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The Waterview Connection will start in early 2012 and take 4 years to complete. It is scheduled to open in 2016. Most of the new road will be tunnel with the longest surface section connecting the tunnel to the existing motorway at Mt Roskill. I've focused on the surface section in the image below as this has the biggest negative impact on property prices in the area, but has also created some good buying opportunities.
Owairaka is the low decile end of Mt Albert which then turns into Mt Roskill. It has a large number of state houses and the schools in the area are decile 2 and 3. This part of Mt Albert has been a late bloomer and only recently become popular due to first home buyers. Hendon Park will get a full makeover and services in adjacent streets may be put underground to improve aesthetics. The new motorway will divert traffic away from Hendon Ave, Blockhouse Bay Road, New North Road and Great North Road. The school zones for MAGS (Mt Albert Grammar) runs down Richardson Road so the streets further to the west (Hendon, Ennismore etc) are out of zone. They are in zone for Avondale College. See more on Avondale College below.
The increase in property prices in Mt Albert has pushed first home buyers into Avondale and New Windsor. If you look at a map of Auckland you will see that both suburbs are more central than Onehunga and north facing. When it comes to emerging suburbs all of the talk has been about Onehunga. I think Avondale Heights and New Windsor would give it a good run for the money! When buying in New Windsor be careful with Methuen Rd as this will look down over the new motorway. The impact will be more obvious when the road works start early next year. I have seen a property trader get stuck with a property at 188 Methuen Road. It has now been listed for 72 days and with more than 3 agents. He bought it for $385,000 and still has it listed for $439,000! It will be right next to the motorway, so hopefully the agent discloses the motorway or any new buyer does their homework!
Waterview has benefited from skyrocketing prices in Westmere and Point Chev, and its proximity to the city. Waterview was underrated for so long. It has had significant price appreciation over the past 2 years albeit off a much lower base than Point Chev. Waterview is extremely popular with first home buyers. However, current prices are starting to put full sites (650sqm) out of reach. The Waterview Connection will have minimal long-term impact on housing in the area. Waterview Primary is decile 2 but I suspect that will change quickly with the gentrification of the area. In my mind Wateview feels like it is fully priced already, but you might get a bargain if a property is poorly marketed or really run down. Developers seem to be on to anything subdividable and paying top dollar.
Avondale is a large suburb and has mixed demographics. My favorite part is Avondale Heights and I've purchased a couple of houses in the area. Avondale Heights runs up either side of Blockhouse Bay road. It is great value for money and has good long-term prospects. House prices are now creeping into the mid $500s. It has excellent access to city (similar to Waterview), it is north facing, close to the village and train station, and has minimal state housing. Avondale is an old suburb so also has lots of character bungalows and villas. The Waterview end of Avondale (which drops off to the right of Great North Road) is also popular. Houses on half sites are heading over $500,000. Schooling in Avondale will improve. Avondale Primary is decile 3. My view is that this will step up fairly quickly over the next ten years to decile 5 due to fairly rapid gentrification. New Windsor Primary is already decile 5 and is not zoned. Avondale College is zone 4. It has a role of 2,600 and is going through a $15m refurbishment. The school has a uniform, it is streamed, and it participates in the Cambridge exams. Metro ranked it 20th best in Auckland for University Entrance ahead of MAGS which it ranked 62nd. The Rosebank road and the New Lynn ends of Avondale have a lot more rentals and this is reflected in lower prices. I like the Rosebank Road side as it still has some nice character homes on full sites and is on the flat. It will do well longer-term.