Wolfbrook– Do They Build Good Investment Properties? Honest Reviews

Thinking about buying a Wolfbrook property? Here is an honest review of who this developer is and whether one of Wolfbrook’s properties could be the right fit for you.

Date Published: 26/05/22

LM b W

Laine Moger

Journalist and Property Educator for 6 Years
Introduction

Wolfbrook is a big name in the townhouse space. So, if you’re window shopping for a new investment property, chances are you’ve seen one of their ads.

But are they a good investment? What sort of properties do they build? And how do their prices compare to other developers building in similar suburbs?

These are great questions and ones we here at Opes Partners get asked all the time.

So, in this article, you’ll learn the pros and cons of Wolfbrook and whether their properties are right for your property portfolio.

Wolfbrook development

5 Dellwood Avenue, Henderson, Auckland

Just before we get into it, you should know that here at Opes, we recommend new build investment properties to investors. And at the time of writing, Wolfbrook is one of the developers some Opes investors choose to buy from. When this happens, we earn a fee.

That does mean there is an incentive for us to tell you they are the best thing since sliced bread.

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

Who Are They?

Who Is Wolfbrook?

Wolfbrook is a property developer headquartered in Christchurch. Though they now build properties in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

They are currently the 9th busiest home builder in New Zealand (April 2022), according to BCI New Zealand, a construction data company.

Wolf 33

Over the last 12 months, they have had 363 properties consented through councils.

That puts them just ahead of Ockham Construction and Stonewood Homes and just behind Golden Homes.

At the time of writing, the developer only builds townhouses and doesn’t have standalone houses or apartments available for purchase.

By far, they build most of their properties in Christchurch.

They are the 2nd busiest builder in Christchurch (after Williams Corporation) but are the 32nd busiest builder in the Auckland region.

Wolfbrook townhouses

In Wellington, their properties are primarily located in Lower Hutt. In Auckland, their focus over the last 12 months has largely been in West Auckland.

The group is owned by its two directors, Steve Brooks and James Cooney, who are well-known in the business world.

Steve Brooks became New Zealand's youngest real estate agent when he started selling houses at 15.

And shortly before launching Wolfbrook, the businessmen owned Moola – a payday lender.

Woolfbrook new builds in christchurch

7 Lindores Street, Addington, Christchurch

Q: Who are the directors of Wolfbrook?

A: Wolfbrook has two directors: Steve Brooks and James Cooney

Q: Who owns Wolfbrook?

A: Steve Brooks and James Cooney own Wolfbrook

Q: What sort of properties do Wolfbrook build?

A: Wolfbrook tends to build townhouses.

Q: Where does Wolfbrook build its properties?

A: Wolfbrook builds most of its properties in Christchurch, followed by Lower Hutt, then Auckland.

What Do They Look Like?

What Are Their Developments Like?

Wolfbrook has projects underway or planned in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.

Projects are usually a mix of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom townhouses.

Wolfbrook developments NZ

Wolfbrook is a big name in the townhouse game, and they pump out a lot of volume. Today, they’ve got 18 different developments on their stocklist.

The bulk of its projects are in Christchurch (13), followed by Wellington (3) and then Auckland (2).

The company primarily builds in areas where properties are relatively more affordable.

Woolfbrook properties in NZ

20 Fitzherbert Road, Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt

In Christchurch, you are more likely to find a Wolfbrook development in a suburb like Linwood or Addington, as opposed to a more affluent suburb like Merivale.

Wolfbrook developments

Similarly, in Wellington, most properties are built in Lower Hutt instead of the more expensive Wellington City.

Despite the high volume, Wolfbrook uses a range of designs so that not every Wolfbrook townhouse looks the same. And most Wolfbrook properties have garages or car parking.

Having said that, some of their designs have drawn negative criticism from some local residents.

In the past, Wolfbrook’s properties have been more expensive than average, according to Opes Partners managing director Andrew Nicol. “However,” he says, “I understand that they are currently reviewing their pricing, so this may change in the future.”

Example of a Wolfbrook Development

Here is an example of the Wolfbrook development built in Tancred Street in Linwood, Christchurch.

Wolfbrook property in Christchurch

A development of Wolfbrooks properties

This 16-townhouse project was a mix of 2-bed, 2.5 bed (a bedroom and an office), and 3 bedroom townhouses. The 2-bed townhouses had allocated off-street parking, while the rest had built-in garages.

Prices for this project, which was selling in 2022, began at $619,000. This went up to $770,000 for the 3 bed, 2.5 bathroom (with garage).

Once you go over 2 bedrooms or add a carpark, you tend to jump into the early $700Ks.

On the ground floor of the 2-bedroom townhouse, there is a guest toilet, open plan kitchen, living and dining area, and a courtyard. The two bedrooms are upstairs.

Wolfbrook development in Christchurch

interior design of a Wolfbrook property

The 2.5 and 3 bedroom homes are spread over three levels.

For the 2.5 bed, the ground floor houses the garage, laundry and large home office. The first floor hosts the open plan kitchen and living area, with the two remaining bedrooms located on the top floor.

All townhouses feature Samsung appliances, quality floor coverings, a heat pump and a keyless front door system.

How Much Do They Cost?

How Much Does A Wolfbrook Property Cost?

Here is the scale of what you can expect to pay for a Wolfbrook property.

Let’s start in Christchurch.

A 1-bedroom property (with a car park) in Woolston starts at around $520,000.

Moving up to a 2 bed/2 bath in Christchurch, you’re spending $640,000.

At the higher-end, the company is advertising 3 bed/3 bath townhouses in Addington, Christchurch, for $920,000 apiece.

In Auckland, the prices (as expected) are a bit higher but vary between suburbs.

For example, a 2 bed, 1.5 bathroom in Mangere, South Auckland, starts from $780,000 to $799,000.

While properties in Henderson (West Auckland) are priced between $949,000 and $969,000.

Are They Good Investments?

Are Wolfbrook Properties Good Investments?

Here at Opes, we’ve recommended selected Wolfbrook properties to our investors in the past. This means we do think some Wolfbrook properties are suitable investments.

However, not all their properties will meet our criteria and qualify as good investments. So let’s go through the differences.

Wolfbrook property that is a good investment

Here’s an example of a property that one of our investors purchased in May 2022. It’s a 2-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom townhouse based in Linwood, Christchurch.

The purchase price was $624,000, and the estimated rent per week in today’s market was $490 per week. That gives it a gross yield of 4.1%.

And by our financial advisers’ number crunching, its estimated return on investment over 15 years is 259%

Here’s how the returns look:

Wolfbrook property that is not a good investment

Compare that to one of the company’s more expensive properties currently available in the Garden City.

This 3 bed/3 bath townhouse is based in Addington, and is currently being advertised for $920,000, and comes with a garage.

While a higher-spec property than the first, this property is less suitable as an investment.

It’s a high-priced property for its area, and the rental yield isn’t high.

By our financial advisers’ number crunching, its estimated return on investment over 15 years is 218%.

However, let’s say the return on investment was similar to the 2-bedroom property mentioned above. In that case, many investors would still decide not to buy this property.

That’s because for the same money they could invest in a similar 3-bedroom townhouse based in Auckland.

Based on our forecasting, Auckland properties generally provide a higher return.

To be fair, that doesn’t mean this is a bad property. It simply means that there are better investments available – in our view.

 
Can I Trust them?

Is Wolfbrook A Good Developer? Can I Trust Them?

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

This process found Wolfbrook a well-established company with a strong track record.

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

In Wolfbrook’s case:

  • They have a significant pipeline of upcoming projects and
  • Our understanding is that they have good financial backing,
Wolfbrook developer building townhouses in NZ

21 Linwood avenue, Linwood, Christchurch

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

Yes, they have been marginally more expensive than other developers in the past. But, some investors might be more comfortable paying the additional amount to ensure the property gets built.

Who Are They The Right Fit For?

Who Are Wolfbrook The Right Fit For?

Some Wolfbrook properties are the right fit for property investors.

Especially investors who want to invest in one of New Zealand’s 3 major cities (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch).

Because Wolfbrook primarily builds townhouses, their properties are a better fit for investors looking to grow their wealth. As opposed to investors who want to live off the rental income.

However, not every single Wolfbrook property is a good investment.

For instance, the 3-bed townhouses mentioned above would not be the right fit for an investor.

Similarly, the high price point ($920,000) means those specific properties are likely not the right fit for a first home buyer. But, they could be a good fit for an owner-occupier looking for their 2nd or 3rd home.

Wolfbrook investment property in NZ

14 Leitch Street, Somerfield, Christchurch

Who Are They Not The Right Fit For?

Who Are Wolfbrook The Wrong Fit For?

On the other side, if you are an investor wanting to buy a new build property outside the main centres, Wolfbrook will likely not be the right fit for you.

Similarly – if you don’t want a townhouse – and would prefer a standalone house or apartment, these guys won’t be the right fit for you either.

Wolfbrook interior

interior design of a Wolfbrook property

And finally, if you are an investor who wants to earn a passive income from your property, Wolfbrook is likely not the right fit for you. Instead, you’ll probably need a high-yielding multi-income property.

How Do I Buy One?

How do I buy a Woolfbrook property?

If you’ve got your eyes on a Wolfbrook property, you have two main options.

You can go directly to them. The company has an internal sales team who can work with you and purchase through.

Your second option is to use a property investment company like us at Opes.

This is where you’ll get help from a financial advisor to:

  • Figure out which of Wolfbrook’s properties are good investments (and which aren’t)
  • Look at properties from over 58 other developers to see if there’s a better option out there for you.

If you want to learn more about the differences between using a property investment company and going to a developer directly, read this article on the key differences.

Conclusion

Should I Buy An Investment Property From Wolfbrook?

Wolfbrook can be a good option for a property investor looking to grow their portfolio.

As a well-established developer, investors may find comfort in knowing they are buying a Wolfbrook home.

But they aren’t the right fit for every investor, and not every property they build is a good investment.

This doesn’t mean those homes are bad. It just means that not every property is a good investment. This is true of most things.

Wolfbrook new build

An example of a Wolfbrook Property

So, whether one of Wolfbrook’s properties is the right investment for you will depend on the numbers and cashflow forecasts for each property.

You can run these forecasts yourself using our return on investment calculator.

Alternatively, many investors who purchase New Build investment properties use our service at Opes to evaluate many developers and properties at the same time.

Check out our honest reviews about other developers here: Williams Corporation, Aedifice, Brooksfield and Golden Homes

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

LM b W

Laine Moger

Laine Moger has been a journalist and reporter for the last 6 years. She previously worked for Stuff, The North Shore Times and Radio NZ. She has a Bachelor of Communications (Honours) from Massey University and a Diploma of Journalism from the London School of Journalism.