Ac­tive baby boomers want apart­ments

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Baby boomers are con­tribut­ing to rock­et­ing de­mand for apart­ments in Auck­land.

The lat­est build­ing con­sent fig­ures re­leased by Sta­tis­tics New Zealand on Jan­uary 30 re­flect the num­ber of apart­ments go­ing up in Auck­land.

In 2013 the num­ber of build­ing con­sents is­sued in New Zealand reached a six-year high with 21,300 new dwellings signed off.

In De­cem­ber more than 390 of the 473 apart­ments con­sented na­tion­wide were in Auck­land.

Vir­gil Roberts has been in the prop­erty busi­ness for 30 years and says his clients are no longer city slick­ers look­ing for a home close to work.

He is the brains be­hind The Xanadu de­vel­op­ment in Free­mans Bay, which is aimed at ‘‘ac­tive baby boomers’’ who want to live among like-minded 50-plus neigh­bours.

Mr Roberts came up with the con­cept about three years ago af­ter hear­ing count­less com­plaints from peo­ple who wanted to ditch cum­ber­some family homes but were not ready for re­tire­ment vil­lages.

The 62-year-old CBD res­i­dent says his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence of apart­ment liv­ing has been in­valu­able.

‘‘It’s for peo­ple in the savvy baby boomer age range. They’re my peers. We’re ac­tive ones.’’

Grey Power Auck­land pres­i­dent Anne-Marie Coury says tai­lor­ing apart­ments for over-50s is a bright idea be­cause there is a real gap in the mar­ket.

It dis­pels the myth that only stu­dents and poor peo­ple want to live in high den­sity ac­com­mo­da­tion, she says.

‘‘There’s a huge need there. A lot of se­niors are in big homes which are too hard to main­tain but they just can’t see an al­ter­na­tive.

‘‘We can’t just keep re­ly­ing on the idea that peo­ple can just get shut up in re­tire­ment vil­lages.’’

Iconic­ity manag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Reid says de­mand for apart­ments has been in­creas­ing in the past cou­ple of years. His com­pany is a large pri­vate buyer and seller of apart­ments in Auck­land city.

He says peo­ple look­ing to buy apart­ments to live in them­selves, in­stead of as in­vest­ments, are con­tribut­ing to the rise.

Ar­eas on the fringe of the CBD like Free­mans Bay, Grey Lynn and Pon­sonby are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar be­cause house prices are so ex­pen­sive, Mr Reid says.

‘‘De­mand has def­i­nitely come up and baby boomers seem to be the real growth mar­ket. A lot of peo­ple are now look­ing at it as a step up on the prop­erty lad­der to get a place of their own.’’

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Photo: LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Busy busi­ness: Vir­gil Roberts is work­ing on a range of apart­ment devel­op­ments in cen­tral Auck­land.

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