'More houses won't drop prices'
An agreement speeding up the housing consent process won't help the West Aucklanders struggling to afford a home critics say.
This month Auckland Unitary Plan was officially notified allowing extra houses built in the city.
The notification allowed the sign off of the Auckland Housing Accord between Auckland Council and the Government.
The accord has streamlined the housing development consent process which will see an estimated 39,000 new homes being built in Auckland in three years.
Suburbs in West Auckland earmarked for intensification under the Auckland Unitary Plan include New Lynn whose first high-rise began construction earlier this year.
Under the accord consents for low-rise brownfield developments in existing urban areas such as New Lynn will be consented in three months rather than a year.
The Rural Urban Boundary surrounding Massey and West Harbour is also set to be expanded to include the Whenuapai and Brigham Creek area.
Developments inside the RUB can now be consented in six months rather than three years.
Identification of these Special Housing Areas will be done later this month to enable the accord to unblock what Housing Minister Nick Smith calls a constipated system.
However, Te Atatu Labour MP Phil Twyford says tackling the issue of supply doesn't guarantee house prices will become any more affordable.
He says there is no incentive for builders to build homes for $350,000 or less because there's not enough profit in it for them.
New Lynn has been earmarked for intensification with one high rise already under construction.
Whau Local Board chairman Derek Battersby says fast-tracked consenting processes are good for developers but describes it as a short circuit for house prices.
"It's not going to make housing affordable. To do that you have to provide land at reasonable prices and reduce development and building costs."
He says Aucklanders are being ripped off by building companies.
Build West Auckland director Denese McKinley says the cost of building materials has increased substantially over the years, making it harder to build homes for less.
Increased health and safety stipulations on building sites is also driving the price up, she says.
"The price of timber went up considerably as did aluminium. Everything creeps up and if you're buying products from overseas then you're relying on a strong dollar as well. The cost of that unfortunately has to be passed on."
The Government needs to work hand-in-hand with developers to keep costs down as well, she says.
Auckland Council will establish criteria for Special Housing Areas later this month.
Median house prices in West Auckland
West Harbour $633,350
Blockhouse Bay $631,300
Green Bay $586,600
Te Atatu Peninsula $581,200
Te Atatu South $504,500
New Lynn $446,050
Source: Quotable Value
- © Fairfax NZ News
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