Two major sales that had recently taken place in New Zealand had shaken the Real Estate market.
Leading development company Todd Property Group surprisingly sold a number of its major land sections and projects to NZPropCo Ltd (NZPL). Also, part of Weiti Bay development in Auckland up for mortgagee sale was something unexpected to some of the small to medium size investors and developers previously purchased lots from this project.
On 2nd October, reported by David Haxton, editor of Kapiti News, Todd Property Group (TPG) has agreed to sell the majority of its land development and property investment assets to NZPropCo Ltd (NZPL). NZPL is a New Zealand-based investment company. It is majority owned 50 percent by interests associated with Templeton Group and 50 percent by interests associated with Tailorspace and Alvarium Investments. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of November.
The TPG assets included in the sale to NZPL are:
* Kapiti Coast Airport Holdings Limited including Kapiti Landings large format retail centre
* 68ha of coastal land at Ngunguru
* Former hospital site in Napier
* Long Bay including the newly built Long Bay Village retail centre
* Stonefields including the retail centre Stonefields Market
* Pegasus including the town centre
* rights to develop future stages of Ormiston Town Centre and Flat Bush School Road.
In 2017, Todd was granted a rule change under the District Plan which saw restrictions eased on what could be built on the land. It said at the time that only about 40ha of its 125ha site was needed for airport operations and the remaining 85ha amounted to “the single largest urban landholding in the Kāpiti district”.
Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan said on Wednesday he was not concerned about the future of the airport and the purchase was a “vote of confidence” in the district. “If you look at those people [NZPL] they are big players, one at least is a global player which means they have significant future interest in the investment of the Kapiti Coast.”
The Todd Property Group has been approached for comment. Its parent company is the Todd Corporation, one of New Zealand’s largest privately-owned companies, with its history dating back to 1884, and owned by members of the Todd family. The NBR Rich List for 2019 estimates the Todd family’s wealth at $4 billion. It is one of five billionaire families on the list. The Companies Office information, dated November 2018, shows 87 shareholders own Todd Corporation.
The other unexpected sales is the mortgagee sales of parts of the famous but controversial Weiti Bay Project.
Part of a controversial development in Auckland being developed by a marine reserve is up for mortgagee sale. Bayleys has advertised 33 residential lots and 33.5 hectares of development land at Weiti Bay, 25 kilometres north of central Auckland to be sold. The 860ha development has been the subject of protests over alleged environmental damage to the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve from “excessive sediment”.
The marine reserve consists of sandy beaches, rocky reefs, estuarine mudflats and mangroves and is home to the endangered New Zealand dotterel which nests on sand spits near the Okura walkway.
Development director, former Te Papa chairman Evan Williams, said the 33 sites lie inside a development of 150 sites at the seaward front of the property, of which 117 had already been sold and settled. Lots in the Weiti Bay development, which describes itself as a “sustainable, residential conservation project” are priced between $850,000 and $2 million. The original size of the development was compared to the size of Devonport and Bayswater put together.
Williams told Stuff in 2017 that his company, Williams Land, had always planned – and was committed to – keeping 80 per cent of Weiti Bay green, while only 20 per cent would be developed. When asked if the sale was related to the protests, Williams said “they haven’t helped, put it that way”. The sale was in order to resolve an issue related to the shareholding and landownership, and was not a “regular mortgagee sale”, Williams said. The land owner and development company were separate, he said.
Williams Land was the manager of the development company, Weiti Bay, and was assisting the lender with resolving issues with the ownership structure of the property, he said. The land is owned by Green & McCahill Holdings Ltd. The Companies Office lists two directors for the company, Michael Gerard Anderson and Tong-Kuang Liu, and seven shareholders. Six of those shareholders are Taiwanese, and one is listed as Orere Farms, the director of which is Michael Gerard Anderson.
Shareholders of Orere Farms share the same names as those listed for Green & McCahill. “It’s essentially an issue about the future direction of the property and the development,” Williams said. Development of the remainder of the property would probably be ongoing, Williams said.
Real Estate market does not instantly respond to such major but private sales, however, like earthquake happened under ocean, when people actually feel its power, it is normally too late for someone to react.
Small to medium size developers and investors would experience further uncertainty about the future of local real estate market since the leading players moved out of their expectation.
Fluctuation and rumors spread out quickly within some of the private circles of those smaller size players who had been affected.
Although media had brought a number of positive assumptions of next year’s Auckland real estate market, but it is too early and too over-confident to say that the market is showing any strong evidence to support.