Zoltan Moricz, Executive Director and Head of Research at CBRE, discusses the company’s work in commercial real estate services, the opportunities they see in infrastructure in Auckland, and new solutions to speed up and facilitate the delivery of infrastructure.
Auckland Unlimited: What is CBRE’s role here in Auckland, and what are the areas you cater to?
Zoltan Moricz: CBRE is a global Fortune 500 company that provides professional services related to real estate investment, development, ownership and occupation in the areas of advisory and consultancy services, sales, leasing, management and valuations.
CBRE works across the full spectrum of market participants with private sector, corporate, institutional, local and central government and Iwi. An example is our role in assisting central and local government organisations such as Panuku and Kāinga Ora across a range of their Auckland development and urban regeneration projects.
Based on your conversations with international and local clients right now, what do they believe are the opportunities in Auckland?
There is widespread awareness around the catch-up that is currently happening to address the historic underinvestment in infrastructure to support and facilitate Auckland’s rapid growth.
Investors and developers are very much focused on the real estate opportunities provided by infrastructure across the full spectrum of property typologies in residential, industrial and commercial.
We have also worked with infrastructure providers who have viewed these real estate opportunities as an intrinsic part of the provision of infrastructure – they were looking to couple these two aspects where the infrastructure provider would also be actively involved in the development of the real estate opportunities.
Is CBRE seeing much of an appetite from foreign investors and businesses about infrastructure in Auckland? Are there any insights you can share?
Infrastructure-related property investment and development is moving from a niche area towards the mainstream for many global players in real estate. Similarly, New Zealand as a property investment destination is increasingly moving from niche to the mainstream both through direct investments and in partnering with local organisations.
New Zealand, and specifically Auckland as the country’s main growth node and commercial centre, is well placed to cater for global capital seeking long-term investments and secure returns in legislatively transparent and politically stable countries. Recent market entrants include a number of sovereign wealth and pension funds and some of the largest global investment managers.
How do you anticipate direct, private participation in infrastructure transactions by capital providers in the near future? What will this look like?
There has been increasing focus on new solutions to speed up and facilitate the delivery of infrastructure. This has been highlighted in a recent industry seminar hosted by The Property Foundation where several leading participants across various aspects of infrastructure provision discussed innovations in financing housing infrastructure.
An example is the private housing charges that have been introduced in the development of a new housing subdivision north of Auckland which provided alternative funding and financing tools for the delivery of this project. If alternative funding and financing tools are successful, they could speed up the deployment of needed core infrastructure, which should have a positive impact on the real estate supply side of the market.
Given Auckland’s housing shortages, any tool that accelerates supply can be seen as a welcome development. The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act 2020 (IFF Act) is one of a suite of measures that will over time help mitigate the growing problem of housing affordability.
How can CBRE and Auckland Unlimited work together to ensure the right investment comes into Auckland?
As a leading global company involved in multiple facets of real estate, CBRE is uniquely placed to leverage its international reach to facilitate the entry of overseas capital into New Zealand.
CBRE can assist Auckland Unlimited in a number of ways. This includes helping to identify and introduce appropriate parties for investment opportunities, and assisting Auckland Unlimited and associated parties to understand and present the real estate opportunities provided by specific infrastructure works and programmes.