Life in the new­est sub­urb

North Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - CRAIG HOYLE

Ryan Frost loves run­ning with his dogs, Juca and Lola.

The bea­gles are a new ad­di­tion to the fam­ily and would have been out of the ques­tion un­til the ac­count man­ager and his wife bought their first home in Hob­sonville Point last year.

He is among thou­sands of peo­ple flock­ing to Hob­sonville Point in West Auck­land fol­low­ing the Govern­ment’s prom­ise of af­ford­able hous­ing in the re­gion.

‘‘We were first-home buy­ers, and if it wasn’t for my Ki­wisaver we wouldn’t have been able to buy out here,’’ he said.

The brand-new sub­urb has rushed ahead at break-neck speed. En­tire com­mu­ni­ties have sprung up along roads that just a few years ago were a sleepy path to the lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­ket.

‘‘It’s the fastest-grow­ing area in New Zealand,’’ lo­cal prop­erty con­sul­tant Mike Bris­tow said.

‘‘I’ve been sur­prised that so many peo­ple have been at­tracted to the high den­sity of liv­ing in Hob­sonville Point. I was a bit wary at the start, but if you get good ur­ban de­sign, you can ac­tu­ally live in some fairly tight ar­eas.’’

That pop­u­lar­ity has come at a price, with prop­erty val­ues rapidly climb­ing past the govern­ment’s thresh­old of first-home af­ford­abil­ity.

Space is a pre­mium. Ter­raced cookie-cut­ter apart­ments line the streets like over­sized pieces of Lego, their at uni­for­mity rem­i­nis­cent of the white picket fence dream, ex­cept no­body here has space for a front yard.

In­door garages are of­ten turned into stor­age space – houses are cramped – and res­i­dents com­plain there’s not enough room for ev­ery­one to park on the street. But liv­ing in each other’s pock­ets isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing.

Lo­cal mum Amy Pat­tle said there’s a ‘‘mas­sive’’ sense of com­mu­nity.

‘‘Even though the homes them­selves and the yards aren’t re­ally big, there are lots of places within easy walk­ing dis­tance.’’

Like the sub­urb, the elec­torate it­self is brand-new, carved out for the 2014 elec­tion when pop­u­la­tion growth earned West Auck­land an­other mem­ber in par­lia­ment.

Lo­cals here share the same con­cerns as many other res­i­dents across the su­per city.

‘‘There’s a lack of pub­lic trans­port out here, and in Auck­land gen­er­ally,’’ Frost said.

‘‘That’s a big one for me.’’

DAVID WHITE/STUFF

Ter­raced apart­ments line the streets of Hob­sonville Point.

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