The Auckland Housing Accord

announced:

An Auckland Housing Accord has been agreed today by Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor to urgently increase the supply and affordability of housing in Auckland. …

The legislation, to be introduced to Parliament as part of Budget 2013, will enable Special Housing Areas to be created by the with approval of Government. In these areas it will be possible to override restrictions on housing put in place by Auckland’s eight predecessor Councils, like the Metropolitan Urban Limit.

Qualifying developments in these Special Housing Areas will be able to be streamlined, providing they are consistent with Auckland’s Unitary Plan, once it is notified, expected in September this year. New greenfield developments of more than 50 dwellings will be able to be approved in six months as compared to the current average of three years and brownfield developments in three months as compared to the current average of one year. The streamlined process will not be available for high rise developments that will need to be considered under existing rules until the Unitary Plan has been finalised in 2016.

“This is a three year agreement to address these housing supply issues in the interim until Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan becomes fully operative and the Government’s Resource Management Act reforms for planning processes take effect.

“The Government respects in this Accord that it is for Auckland to decide where and how it wishes to grow. The Government is giving new powers for council to get some pace around new housing development and is agreeing on aspirational targets to ensure Auckland’s housing supply and affordability issues are addressed.

“The Accord sets a target of 9,000 additional residential houses being consented for in Year 1, 13,000 in Year 2, and 17,000 in Year 3. This is a huge boost on the average 3,600 homes that have been consented each year over the past four years and the 7,400 a year over the past 20 years.

The only way one can reduce the price of housing in Auckland is to reduce demand or increase supply. Now assuming you can’t start deporting Aucklanders to Gore, that means increasing supply.

39,000 houses in three years compared to 3,600 homes a year is massive.

And best of all it doesn’t involve the Government borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to try and become a large scale property developer itself.

Congrats to Len Brown and Nick Smith for working together to do something meaningful in this area.

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