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BusinessSeptember 9, 2021

Business is Boring: How Ockham is helping change the housing conversation

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Ockham Residential co-founder Mark Todd joins Simon Pound for a chat about our broken property system, and what his company is doing about it.

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It’s a pretty commonly known fact that the housing market in New Zealand is fucked. Out of control prices, average and barely liveable places rented for mind blowing sums, people living in garages, a legacy of leaky buildings, and some godawful pre-2008 apartments… The problems are well known, and a lot of hand wringing has gone on. 

This week’s guest on Business is Boring is someone who sees the situation is screwed. He’s also a large scale property developer. And he’s doing something about it. 

Mark Todd is the co-founder of Ockham Residential – if you live in Auckland, you’ll probably know their apartment developments. They are the good ones, built out of materials that look like they’ll last, in sensible spots near transport, and with high quality density at their heart. 

Over the years Ockham has helped create a more compact city by doing things like advocating for ditching requirements for carparks, and more importantly maybe, by building the kind of apartments people actually want to live in and have as neighbours. And the pace of their building is picking up, with hundreds of apartments across a handful of developments underway, and more planned. 

Unusually for a successful property developer, Todd also speaks out on the unfair system that helps property owners win outsize wealth, extending the gaps between the haves and have-nots. 

The company is pioneering build to rent, Iwi partnerships, offering more Kiwibuild options than a bank manager might recommend, and giving back through their foundation, the Ockham Collective. But it might be the example they are setting, and the uncomfortable conversations they are starting, that will have the most impact.

Keep going!