Boost for timber construction
partments in a showcase five-storey wooden building at Clearwater in Christchurch will be priced at up to $2.5 million.
The apartment building is to be constructed of engineered ‘‘mass’’ timber to demonstrate how these building materials can best be used in mid-rise buildings as part of a government initiative to boost the use of timber in construction.
Three of the apartments have already been sold off the plan at prices between $1.1m and 1.8m, the developer Clearwater Quays Apartments Ltd, part of the Red Stag group, said.
These prices are nothing unusual for Clearwater, where luxury lakeside properties can easily fetch more than $2m.
Red Stag has partnered with the Ministry of Primary Industries to deliver ‘‘Mid-rise Wood Construction’’, a four-year
$5m Primary Growth Partnership (GPG) programme.
The apartment building project is part of that.
Red Stag chief executive Marty Verry said construction would start in the second quarter of next year and the project would be completed in the first quarter of
2020. Naylor Love has been engaged to construct the building.
Mass timber was the term used to describe large glue laminated beams and cross laminated timber (CLT) panels.
They made for a lightweight, strong and fast building system, using components that were precision engineered at factories off-site.
He said the eight apartments ranged from 130 square metres to
The first three sold were two smaller ones at 130sqm which included a double garage and the other was larger at 230sqm.
The remaining apartments, including a penthouse, would be priced between $1.25m and $2.5m.
Verry said New Zealand was catching up with the rest of the world in using engineered timbers.
‘‘Globally, there has been rapid growth in the use of engineered timbers such as cross-laminated timber and glulam for construction.
However, New Zealand is behind other countries such as Australia, Austria, Canada, England, and the United States in adopting engineered and panelised timber for construction.
‘‘The whole project is a show case/case study on best practice and how to build with various timber solutions to achieve cost savings and the speed saving available from construction in timber,’’ Verry said.
Red Stag would cover the construction costs. MPI’s investment would cover design, collating and sharing information.
Verry said it would probably source the CLT from Nelson’s Xlam plant. Red Stag was still planning its CLT plant and it would not be ready in time to supply the apartment project.
Red Stag had not decided yet where to source the large glulam columns and beams.
Verry said it was hoping to use Red Stag timber for prefabricated braced framing and for that to be made at the Concision factory in Canterbury.
The programme included Red Stag developing a second mass engineered timber building in the North Island, likely to be a commercial building.
Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI, said engineered timber provided the opportunity for New Zealand to add significant value to its home-grown timber.
The Mid-rise Wood Construction programme aimed to substantially increase demand for engineered wood products in buildings, which would have flowon benefits across the supply chain.
‘‘This will create new regional jobs and renewed investment in forestry, processing, manufacturing, construction, and prefabrication. Achieving the programme’s goals will significantly advance New Zealand’s engineered timber industry,’’ Penno said.
If successful, the programme expected to deliver economic benefits of $115m by 2023, driven by a 10 per cent lift by 2023 in wood’s share of the multi-unit residential and non-residential construction market.
New Zealanders are still making plenty of money when they sell their homes, according to winter figures from property data researchers CoreLogic
The company’s latest ‘‘pain and gain’’ report shows that $3 billion in gross profit was made from house sales during the July to September quarter, and that 96 per cent of all properties made a gain.
The median gain was of
$180,000 per property. Only a few sales, just 4.2 per cent, made a loss over the same period, which totalled $29.9 million or about
$20,000 a property. CoreLogic’s head of research Nick Goodall said while many people would plunge the equity they made back into another property, the property market was still looking very solid.
‘‘The degree of pain in New Zealand’s housing market has been hovering around very low levels of 4 per cent each quarter for about two years.’’
Property values continued to grow across most parts of the country, except for Auckland and Christchurch, where they were flattening, and show that ‘‘few people want to push through a quick sale for a low price’’.
Since September, the property market has seen a couple of major changes, including the Reserve Bank’s decision to loosen the rules on loan to value ratios.
Another is the enactment in October of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which curtails the number of homes that overseas investors can buy here.
But November sales figures from the Real Estate Institute suggest that the usual spring bounce in house sales had occurred. October’s national median house price rose 0.5 per cent on the previous month to
$562,000, which was 6 per cent higher year-on-year.
Tellingly, the proportion of investors making a profit on resale was almost as strong as owner-occupiers at 95.4 per cent, which perhaps explained why there had not been an exodus of investors from the market. They were sitting on high values and yields based on much lower purchase prices, Goodall said.
If there was any sign of owners bailing out, Goodall said it was more likely in the apartment market. About 90 per cent of apartments sold at a price above the original purchase price, meaning 9.9 per cent were sold at a loss. That represented a bigger proportion of losses than house sales and a bigger median loss – about $27,500.
‘‘This shows that any market fatigue is more of a factor in the apartment segment, perhaps where buyers’ approach is more financially-minded and they are prepared to exit as soon as the sums don’t add up any more,’’ Goodall said.
In the long-term, the proportion of loss-making apartment sales had shrunk sizeably, from levels of 45 per cent in 2000 and 53 per cent in 2008, ‘‘so the current levels aren’t actually too bad’’.
Dunedin had the least amount of losses, with only 1 per cent of house sales taking a bath.
Christchurch’s figures remain weaker, with 13.4 per cent of resales making a loss, but much of that was because of the number of ‘‘as is, where is’’ sales after the 2011 earthquake.
An illustration of the five-storey apartment building to be developed at Clearwater in Christchurch to showcase mid-rise buildings using New Zealand-engineered and panelised timber.