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By Gavin Lloyd

In recent years, the likes of New York, London, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, and Melbourne have seen a meteoric rise in the number of super-towers boasting luxury apartments, offering residents a heightened sense of opulence and breathtaking views over iconic skylines. 

These palatial, inner-city paradises have proved to be a major investment tool in an increasingly competitive global market.  

‘Safe-deposit boxes in the sky’

From the iconic twin-towered, 30-story Eldorado apartment complex on New York’s Central Park West, opened back in 1931, to, more recently, The Shard in London, the popularity of luxury apartments has increased in line with the rise in global wealth.

Larry Fink, chief executive of American multinational investment management corporation BlackRock, has gone as far as to say that properties such as these have replaced gold as the primary storage of wealth – for both individuals and corporations. 

They’ve been referred to as luxury ‘safe-deposit boxes in the sky’ due to the surety of their prestige, unrelenting popularity, and ability to yield returns. 

Auckland is growing up

More than 2,500 apartments were sold off the plans in Auckland last year, over 1,000 of them in the city centre. Supply is limited because very few Auckland apartments in the pipeline are still available, with only around 1,700 of the upcoming 8,600 units currently up for sale.

Just as we’ve seen in Australia’s major centres, Auckland is building upwards to combat an urban sprawl that continues to stretch city limits. 

The extent of population growth in the city has meant a traditional horizontal approach to residential development is no longer sustainable. It’s putting the onus on the need to grow vertically. With land at a premium, and the city in need of a reported 422,000 homes over the next 30 years, we’re headed towards a new era of apartment living. 

Demand likely to grow

The media’s reported that apartment developers are struggling to secure finance as banks tighten their lending criteria. 

Consequently, after the current wave of planned developments are completed, we’re likely to find fewer new apartments becoming available, despite a growing demand for them. So, the apartment stock that does become available in a few years’ time is then likely to sell at a premium – meaning there’s never been a better time to buy. 

The increasing demand and lack of supply are why property in Auckland is seen as a secure investment and contributes to New Zealand’s reputation with overseas investors as a safe haven. 

New Zealand’s tallest yet  

The highest of them all will soon be The Pacifica on Commerce Street in Auckland, a 54-storey, inner-city skyscraper, which will rise above the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour.

This luxury complex of 294 apartments and 40 hotel suites is set to become New Zealand’s highest residential tower. It offers a secure investment, luxury, and captivating harbour views that stretch as far as Great Barrier Island. 

Bespoke luxury

Construction on The Pacifica is due to begin in the next few months.

Interested buyers will have 34 different floor plans to choose from, among them one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus study, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse apartments. 

Each apartment has a luxurious interior, and a balcony or winter garden (or both) overlooking superyachts, cruise ships and boats on the harbour and Hauraki Gulf. 

Amenities include a lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym, cinema, library, residents’ lounge, and barbecue terrace. Twenty-four-hour valet parking will also be available. 

Its developers say The Pacifica will offer a lavish standard of living in a hip and trendy part of the city, among Auckland’s finest cafés, wine bars, and restaurants.

Buy in the sky

Prices for this slice of luxury range between about NZ$640,000 and around NZ$4.2 million, a snip compared to the sky-high prices for similar apartments in other cities around the world. For example, a penthouse at the Eldorado in New York reportedly sold for more than NZ$34 million recently. And the price tag on the penthouse at the Opera Residences in Sydney – Australia’s most expensive apartment – is NZ$27 million. 

New Zealand’s costliest apartment sale was the NZ$15.3 million paid in September last year for a penthouse at The International, in Auckland’s CBD.