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Even if you’ve never been property shopping, you’ve most likely heard of G.J. Gardner Homes.

This is because it is one of the biggest names in the New Build space, alongside the likes of Williams Corporation, Fletcher Living and Mike Greer Homes.

But ... do they build good investment properties?

Because we work with 97 developers and thousands of investors each year, this is a question we – here at Opes Partners – get asked all the time.

In this article you’ll learn the pros and cons of purchasing a property from G.J. Gardner, and whether this type of property is right for your property portfolio.

Do you have a question or comment about G.J. Gardeners? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section at the end of the page.

GJ Gardener houses

Full disclaimer, you should know that here at Opes we recommend New Build investment properties to investors. And at the time of writing, we are recommending some G.J. Gardner properties to investors.

But even though there is an incentive for us to be biased and tell you they’re great, we’re still going to be fair, honest, and fact-based. That means you can decide whether they’re the right fit for you. The answer may be ‘yes’, but it could also be ‘no’.

Who are G.J. Gardner homes?

G.J. Gardner Homes are New Zealand’s largest home builders when you add them all up across the different franchises.

BCI places G.J. Gardner as the busiest home builder – ahead of Williams Corporation (#2), Fletcher Residential (#3) and Mike Greer Homes (#4).

Not only is it the biggest, the company has won the Reader’s Digest “Most Trusted Brands” award in the Home Builder category 6 years in a row.

Greg Gardner began G.J. Gardner Homes in 1983 across the ditch in Queensland. It went on to become Queensland’s largest home builder.

In 1997, the company was brought to New Zealand, and has grown into a national business with 30 offices spread through the North and South Islands.

All G. J. Gardner franchises hold either a Master Build Guarantee or a Homefirst Builders Guarantee.

What are their developments like?

G.J. Gardner is primarily a residential design-and-build developer of standalone properties. That’s where you hire them to build you a house.

However, they do have house and land packages available (where you buy a piece of land off them and then hire them to build you a house).

Generally speaking, this data tells us that G.J. Gardner is primarily building large, family-sized homes.

According to our analysis of 564 properties listed as available on the G.J. Gardner website, the average property available for sale has 3.4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1.5 lounges.

The smallest property they sell has 2 bedrooms and the largest has 5.

Here’s a breakdown of where G.J. Gardner are currently building most of their properties.

Currently G.J. Gardner are most active in Auckland, followed by Waikato and then Canterbury.

On the other hand, they currently have no house and land packages in Marlborough or Gisborne.

On average, G.J. Gardner builds larger homes. The average floor size is 227m2, according to data from BCI New Zealand in June. This is considerably larger than the 160m2 average for a new house in New Zealand (according to Stats NZ).

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At the time of writing, G.J. Gardner only has one townhouse option available – a 2-bed 2-bath in Queenstown priced at $890k.

This property is spread over 107.19m2, with an off-street car park.

On the ground floor there is an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area, and a courtyard. Both bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs – one is an en suite.

Gj Gardener

House and land package

Here is an example of a 3-bed, 2 bathroom standalone home in Ravenswood, Waimakariri. The price is $719k, the cheapest option for this district.

A house and land package is where you buy the land off G.J. Gardner and then pay them to build you a house.

The floor plan of 135.5m2 has an internal access garage, an open plan living and dining area, and an en suite in the master bedroom.

The house will be built on a 400m2 plot of land.

Gj Gardener

Design and build

For those looking to build a property (rather than buy a house and land option), there are several types on offer.

Most share a familiar floor plan – what you expect in a standalone property. This is either 1 or 2 storey, often coming with an internal-access garage and open-plan living/dining and kitchen area.

In total, G.J. Gardner offers 189 property designs categorised into 6 collections:

  • Express Range
  • Safe Smart
  • Family Series
  • Country Collection
  • Estate Collection
  • Majestic Series

These categories represent the size and scale of each build. For example, according to data collected from the G.J. Gardner website by Opes Partners, the average floor areas are:

– 385 m2 for the Estate collection

– 198m2 from the Express range

– 150 m2 for the Safe Smart

Here is an example of the Amrita design (from the Express range), which has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a double car garage spread over 146.9m2.

GJ Gardener

How much does a G.J. Gardner homes property cost?

We’ve scraped the G.J. Gardner website (564 properties) to get data on what a G.J. Gardner home generally costs.

We discovered the most expensive properties G.J. Gardner build are in Auckland, with an average price of $1.28 million.

In fact, in the North Island only Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui had an average price of less than $1 million.

The most affordable properties are on the West Coast.

How much does a G.J. Gardner property cost in Canterbury?

The average G.J. Gardner home in Canterbury is $872.8k.

The least expensive property in the Canterbury Region is a 101.4m2 2-bedroom property (with a garage) in Rangiora, which starts at $655,000. This is the only 2-bed on offer.

The most expensive house on the stock list is a 271.9m2 4-bed, 2-bath in Ashburton, priced at $1.42 million.

How much does a G.J. Gardner property cost in Auckland?

As you would expect, Auckland properties are a bit more expensive but they do vary between suburbs.

The average priced house is $1.28 million.

There are two, 2-bedroom properties on offer at $795k and $985k. Both are virtually identical (there’s only a 1.3m2 difference in size), except that one is south (Waiuku), and the other is north (Stanmore Bay), respectively – this accounts for the difference in price.

GJ Gardener Auckland

Most homes are 3 and 4-bedroom family-sized homes.

At the more expensive end, a large 4-bed home spread over 268.0m2 in Riverhead is currently being advertised for $2.6m.

There are a handful of 5+ bedroom options, all priced over $1.2m, and go up to $2.9m.

How much does a G.J. Gardner property cost in Wellington?

In Wellington, the average price for the region is $1.05 million. At the cheaper end, the lowest price listed is $695k, and the highest is $1.5 million.

How much does it cost for G.J. Gardner to build me a house?

While we have solid data to show what a turnkey costs … the cost of hiring G.J. Gardner to build you a house varies.

House and Land packages come with a “Build Price Estimate”. However, any build price given online is an estimate only and should be used as a rough guide.

Designs also have a house cost estimate, which is generated through a web page widget and is location dependent.

This price is based on a simple “flat” build, does not include the cost of purchasing the land, or things like landscaping or driveways. So, it’s important to contact your local office for a more accurate price.

Turnkey vs design and build

G.J. Gardner’s average property is about $1 million, but the range is large.

For instance, the cheapest property is a petite 97m2 2-bed, 1-bath in Whanganui, priced at $550k.

At the other end, there’s a 420m2 $2.989m property in Karaka.

GJ Gardener

Are G.J. Gardner homes properties good investments?

Because we’ve recommended a selection of G.J. Gardner Homes properties to our investors in the past, naturally we do think some of their properties are good investments.

However, we haven’t recommended many of their properties to investors over the last few years.

Why? Well, not all good properties will make good investments.

And although we have no concerns about G.J. Gardner’s ability to build a house – some of their homes are better suited to owner-occupiers searching to build their family’s forever home rather than for property investors looking for the best return.

This is because at a certain price a property is no longer a good investment.

For example, the 2-bed property in Stanmore Bay for $985k, mentioned earlier, would be too expensive to meet the mark of a good investment property. Particularly considering how far it is out of the city, where vacancy could become an issue.

Compare that to a property in Auckland Opes is currently recommending.

There is a set of 3-bedroom townhouses for $840k in Mangere, and $859k in Glen Eden. These townhouses are closer to the city, have more bedrooms, are lower priced, and will likely have higher tenant demand.

Whereas the 2-bed in Stanmore Bay – while a standalone property – is 40km out of central Auckland and may not be as popular with tenants.

Is G.J Gardner a good developer? can I trust them?

Before Opes recommends properties to our investors, each developer goes through a detailed due diligence process.

This process found G.J. Gardner to be a well-established company, with a strong track record, which is why we have previously recommended some of their properties.

It's outstanding reputation and longevity in the business supports our findings.

One of the things investors need to think through before they purchase through a developer is whether the property will actually get built.

In G.J. Gardner Homes’ case:

  • They’ve built a significantly large number of projects across NZ
  • They have a significant pipeline of upcoming projects and
  • They’re an extremely well-financed company

This can give investors confidence the company has the scale to negotiate the supply of building materials and labour to complete projects.

Who are G.J. Gardner homes the right fit for?

Some G.J. homes could be the right fit for property investors.

Because G.J. Gardner tends to build standalone houses, these properties are a better fit for investors looking to grow their wealth … as opposed to investors who want to live off rental income.

As a rule, New Build standalone properties tend to be a good fit for investors who can afford to spend a bit more on an investment property.

Because the 4-bed standalone tends to attract a family as a tenant, it could be a good option for an investor who wants the security of tenure.

And if you are a seasoned investor with a lot of 2-bed or 3-bed townhouses, you might consider your next purchase in the wider context of your portfolio.

But, as mentioned, not all of their properties are good investments. For instance, the large, grandiose 5+ bedroom homes may well be of a high standard, and a good option for an owner-occupier, but not for an investment.

However, this type of property could be a great option for an owner-occupier looking to build a property for themselves. This is because you might not mind spending the extra bucks on a better quality, higher-spec “forever home”.

Should I buy an investment property from G. J. Gardner?

All things considered, a standalone property can be a great investment, which means G.J. Homes can be a great option for a property investor looking to grow their portfolio – for the right price.

As a well established, and high-producing developer, investors may find some comfort in knowing they are buying a G.J. Gardner home.

But this doesn’t mean they are going to be the right fit for every investor, and not every property they build is a good investment. And this is true of most things.

So, whether or not one of G.J.’s properties is the right investment for you will hinge on the figures standing up and the deal you are evaluating.

That’s why investors who purchase New Build investment properties use our service at Opes to evaluate many developers and find the right properties to suit their portfolios.

Write your questions or thoughts in the comments section below.

Opes Partners
Laine 3 001

Laine Moger

Journalist and Property Educator with six years of experience, holds a Bachelor of Communication (Honours) from Massey University.

Laine Moger, a seasoned Journalist and Property Educator with six years of experience, holds a Bachelor of Communications (Honours) from Massey University and a Diploma of Journalism from the London School of Journalism. She has been an integral part of the Opes team for two years, crafting content for our website, newsletter, and external columns, as well as contributing to Informed Investor and NZ Property Investor.

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