No quick fix for housing shortage
Mon, 29 Oct 2012 6:05p.m.
By Tony Field
Auckland needs 400,000 new homes over the next 30 years, which is 13,000 a year - three times the number being built right now.
But it's not just a lack of land, or a slow consent process that's holding up development.
The Hobsonville Point development will eventually contain over 3000 homes - including some for first time buyers. The land is part of 18,000 sites the Auckland Council says is ready for development.
But deputy mayor Penny Hulse says people aren’t too keen on investing in development at the moment.
“It's the economy at the moment, this isn’t a time for developers, in the way they did in the '80s and the '90s, to be throwing large amounts of money at big developments. There simply isn't the money available.”
Eventually the council hopes to build 400,000 homes. Three quarters of those will be within the existing urban limits, including apartments and terraced housing, clustered in existing suburbs.
But not all of those homes will be for first-time buyers.
“Some suburbs are always going to be more affordable than others,” Ms Hulse says. “The key is giving people the choice about where they live, how they live.”
She says the high cost of building materials also needs to be looked at.
Planning lawyer Paul Cavanagh says the council needs to free up cheaper land on the city limits, because building more intensive housing in the central city can be expensive.
“If we build up, say into a four-storey building, the construction costs are far higher than we would know if for a standard home of one or two stories.”
He lives in Herne Bay and says residents are concerned they simply have not been told enough about what the council wants to do.
“When you ask questions about detail, [it’s] ‘Oh, we haven't done that yet,’ and if you look at the plans, [it’s] ‘Oh they are not final plans.'”
The council says the public will get a say.
“There will still be appeal rights, but we'd like to work with our communities to reduce the amount of appeals,” Ms Hulse says.
About all that everyone can agree on is that there is no one quick, easy, solution to affordable housing in Auckland.
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31/10/2012 10:02:49 a.m.
As Blair already pointed out, building a “super city” on a volcano and label the rest sheep country – makes that really sense? You can find good infrastructure with vacant housing, why can’t we utilize these areas in this country? Fisheries manage fish stocks with quota, why not settling immigrants based quotas in areas with housing and encouraging industrial developments with skilled labour force? I have seen new built housing in Napier vacant for more than 6 months.
29/10/2012 8:55:29 p.m.
Why don't people just not live in Auckland, there is more to New Zealand beyond Auckland why not move to other areas of the country. In Invercargill we have lower unemployment and affordable housing here so why not move south. Also perhaps some caps on our immigration stop so many people migrating here this will stop the population rise in cities like Auckland. Also with less immigrants there are more jobs for those born here elimating the need for NZers to move to Aussie.
29/10/2012 7:54:06 p.m.
The problem is mostly the council and to a lessor extent the expensive cost of building (mostly caused by regulation). We don't have to extend into greenfields areas... however they won't let you build a legal flat under your central house (doubling occupancy) build 4 units like the 1970's on a section (but say two story versions), consider terracing if you have a big say 3000m2 site... no its stick to their conservative plan. they want intensification but you can only build one house per 450m2... that isn't intensification. They charge $30k fee to subdivide, $9000 to connect the water, $2000 to connect vector... and that is before they charge $130/hr for their very slow nit picking beaurocrats to look at it. They are so slow that you can build a house quicker than it takes the council to approve it which equals high interest costs. It is cost plus and slow slow slow the whole time. It's easy to bring house prices down however it involves complete reform of auckland council.
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