Govt plan means cheaper housing

The Government is close to announcing policies that will free up city-fringe and more central ''brownfields'' sites for residential development in an effort to cut the cost of housing.

While the Kiwi dream remains a picturesque weatherboard house with a garden for the kids, prices are so high in many cities, notably Auckland, that that dream comes with a very large mortgage or is simply beyond the reach of many.

But later this month, according to a well-placed source, the Government will unveil its response to the Productivity Commission's recommendation that land be freed for development of housing, most notably in Auckland and Christchurch in order to create a boom in affordable houses.

Finance Minister Bill English has spoken of his dissatisfaction with high house prices which are likely to be a factor in driving young people to Australia and are distorting the economy as mortgage interest soaks up much otherwise disposable income.

No details are yet available, but the plans are believed to include zoning policy changes that will free more land reversing a multi-decade decline in building activity, which has worsened significantly since the global financial crisis hit.

Sunday Star Times