‘Cheaper than carpet’: huge blocks in housing estate market

A 3,200m² section of the seafront at Lyall Bay is just one of the options on the table for developers in Wellington, with hopes of increased density and more homes in mind for the area .  (File photo)

Rosa Woods / Stuff

A 3,200m² section of the seafront at Lyall Bay is just one of the options on the table for developers in Wellington, with hopes of increased density and more homes in mind for the area . (File photo)

A site in Lyall Bay costs $25 million. Or, if you’re looking for something cheaper and don’t mind clearing thousands of trees, there’s a rural block in Tawa for $6.5 million.

With 103,784 sq ft on offer, the Tawa property costs $52.99 a square – “cheaper than carpet,” the listing proclaims.

It is zoned rural and not covered by significant natural area restrictions – ripe for development. The listing says it is near “major schools, Tawa stores, hospital, parks, [and] close to the rail and the bus”, and has a potential of more than 300 housing units.

Wellington is in dire need of houses. However, development is looking to heat up in the area, as central government and Wellington City Council push for greater housing density.

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A section of 103,784 m² is for sale at Raiha St, Tawa, with the potential for 300 new homes.

Jericho Rock-Archer / Stuff

A section of 103,784 m² is for sale at Raiha St, Tawa, with the potential for 300 new homes.

Lyall Bay’s 3,200 sq m title currently spans three warehouses, retail space with covered parking, a 30-unit beach front motel – and the listing says it has “significant development opportunity”.

Wellington City Councilor Rebecca Matthews said the promise of more housing was always exciting.

“Our consent rates were lower per capita than the Chatham Islands,” she said. “We really need to improve our game.”

Closer to town, the Lyall Bay site is almost on the beach, close to Wellington Airport, a shopping mall, Spruce Goose and Maranui cafes, and public transport.

Most of the sites put up for sale, advertised as development opportunities, highlight their proximity to public transport.  (File photo)

KEVIN STENT / Stuff

Most of the sites put up for sale, advertised as development opportunities, highlight their proximity to public transport. (File photo)

The government and local councils have signaled in their preferred option for the transformative Let’s Get Wellington Moving public transport plan that the eastern suburbs are likely to be served by a bus rapid transit route.

However, most of the sites to be developed – including 2419 m² on Old Karori Rd and 2250 m² on Frankmoore Ave, Johnsonville – have been advertised as being easily connected by bus or train to the city.

Matthews said: “It goes to show that even when you’re not looking at the proposed rapid transit routes, overall, in the city of Wellington, you’re not that far from public transit.”

KEVIN STENT/STUFF

The fall in house prices accelerated in July, according to data from CoreLogic, with Christchurch also turning negative.

However, development opportunities along the Johnsonville line were stymied at a district plan council meeting in June, when Mayor Andy Foster proposed an amendment to remove that train line from the list of rapid transit.

Including it would have meant that buildings in its pedestrian catchment area would have been allowed to reach six stories, which would have been “a big change” to the face of the city. Foster said such a decision required more consideration.

Matthews had been disappointed with the change. Developments like this have made it clear that “we have not plucked this good fruit at hand”.

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