Wellington City Council to build 750 homes to avoid Auckland-style housing crisis video

ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington City Council has committed to building 750 new social and affordable housing in the city

About 750 units of social and affordable homes will be built in Wellington to avoid an Auckland-style housing crisis.

The project is the next phase of the  city council's 20-year housing upgrade programme, which started in 2008.

The majority look to be social housing, with many to be built within three years, including the completion of 105 units at Arlington site 2, at the top of Taranaki St. They cost $33m.

The former Arlington apartments site on Taranaki St in central Wellington will be location of the first 105 housing ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The former Arlington apartments site on Taranaki St in central Wellington will be location of the first 105 housing units the city council intends to build.

Arlington site 1, on the Hopper St side would likely be next.

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Other sites will be mostly on existing council housing land in the CBD and beyond, in areas such as Maupuia, Newtown, Berhampore and Miramar.

An architect drawing of the proposed replacement of Arlington Apartments in Mt Cook.
SUPPLIED

An architect drawing of the proposed replacement of Arlington Apartments in Mt Cook.

Wellington deputy mayor and housing portfolio leader Paul Eagle said the council would now work to develop new sites and build.

It would not impact rates because city housing did not receive any rates money - operations were funded by rental income, he said.

"We are not spending any more money than the $200 million funding we have left from the Crown and council partnership."

An architect impression of the complex's large, sunny courtyard, bordered by three-storey multi-unit buildings with ...
SUPPLIED

An architect impression of the complex's large, sunny courtyard, bordered by three-storey multi-unit buildings with glass stairwells.

In 2008, the council started on the project with the Crown to upgrade the council's social housing stock, most of which was built in the 1960s and 1970s.

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The council's standard for social housing was to provide modern, attractive, warm, dry homes and safe communities.

There was no detail yet on the type of home.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester said the mixed developments would have "good quality" houses.

The council will make movements in its portfolio where it had properties that were outdated or not suited to tenants' needs, to reinvest in new high quality homes.

"This is a major development in how our city handles housing. We know we need a new approach to social and affordable housing so that we don't end up like Auckland."

Some would be social housing, while others would be affordable homes aimed at first home buyers.

"Half will be replacing outdated stock and half will be brand new on top of what we already provide."

Affordable housing meant the sale cost will be below the median house price for Wellington, which in December was $530,175.

According to the QV price index, the average current value in Wellington City is $702.081.

Salvation Army housing spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Rod Carey, said the median price was a realistic price for a new, safe and dry home.

The council would have to balance out the price of building and he hoped they kept rents as affordable as possible.

"This is a positive move for valuable people in need in the community. I think people will be pleased the council is being responsible."

Tommy's real estate agent Nicki Cruickshank said the median price would be within budgets and would help first-time buyers.

"However, I am sceptical about the density and the conditions."

It wasn't a lot cheaper than could be bought on the market but would go some way towards easing the housing crisis. Prices were also increasing in areas close to the city.

Three-bedroom houses close to the city were priced between $750,000 and $800,000.

The houses would be the first in a number of developments to address housing issues in Wellington.

Next week Lester will ask councillors to agree to a new programme that will see it utilise council land better to develop quality new homes as fast as they could.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said the plan was a sensible way of recycling council assets to make better use of them.

The chamber would be keeping a close eye that rates would not be impacted, he said.

 - Stuff

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