point – Auckland’s newest suburb

With urban house prices – especially in Auckland – making central-city living unachievable for many, house-buyers are turning their attention to the outskirts of major centres where large-scale developments are booming. Auckland’s Unitary Plan now allows for higher housing density so this seemed like the perfect time to visit a brand-new development and get an insight into how our urban landscape is evolving.

Hobsonville Point is a 20-minute drive northwest of Auckland’s CBD and was, until recently, a New Zealand Air Force base. It is being extensively developed – 750 dwellings are already built and there are plans for about 5000 in total. The project is being facilitated by the Hobsonville Land Company, a subsidiary of Housing New Zealand, and will take at least 10 years to complete.

The scale of the development might surprise you. Rather than just a subdivision, it’s a planned community. A decade from now, Hobsonville Point, with its harbourside location and attractive streets, could have 5000 residences (terraces, apartments and stand-alone houses), providing homes for 10,000-15,000 people.

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The land has been divided into precincts; Hobsonville Village, which only three years ago was working farmland, is one of those currently being developed. A total of 95 homes are planned here and they are selling at a rate of one to four a week. The first homeowners are due to move in later this month. A range of amenities is right on the doorstep, including a large park across the road, a bowling club, retail outlets, schools and a supermarket nearby.

With a desperate need for more housing in Auckland, the council is working with builders and developers to create ‘Comprehensive Developments’.

“These are new communities with a higher ratio of housing per hectare,” explains Andrew Olsen, regional sales manager for Mike Greer Homes Auckland. “They take into account amenity factors such as outdoor space accessible from the living area, parking and views from windows.” This approach delivers homes that are comfortable and well-designed places to live, despite the smaller land size.

Although there may once have been a fear of cookie-cutter homes and a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy, this seems to have been dispelled as buyers recognise the advantages of well-planned, higher-density communities.

In Hobsonville Village, developers have created housing types that cater to a range of buyers. These include two- and three-storey homes with two to four bedrooms.

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Although this development is still in its infancy, my first impression of these homes is that they are solidly built, stylish and contemporary. The Abodo timber cladding was a big plus for me – a great design choice that gives the exterior a high-end finish.

Additionally, as more people now work remotely, some of the homes have been designed with this in mind to include a front ground-floor room that could be used as an office or business premises instead of a bedroom.

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I was keen to learn how much input the buyer has into the home’s design and layout when buying off the plans. Because this is a Comprehensive Development, the exterior design, claddings and windows are all predetermined. As for the interiors, customers can often choose from a selection of colour schemes, with options for door styles and hardware, plus electrical and appliance upgrades.

A two-bedroom apartment at Hobsonville Village is around $650,000 and the cheapest four-bedroom, two-bathroom stand-alone house I could see across the development was under contract for $1.039 million. All village sites are freehold but there is an annual Residents’ Association fee for the management of the laneways and common garden areas.

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Comprehensive developments such as Hobsonville Point provide much-needed housing and blur the lines between rural and urban living. Although I struggle a little with the uniformity of such big developments, there are a range of designs on offer, and it is good to see many of the site’s original buildings are being kept to provide character and a link to the communities that came before.

Visit hobsonvillepoint.co.nz to view more housing options.

Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Emma MacDonald.

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