Something is attracting young families to Birkdale and Beach Haven on Auckland’s North Shore, and it’s not just the opportunity to secure more affordable homes. The attraction is also being part of a tight-knit community that has become established through a diverse group of residents now calling this area home.
Early 19th Century milling on the north-west facing Birkdale slopes, saw thick native bush, pōhutukawa and giant kauri forest destroyed to make way for orchards and strawberry fields – the sunny aspect made for productive agricultural land. During the 1960s, Birkdale was subdivided, and Kiwi-classic weatherboard homes were built to house young families. More than 50 years on, these solidly built homes are again proving attractive to the next generation of young home buyers.
Before the Auckland Harbour Bridge was built, Beach Haven’s coastal strip was a popular holiday destination for many Aucklanders. Holiday baches typical of the era dotted the coastline. Many of these baches have since been replaced with architecturally designed homes nestled on tree-clad waterfront locations. Central Beach Haven which borders Birkdale, was developed predominately with state housing. Many of these homes are now privately owned by first-home buyers.
1960s Birkdale and Beach Haven, Kiwi-classic weatherboard bungalows were built on the quintessential quarter-acre section.In the last 20 years the dynamics of the Birkdale and Beach Haven populace have changed. Long-term residents from the 1960s and 1970s who are now the older generation have moved on, making way for the next generation of first-home buyers, new retirees and investors.
“We have seen couples retiring from Devonport to Beach Haven and Birkenhead’s coastal area,” says Gower Buchanan of Ray White Damerell Group. “They can kayak and enjoy the parks and still keep some money in the bank. There are also endless first-home buyers who do up and stay, and investors who do up and sell or hold as long-term rentals.
“The attraction for many residents is the easy access to the city through good public transport, and this has been further enhanced by the regular ferry service. For others, it is the lifestyle, the magnificent sea views, water access, nearby beaches and the unpretentious community spirit.”
The Birkenhead Library was the first public library to be founded in North Shore City, the first to offer dial-up access to the Bibliographic Network, and a leading proponent of full weekend services.
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