Introduction

Investors are naturally cautious about what or who the property developer is. And rightly so.

That’s because when buying a property off the plans, you’re buying drawings on a page – and you need to have the confidence that the property developer can turn those drawings into a fully-built house.

So, in this article we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 property developers.

These are developers that we here at Opes Partners can stand behind, because we’ve worked with them and have seen the finished product.

Although we work with 58 property developers around the country, we’ve specifically chosen smaller developers who you probably haven’t heard of. Ultimately, that means you have a few more names to consider outside the big established players.

Big disclaimer: This doesn’t mean that every property these guys build is going to be a banging investment.

But what this list can do is alleviate some concerns you may have about who is the driving force behind your property.

 
Atlas Property

#1 Atlas Property

Atlas Property is run by director Andrew Yeoman, who has been developing property in New Zealand for more than 17 years.

Altas tends to focus on townhouses, but also does some apartments, primarily focussed in Auckland and Hamilton.

The company initially started in the Waikato, and has now spread to the Auckland region.

An example of a recently completed project in Auckland is Hall Avenue, based in Favona. Investors who work with Opes purchased the bulk of these properties.

Altas’ Hamilton projects include The Village Quarter and Ridgedale developments, which both won the Urban Design and Architectural Merit award at the National Urban Design Awards.

Atlas makes our top 5 because here at Opes we have confidence in Yeoman’s experience. Over the years we have recommended many Atlas developments to investors. This is because he’s been in the business for such a long time and knows what it takes to get something built – on time and on budget.

Due to the longevity of the relationship we sometimes have exclusivity on Atlas developments. That means only Opes clients and investors are able to purchase in that development.

Builds: Primarily townhouses and some apartments.

Location: Auckland and Hamilton.

Best for: Property investors looking for capital growth, and first home buyers.

Safari Group

#2 Safari Group

Safari Group Property Developers

Safari makes our top 5 list because they offer a different type of property to others on this list. They primarily build high-yielding properties.

For instance, the company will often build a hotel complex, and then sell hotel rooms, apartments and high yield dual-keys to investors.

One recent project – The Residences in Ellerslie, Auckland – featured on The Deal. The development offered a selection of studios, 1-bed, 2-bed, and dual-key apartments. It was a hot offer. Watch episode 3 at thedeal.co.

This project was not Safari’s first rodeo. Previous hotel/residential developments include Ramada Suites at various locations in Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington.

Safari Group is run by its two directors, Robert Neil and Stephen Taylor, licensed builders who joined forces in the mid-nineties.

This means the company has been around for 25 years and has a strong reputation and experience in the business.

Something cool for investors purchasing a Safari development is the live on-site cameras. This means you can see exactly what is happening at your build in real-time, or view a progression time-lapse.

Builds: High-yielding apartment and hotel rooms.

Location: Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown.

Best for: Property investors looking for yield.

Opes has sold 8 properties to investors.

Ceta Developments

#3 Ceta Developments

Ceta Developments Property Developers NZ

Ceta Developments is another Auckland-based developer, focussing on first-home buyers and townhouses.

They are so focused on first home buyers they won’t let Opes investors purchase properties in their developments. We can only sell them to first home buyers through Opes First Home.

That probably raises a few eyebrows. However, directors Nic, Jason and Peter want to create communities of owner-occupiers. To make that happen they often sell the properties under their valuation to give first home buyers a go.

The fact that first home buyers can get a really good deal, and that they are a family business with experience, gives us the confidence to put them on our top 5.

An example of an up-and-coming project in Auckland is 36 Lyncroft Street, Mangere, a development of 80 townhouses with a mix of 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms.

The 2-bedroom properties in that specific development started from $700,000. That was chosen so that some first home buyers could still access the First Home Grant.

Fun fact, Ceta is an acronym for: Cost-Effective, Timely and Affordable projects. This is genuinely what we see when working with the team.

Builds: High-yielding apartment and hotel rooms.

Location: Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown.

Best for: First home buyers.

Opes has sold 9 properties to investors.

Oaks Living

#4 Oaks Living

Oaks living Property Developers NZ

Vijay Singh has been the director of Oaks Living since 2014, when he started the firm. He also operates Oaks Property Management.

Oaks does large-scale developments, creating whole new neighbourhoods.

Recently, it marketed a project at Coronation Road, Mangere Bridge, which has 227 new 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses for sale. That’s a big project.

One thing Opes likes about Oaks is that they have a strong property management company as part of their business. That means they design the properties to work well for tenants.

For example, in the Coronation Road development the developer chose to add a third single bedroom. He could have taken that extra floor space and added an extra en suite.

But research showed that 32% of tenants in the area rent 3-bedroom homes (as at January 2022).

Other projects our investors and clients here at Opes have purchased include 145-147 Russel Road (25 townhouses, primarily 3-bed 2-bath) and 165 Wainui Road (76 townhouses).

Builds: Large-scale townhouse developments.

Location: Auckland (but soon to be expanding outside Auckland, watch this space).

Best for: Property investors looking for capital growth and first home buyers.

Opes has sold 118 properties to investors.

Freedom Built

#5 Freedom Built

Freedom built Property developers NZ

Freedom Built is unique on this list because they are the only ones who primarily build standalone homes – for homeowners and property investors.

Outside Canterbury, Opes doesn’t tend to recommend house and land packages because the land is now so expensive. But in Canterbury investors can still purchase a standalone property and achieve a reasonable yield.

The company is run by Grant, Cole and Chloe Askew, all from the same family who live and work in the areas they build.

Cole and Chloe appeared on episode 5 of our series, The Deal.

What we like about Freedom Built is they build for the market they’re operating in.

Because they’re building family homes in outer Christchurch towns, they build 4-bedrooms on a decent-sized plot of land. The homes provide a good option for tenants and a decent yield for investors, without compromising on capital growth potential.

Builds: Standalone houses.

Location: Rolleston and Canterbury.

Best for: Property investors looking for capital growth and owner occupiers.

Opes has sold 20 properties to investors.

Conclusion

Final thoughts …

These 5 developers aren’t the big names you probably think of when considering purchasing a New Build investment property. But it is important to note that the person building the ‘best’ property doesn’t necessarily have the biggest marketing budgets.

That doesn’t mean big companies build bad properties at all. Of the 58 developers we work with here at Opes, some are very large, some are very small.

But here are 5 developers you may not have considered in the past. And several members of our staff have purchased properties from each of these.

If you’re looking at this list and want to buy a New Build investment, then we can help you find the right developer and right property for your investment portfolio, or as a first home. It’s all part of the service we offer.

Additionally, if you were wanting to learn more about these property developers and property investment strategies then listen to our full webinar below.

Who are Opes Partners?

Who are Opes Partners and can they help me?

What is the 3-Step Opes Coaching Programme?

1. Plan out your property investment portfolio

The first step in the programme is to co-create a plan using our MyWealth Plan software. We built this software specifically to help Kiwis create a financial plan in under an hour.

You'll leave this 1-hour session with a written down plan. Pen to paper.

2. Pick properties that fit with your plan

Once you've created your plan in step #1 – your property partner will go out and find properties that fit your plan. They'll search through projects from up to 58 developers to find the best ones for you.

When you meet again, you'll review the top picks, go through the analysis, crunch the numbers together, and then decide which ones to hold with the developer.

3. Dig into the details – Confirm it's the right property for you

Once you've selected a property, you'll work for 10 days to make sure it's the right property for you. So you'll work with your Property Partner and Client Relationship Manager to dig into the details of the property.

You'll go and look at the development and be introduced to mortgage brokers, solicitors, accountants, and property managers. Their sole job is to help you figure out if this property works for you.

And you’ll have access to all the resources, tools, and data … so when confirmation day comes, you have confidence you know you’re making the right decision.

Who is the Opes Coaching Progamme the right fit for?

  • You understand the concept of property investment, but who wants help putting it into practice.
  • You want a “Done for you” property investment service, so you can be a hands-off investor.
  • You are someone who has at least a 10 year investment time horizon.
  • And finally, you’re ready to become a property investor.

Who is the Opes Coaching Progamme is NOT the right fit for?

  • You’re more into the smell of paint or the colour of a wall than the numbers that stand behind an investment property.
  • You only want investments that are hands-on, so you can save a few dollars here and there.
  • You have plenty of time on your hands and want to do the property investment process yourselves.
  • You’re looking for an overnight success and want to get rich quickly.

What does it cost to work with Opes Partners and go through the programme?

It’s free. Complimentary. No Cost.

Why?

The developer pays us a marketing fee when you confirm that the property is the right fit for you. Very similar to the way a mortgage broker gets paid by the bank.

Now it's important to note that we are paid the same fixed rate no matter what property you invest in.

If it’s a $500k apartment in Christchurch or a $1.3 mil 3-bedroom townhouse in Ponsonby – we get paid the same rate.

That's important because then we can recommend the right property for you, and there's no incentive to recommend you invest in a more expensive property, just so we get paid more.

I want learn more about how Opes can help me

Learn more about the Opes Coaching Programme Here

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Ed McKnight

Ed McKnight is the host of the Property Academy Podcast – NZ's #1 business podcast. He is an economist, having studied at the University of Auckland and the University of Waikato. He's a frequent writer for Informed Investor Magazine and has contributed to NewsHub, Stuff, OneRoof and Property Investor Magazine.