6000 new homes for Auckland
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Up to 6000 new homes will be built in 10 areas of Auckland in the first step by the Government and Auckland Council to try to solve Auckland's housing crisis.
The announcement today of the Special Housing Areas, by Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Nick Smith, comes after the Government and council this year signed an accord to run through until 2016 to increase the number of quality affordable homes in Auckland.
Smith said today land supply was the most "critical issue" when it came to addressing housing supply and affordability in Auckland. The first batch of land was a "significant step towards the Auckland Housing Accord's target of consenting for 39,000 new homes over three years".
The special housing areas announced today are in Papakura, East Tamaki, Pukekohe, Hobsonville, Kumeu, West Harbour and Orakei.
They are in addition to the Weymouth community housing project of 282 homes announced last week.
The areas had been chosen because there was both demand and readiness to develop housing as well as infrastructure or capacity to develop infrastructure, Brown said.
Developers had been told that at least 10 per cent of the homes would have to be "affordable", he said.
However, he hoped developers would make more of the new homes affordable.
In some areas, such as Weymouth, 100 per cent of homes would be "affordable".
Smith said the Special Housing Areas had been recommended by Auckland Council and provisionally approved by Cabinet.
They would take legal effect once formally approved by the governor-general, expected before the end of this month .
Applications for subdivisions would be considered by council under fast-tracked mechanisms. These aimed to deliver approvals within six months for greenfield developments, compared to the current average of three years, and three months for brownfield developments, compared to the current average of one year.
There had been "high interest from landowners," Brown said.
The housing accord would not solve Auckland's housing problem, Brown said, but it was "an opportunity to bring forward projects that may otherwise have sat on the back burner".
Smith said this was the "start of getting real momentum into Auckland's residential construction".
Smith said he hoped to have approved more Special Housing Areas before the end of the year.
The Bankers' Association said today's announcement was a positive step in addressing the housing supply issue in Auckland.
Association chief executive Kirk Hope said the big issue in the Auckland housing market was a lack of supply.
"Freeing up land for housing is a move in the right direction to help improve supply where it's needed and alleviate pressure on house prices."
New Zealand had the opposite problem to countries such as the United States and Ireland where an oversupply of housing contributed to a fall in property values, resulting in negative equity for many homeowners, Hope said.
"That's not the New Zealand experience. Addressing the supply issue may also reduce pressure on the Reserve Bank to use tools like low equity lending restrictions in an effort to maintain financial stability."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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