Shared Thoughts

March 24, 2013

Housing Affordability | Part 2 – Apartments

If Auckland is to be a successful compact city, it needs well designed dense living opportunities within a network of amenities provided by the city.

The Auckland plan may improve inner city amenity, but without lifting the standard of accommodation buildings, it will attract people to visit rather than live. Even if you treat an apartment as an extended bedroom, and the city as the kitchen, dining and living room, you don’t want to be left with a dingy, depressing bedroom that visitors will only brave while holding their breath.

Bad examples of apartments are a dime a dozen around Auckland. Poorly planned units make life a quiet struggle, and rather than contributing to street life, a vacuum is stretched across where the buildings hit the ground.

There are good examples around Auckland, to start with, Zone 23 by Avery Architects, at 23 Edwin Street, Mt Eden.
Developer –   Location Commercial
Contractor –  Macrennie Construction



Zone 23 is a mixed use development with offices on the ground and first floor, and three bedroom maisonette-style apartments above. Interior spaces are generous with double height volumes and large glazed areas protected by aluminum louvres. The interior and exterior living spaces are appropriately proportioned, and look to be finished to a high quality, life shouldn’t be a struggle here.


zone 23 sv1

At street level, the private vehicle seems to dominate. While the apartments have a generous terrace, and there is a small courtyard behind the buildings, pedestrian space is a little scant around the edge of the building. It also looks as if a misplaced foot on the accelerator could send you through an office window too. All up, Zone 23 is an attractive option for inner city living, but for who?

Based on the capital values on the Auckland Council GIS, the apartments range from $510k to $990k. At the lower end of the range, this is seven times the median household income for Auckland – affordable is a factor of three to four. This puts the Zone 23 apartments as affordable to the upper quartile, households earning $130k to $170k per year.

To see what is an “affordable” apartment is for Aucklands median income earning households, just look over the road from zone 23. A sad collection of plaster and pokey windows which comes in at approx $220k per unit. We must be able to do better than this!

Over the road from zone 23 p2

(Above, over the road from Zone 23) I would certainly be holding my breath in these ones.

Do you have a favorite apartment building? Are apartments affordable in comparison to stand alone housing?


Published by Alastair Mckenzie | Shared Thoughts are the views as written by the Author, not of the AAA.

Images sourced from Avery Architects website, and Google street view.


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