4

Ask the Market

Although the impact of the global financial crisis was felt sharply and immediately in the Auckland housing market, by 2012 the economy had begun a gradual regaining of its footing. AVJennings was well underway with delivering key infrastructure throughout Buckley precinct. Around 30 homes had been completed and sales were picking up. It was time to market the development more aggressively.

A research company was deployed to test several ‘brand propositions’ to find out which of Hobsonville Point’s qualities most appealed. The clear winner was the promise of proximity to the city, but a haven from it. Hobsonville Point’s brand promise became ‘Moments away, a world apart.’

Quantitative research gave us a benchmark which we could measure marketing efforts against. In 2012 the unprompted awareness of Hobsonville Point was 7%. In April 2015 it stood at 43%. Prompted awareness has shifted from 27% to 77%. In both cases these results are more than double the next highest competing development. This research continues annually to track awareness; what Aucklanders know about the development; what they think/feel about it, and how they know about it; so we know what marketing messages to emphasise and to ascertain which advertising and marketing channels are effective.

Success Strategy: Partnership Model

Hobsonville Point is split into five precincts: Buckley, Sunderland, Catalina, Village, and The Landing. To date AVJennings is responsible for the development of Buckley and Catalina, totalling 1,700 homes. We have purchased the land for these precincts in its entirety. We manage the complex demands of the consenting process with Auckland Council and we ensure the homes designed are high quality and designed to integrate with the streetscapes. We deliver infrastructure, services, neighbourhood streets, pocket parks, and landscaping to the specifications of the Masterplan. There are no bare land sales to end consumers.

The masterplan overlaid on the Hobsonville Point peninsula.

When AVJennings pitched and won the right to partner HLC in the development of Hobsonville Point in 2007 we brought with us five of the country’s leading group building companies to deliver product to the market. The Builder Partners were chosen for their potential to produce quality product at the scale and pace the development demands. Precincts are developed in stages and superlots of up to 40 lots are onsold by AVJennings to the Builder Partners. We manage the Builder Partners closely, coordinating the the quality of the design and build to ensure they deliver homes to the standard set by the Comprehensive Development Plan.

 

AVJennings brought experience of managing multiple builder partners in Australia to the project. This model wasn’t new to New Zealand, but the level of control the building companies were subject to was unusual. Delivering to a highly resolved Comprehensive Development Plan demanded a high level of design integration. AVJennings formed the bridge between the urban designers and the builders, encouraging them to adopt new and different typologies and operate at densities they were unfamiliar with.

 

For example one of our popular designs from Australia – a terraced home with an internal courtyard – was greeted with scepticism by the builders who felt it wouldn’t sell in the local market. Once the first row of eight were under construction they sold well. Today around 80% of Hobsonville Point’s homes are terraces.

Buckley A was the first precinct to get underway in 2007.

Terraced housing makes up 80% of the homes at Hobsonville Point.

By close communication with the Builder Partners we have built a spirit of collaboration which has led to a cooperative approach to marketing. Retail advertising has become a joint activity where all builders contribute financially to receive greater impact for their marketing spend. To have these fiercely competitive companies share information and collaborate on marketing reflects how completely they have adopted the project vision.

Hobsonville Point's Builder Partners collaborate on retail advertising.

Next week we look at the part design controls play in ensuring sustainable, energy efficient homes at Hobsonville Point.  Follow AVJennings on LinkedIn and find out more about this evolution of this exemplar development.