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Gentrification – The ultimate ingredient for above market capital gains.
Wikipedia describes gentrification as “the transformation of neighbourhoods from low value to high value”.
So how does this relate to us as property investors? Well to some of us younger investors it may come as a surprise that post WW2 until around the 1980’s prime areas such as Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and Herne Bay were considered slums, although they weren’t as bad as Grey Lynn. Parnell was originally a lower social area home to the dock workers and Glen Innes was practically built by Housing New Zealand to accommodate lower income families. Yet when we look at those areas now, Ponsonby, Parnell and Herne Bay come with million dollar price tags, whilst the others are considered decent suburbs. So what causes this and how can we use it to our advantage for the future?

Most people have heard of the ripple effect. When people are priced out of the suburb they want to live in they move into the suburb next door pushing up prices in that suburb. i.e.Changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities.” (Source Wikipedia)

In order to prepare for the future the best source is the city planners at the council offices. The council plans for growth and designs areas and suburbs with this growth in mind. By checking out the Auckland city council website and Transport Auckland a number of projects show the way that the council is planning on accommodating the 140 000 new people over the next 20 years.
To be known as the Tamaki Innovation Precinct, the precinct would attract knowledge and science based industries over a 20 to 30 year period.”  (Source Auckland City Council) Major players in the area are involved including Housing New Zealand who plans on getting more people into home ownership.

In my opinion the immediate areas to be effected are the south eastern areas surrounding Panmure. The whole area is to be greatly benefited by the councils Tamaki Transformation programme where the council is “promoting the ongoing development of a science based industry and research precinct in the business area at Tamaki.
Some current and future projects include:
Panmure: The Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) have taken a huge investment in the immediate Panmure area predicting a population growth of 20-25 000 people within 20 years they are rescoping the original Eastern Transit Corridor to open up the area for economic growth hoping to open up potentially 40 000 new jobs for the area. Current projects include “A new bus and rail interchange, getting more people onto public transport to free up roads for freight and business traffic, roading improvements focused on key congestion points like Panmure town centre and the Ti Rakau Drive/Reeves Rd and south eastern highway intersection, the AMETI strategy is to focus local journeys and public transport on the Panmure Bridge route. It’s intended that the Waipuna Bridge and the south eastern highway becomes the primary route for through traffic to Auckland central and freight/business traffic.” Source Auckland Transport

Mt Wellington
: The Stonefields development in the old quarry at Mt Wellington has already begun, adding housing for 6000 more families as well as shopping areas, a primary school and park lands. Mt Wellington has Ellerslie as a neighbour to the north and stands to be in a good place for those out priced by Ellerslie high median house price. Mt Wellington also the Sylvia Park shopping centre providing plenty of jobs, not to mention ease of access to the city via train and motorway links. Mt Wellington prices will no doubt start to increase in the north and spread its way to the south.

Glen Innes:
Glen Innes has already gone through one period of gentrification and shall soon see another one. Housing New Zealand has recently announced its proposed northern Glen Iness redevelopment plan that shall see HNZ redevelop 160 of its houses to create at least 260 new homes, of which 78 will be kept, with the majority of the remainder available for private sale. They also propose to modernise a further 40 state houses in the area. Neighbouring areas such as St Heliers, Glen Dowie and St Johns, Glen Innes is considered a decent suburb; however a lot of houses in the area are still old state houses now in private ownership. The next gentrification period should see the houses getting renovated or redeveloped, landscaping and subdivided. Glen Innes is on the train line and in easy distance or the east coast beaches.

Point England:
The council is undertaking a project to replenish the Point England beach with sand to create a nice beach at all tide levels. It is expected to be completed by the 2013-14 summer. Other beaches in Auckland that have undergone replenishment are Kohimarama, St Helliers, Pt Chev, Blockhouse Bay and Herne Bay.

Most of the council’s plans span a range until 2040 and gentrification is a slow process, however for those with buy and hold strategies, these suburbs could offer substantial deals for investors.