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9 Jul 2018
Apartments: Who’s Buying Them and Why? Part 1 of 3. The Downsizer

As more people snap up apartments, we look at the reasons why.

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In New Zealand main centres, apartment living is a fast-growing trend, particularly for baby boomers. The pull towards the convenient locations and urban, cosmopolitan lifestyle that apartment living offers are taking priority over home size, contributing to some of the factors
driving the shift. The benefits are easily visible with security, shared facilities, sociability and ‘a less is more’ lifestyle.
Over the past decade, there’s been a significant rethink of cultural ideals as to what constitutes a Kiwi home. Driven by rising property prices and a changing employment landscape, the transition from house to apartment is one that’s gaining momentum.
It’s a mix of ‘downsizers’, first-home buyers, and investors that are leading the charge and inspiring other Kiwis to rethink their approach to home ownership. Here, we profile three apartment buyer types.

The Downsizer:

For many, it’s an exciting transition; a chance to start afresh and free up time and money to pursue dreams that may have otherwise been unobtainable.

No longer is the apartment lifestyle seen as the domain of young city-slickers. An increasing number of more mature buyers are capitalising on the benefits of downsizing. Empty-nesters and those looking to utilise the equity in their house are opting to sell up and move into high-quality apartments that are more tailored to their lifestyle.
For many, it’s also an acknowledgement that sometimes less is more. Whilst a large home may have catered perfectly to your needs thirty years ago, priorities change.

Some downsizers find they no longer need all the space of  a free-standing home, whilst others don’t want to be bound  to the constant upkeep of a large property. For those with
plans to travel, purchasing an apartment they can lock up and leave is ideal.
Stonefields, Auckland’s newest central-eastern suburb is a good example. The thriving master-planned community offers a mix of apartments and houses, designed to provide
residents with access to cycling and walking tracks, a range of convenience stores and healthcare services.

Shared gardens, social groups and a secure and friendly  community are some of the reasons downsizers are  choosing to buy an apartment in the sought-after suburb.
It’s also a chance to farewell those bits and pieces you’ve  accumulated over the years, most of which are no longer needed or used. Culling and simplifying or purchasing new
pieces for an apartment space can be a liberating experience.

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15 Nov 2017
Stonefields Apartments - Bellus Purchasers Move In

Bellus Apartments, the latest apartment building in Stonefields, has now completed construction and all purchasers have settled on their apartments.

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Residents have moved into their new moves which were built by Kalmar Construction and designed by award winning architects, Warren & Mahoney.

To view images of the completed building please visit bellus.co.nz

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14 Mar 2017
Apartment Life

WHEN DAVID AND JULIE decided to sell their 280 square metre architecturally designed home to purchase an apartment, some of their friends thought they were crazy. Almost two years later, some of those same friends are considering a similar move.

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The couple decided to purchase the 117 square metre property in the Altera Apartments in Stonefields after admiring the development of Auckland’s newest eastern suburb. As the couple moved towards retirement, it was becoming more evident that maintaining their large home in St Johns Park wasn’t conducive to their plans to travel, nor the lifestyle they sought.
“We really wanted to downsize to something that we could lock up and leave as we wanted to be free to travel and enjoy our retirement without having to worry about leaving a large house empty while we were away.”

David and Julie were most impressed by the design, layout and standard of the apartment that they purchased from the plans just three days after viewing them. This meant they were able to secure their preferred location in the complex and personalise various features in the spacious three bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

“We had 18 months to plan for the move while the apartment was being built,” says David, “It was terrific fun as we had plenty of time to think about how we wanted to furnish the apartment.”

The couple decided to start from scratch, working with professionals to design and build custom made furniture, ensuring that they achieved exactly the look they were after.
The purchase also marked the beginning of a large scale cull of their household contents, which had accumulated over many years.

“It was a truly liberating experience,” says Julie. “You don’t realise until you go through the process of downsizing that you actually don’t need a lot of what you’ve got. Often you’ll stumble across bits and pieces that haven’t been used for years. The move was a great opportunity to start from scratch and keep everything simple and clean.”

The couple were both born and bred in Auckland and had always lived in Auckland’s eastern suburbs. They ran a successful website development business which they sold around the same time as they decided to transition to apartment living.

“When we were living in our home in St Johns Park, there were some days when we would never see anyone, but here you bump into people all the time and it’s great having that social aspect,” says Julie. “There’s a gardening group that you can get involved with and we’re growing herbs, fruit and vegetables that we can all share. It’s just enough for those who want to do a bit of gardening without being held hostage by a large garden that needs constant maintenance.”

The couple adore their apartment and the lifestyle it affords. They believe the kiwi dream of the house with the quarter acre section is changing as the perception of apartment living changes. “Some people have visions of cramped quarters, noisy neighbours, and feeling hemmed in, but whenever we have visitors, they often comment on how it doesn’t feel like an apartment at all.”

One visitor who had been slightly sceptical about their move to an apartment changed her mind when she first saw the couple’s new home, says David. “About six months after we’d moved in, we went to an open home for one of the apartments that was up for resale and low and behold, who did we see? That same visitor and her husband were there with tape measure in hand seeing if their existing furniture would fit into the apartment!”

In both New Zealand and Australia, apartment living is a fast moving emerging trend, particularly for baby boomers. The pull towards the urban, cosmopolitan lifestyle that apartment living offers, together with location taking priority over size is one of the factors driving the shift. The benefits are easily visible with security, shared facilities, location and ‘a less is more’ mind set cited as the main motivators.

With supermarkets, cafes and shops only a few minutes’ walk from their apartment, David and Julie are thrilled with their new apartment lifestyle. The nearby wetlands, walking and cycling tracks are also well utilised by the couple. “We would highly recommend apartment living to anyone wanting to simplify their lifestyle. The process that we’ve gone through means we can also share our insights and experience with others considering a similar move.”

“If you’re downsizing from a house, don’t try and work out how to fit all your furniture in. It’s about decluttering... You’ll find that you don’t actually need much of what you have stored away. Also make sure you consider where the apartment is located in the complex.” That was one of David and Julie’s first priorities; their apartment is on the top floor with panoramic views as far as the Coromandel on a clear day.

The couple are enjoying the many benefits that apartment living offers. Becoming part of a built-in community is just one of the perks that they enjoy. “Sharing common areas with others allows you get to know your neighbours and for those who are on their own, that can be very reassuring.”

For many who are purchasing apartments over houses, it’s also a chance to be closer to the inner city and shorten their commute to work. Apartment living is also becoming an increasingly popular ‘green choice.’ More people can fit into less space and less space means less room for unnecessary clutter or purchases.

All of the benefits of apartment living can be found at Stonefields, a rich village environment in an already established urban area. 

When completed, Stonefields will have approximately 2,500 high-quality homes in a variety of styles that cater to different demographics and different lifestyles.

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1 Mar 2017
The Art of the Kid Friendly Cafe

NAVIGATING CAFÉS with children in tow can be a tricky business. There’s cafés where kids are accommodated and then there’s kid-friendly cafés where they’re truly welcomed.

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Those without the kid-friendly status can be stressful, with the odd glare or ‘tut-tutting’ from café regulars, averse to any kind of child-related noise. Feeling unwelcome in cafés, especially for those new to parenting, can become an all too familiar feeling. The transition from your favourite cafés to one that is truly family-friendly can be challenging.

Search for kid-friendly cafés online and you’ll see that Charlie & George café is putting some of these practices into action. Known as one of Auckland’s best kid-friendly cafés, families and children are welcomed with equal enthusiasm.

There’s an art to running a successful kid-friendly café, says Davinder. “Pre-empting the needs of all patrons and making sure the staff are ready with meal suggestions for kids helps make the whole experience more enjoyable.”

Mouth-watering favourites at Charlie & George include the banoffee smoothies, karma-cola spiders, buttermilk pancakes, blueberry waffles and tasty bacon butties.

Charlie & George is located at Stonefields, a central-eastern suburb in Auckland. Stonefields is a friendly place for people to explore after their pit stop at the café. This master-planned community offers residents and visitors extensive walking trails, cycling tracks, wetlands and parks with playgrounds to enjoy.

You'll find Charlie & George at Stonefields Market, 38-60 Stonefields Avenue, Auckland.

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27 Feb 2017
Stonefields Apartments - Verto Purchasers Move In

Verto Apartments, the latest apartment building to be built in Stonefields, has now been completed and settled.

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Residents have moved into their new homes which were designed by renowned architects Warren & Mahoney and built by Kalmar Construction.

Given the intense interest in Stonefields, 8km from Auckland CBD, planning is underway for for the next 2 apartment projects.

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