Affordable housing

Act shows the spine over RMA that John Key should

ACT and David Seymour are showing a spine and entering robust debate over the things that John key is afraid to touch.

David Seymour has a lash at RMA reform and John Key’s squeamishness.

The Prime Minister’s backdown on the RMA is disappointing but not surprising, says ACT leader David Seymour.

“If we’re serious about councils allowing the next generation to build homes, we need to get some guts. We cannot have an act of parliament preoccupied with telling councils that building houses is inappropriate.”

In his Budget speech Mr Seymour pointed out, “The words inappropriate subdivision appear 156 times in the Resource Management Act, three of them in the principles sections.”    Read more »

National’s new tax on housing the equivalent of a dry root

John Key has announced he is going to tinker at the edges of housing by implementing a new tax on capital gains on housing.

Back bench MPs were hastily briefed last night with a once over lightly account of the policy.

Audrey Young writes about it in the NZ Herald.

The capital gains of people selling residential property within two years of buying it will now be taxed, Prime Minister John Key announced this morning as part of the Budget package.

The exemptions to this new bright-line test will be if the property sold is the seller’s main home, if it is part of a deceased estate or inherited, and or if it is transferred as part of a relationship settlement.

The tax will be on the seller’s normal income tax rate.

The move, to take effect from October 1, is expected to address Auckland house inflation which has seen property values increase by 18 per cent in a year and 60 per cent since 2008.

At present, capital gains are taxed if IRD believes it was the intention of the seller to make a capital gain on a property.

That rule will remain in addition to the bright-line test so that if somebody flicked on a property after two years and one day, they would almost certainly have to pay tax on the gain.

The Government will also introduce rules that could make the over-heated Auckland housing market less attractive to non-resident speculators.

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Auckland’s waste water infrastructure problem

So now that we all know that Auckland Council is trying to stiff the Housing Accord and stop the deliver of affordable housing using infrastructure it is time to talk about the way out of this mess.

Auckland Council is utterly opposed to greenfield subdivisions being built on the outskirts of Auckland. The boffins within and many of the politicians believe in a compact city that will cater for more people with apartment buildings.

They have been trying for some time to argue that it costs more to let the city sprawl than to intensify but this is total codswallop. Their own Cost of Growth study identified that there was very little difference but if you have to upgrade the pipes in existing brownfield locations then its vastly more expensive.

Because most of the pipes around existing Auckland are over capacity then the prospect of intensification is only possible if the pipes are dug up and replaced with bigger ones to service sewers, potable water and storm water (the three waters). All of our existing suburbs have pipes that were designed and built for the capacity of the buildings and houses that are there now. Not for bigger buildings with more people doing poos.

Council has not identified the capacity in each suburb that exists (if at all) for each of the three waters. Show me a study that tells me how many more dwellings can be built in Grey Lynn and in which streets? It doesn’t exist. So you can be assured Council doesn’t even know for sure that they can accommodate the apartment buildings they want to be built.

And they certainly don’t know the costs. The best Auckland Council can do is thumb suck guesses. So, in light of that – it is somewhat bonkers that they have decided to give greenfield the arse card in favour of pursuing the brownfield option.   Read more »

Phil Twyford and Labour working with Auckland Council to stiff National’s affordable housing policy

Phil Twyford was busy on Red Radio this morning with a pseudo soft talking rhetoric about how hard it is for Auckland Council to build infrastructure and calling for the Government to pay up for the pipes and roads and public transport to service it.

There have been rumours about the traps that Labour is running thick with Auckland Council, especially Penny Hulse, to stiff the housing accord and to get the initiative to fail.

And one doesn’t need to wear a tin-foil hat to theorise a conspiracy to work complicitly together. Labour don’t want National to be successful and poo poo anything National comes up with (including things they might have done themselves). And the Auckland Council is desperate to thwart the greenfield expansion of the CBD because it undermines their goals to build a compact city.

Plus they are all pinko mates. So of course they will work together.  Read more »

War with Auckland Council

Nick Smith and Penny Hulse have traded blows in the last 24 hours over the affordable housing.

A few weeks back I revealed that the Auckland Council had suspended processing Special Housing Area Consents – the consents that will deliver more homes and affordable homes under the Government’s HARSHA legislation.

At first they wouldn’t admit it, then yesterday Penny Hulse admitted that they had suspended consents, were looking at 40 odd other sites to suspend and don’t want any greenfield subdivisions. They want brownfield intensification. Council thinks it costs too much to build the connecting infrastructure. Boo hoo but also not true according to their own reports.

Nick has jumped in on Auckland Council and told them to process the consents or the Government will do it for them. About bloody time. He also told them to stop reducing their infrastructure budgets to stiff the Housing Accord.

Housing Minister Nick Smith is reminding Auckland Council of Government’s power to override local government if it does not co-operate on speeding up the supply of affordable housing.

[…]    Read more »

We’re building fewer houses than a decade ago? Why is this?

New figures show fewer houses are being built than a decade ago, despite recent increases.

The Statistics New Zealand figures come as concerns mount over a continuing shortage of homes making housing unaffordable for many people.

The statistics cover both residential and non-residential building, and show there was $15 billion worth of construction in 2014, $2.8 billion more than in 2013.

Nearly two thirds of that was in Auckland and Canterbury.

When broken down further, the figures show residential construction has risen steadily since 2011, but was still seven percent lower than its peak in 2004.

 

We’ve had lots of people with money immigrating to New Zealand over that time who have entered the market.  The demand is there, but somehow we are still building less than we were a decade ago.  We’re building less because…

…because councils are artificially restricting the freeing up of land for development.   There are enough builders, there are enough people wanting houses, and there is enough money sloshing around.  Yet new houses can’t get started at a good rate. Read more »

Guest Post – Phil Hayward on Auckland and the RMA reforms

by Phil Hayward

The Auckland Unitary Plan Submission process is underway and we should soon know whether it is a charade with outcomes pre-determined and impervious to evidence. The usual suspects are also claiming once again to be able to “debunk” the latest Demographia Report on housing affordability, and even the government is embarrassed over the dismal ineffectiveness of its trumpeted “Housing Accords”.

My previous essays on this forum could usefully be read or re-read now by anyone interested in this subject.

The prevalent mythology is that Auckland already sprawls too much at low density, already has built too many roads (and that is why it is congested), is letting the floodgates re-open too much towards more new sprawl and not enough new intensification (60% of growth to be via intensification is the plan), the ramp-up in building now is major, and intensification will provide for affordability.

In fact, Auckland is around 3 times as dense as Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville and dozens of other US cities; is the second densest city in the Anglo New World after Toronto (pop. 6 million); is one of the densest first world urban areas of only 1 million people; is close to Amsterdam’s density and is denser than Lyon, Marseille, the Ruhr Valley and many urban areas in France and Germany, especially those with around 1 million people or less.

We have never actually had US style low density sprawl; very little of our suburban development was ever even ¼ acre sections. That always was a “dream” for most, and now nearly every such section has already had townhouses built on what was the backyard. In the USA, suburbs are common with minimum lot size mandates of 1 acre to 4 acres.  

Michael Bassett and Luke Malpass (NZ Initiative) “Priced Out: How NZ Lost its Housing Affordability” (2012) show that NZ and Auckland were during the period from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, building as many as twice as many new dwellings as now. Most of that was greenfields suburban development, albeit at considerably higher density than US-style sprawl. We now have congestion problems because there was inadequate planning of road capacity, not because we did the roads we did.

I have estimated from TomTom Traffic index data and Google Earth imagery, that Auckland has 1/3 the highway lane miles and 1/5 the arterial lane miles of Indianapolis, which has a similar population. Indianapolis in the TomTom Traffic Index, scores a congestion delay of 15 minutes per 1 hour of driving at peak (other comparable US cities are similar) versus Auckland’s 45 minutes. Of course its house price median multiple happens to be stable at around 3 as well, in spite of being truly low density, unlike Auckland.   Read more »

Rodney Hide on the myth that is child poverty

Rodney Hide slays a few lefty myths…like the existence of child poverty in New Zealand.

Leftists and troughers are working overtime to make child poverty the new reason for funding them and centralising control.

Their catchcry is 250,000 children living in poverty. Their problem is if it were true we would notice.

We know what child poverty looks like. Many of us have witnessed it overseas. All of us have seen it on TV. We don’t see it in New Zealand.

We see children neglected, for sure, and that makes us both angry and sad. But we blame the parents, not poverty. And, if personal responsibility makes us squeamish, we blame welfare for three generations of dysfunctional and non-existent parenting. It’s been public policy for years to sponsor child neglect.

Nonetheless the “child poverty” drums are beating. I was made aware of just how hard by the NZ Initiative’s weekly newsletter reporting classic journalistic over-egging and UN propagandising.

The UN should but out, and start preparing a defence against their global warming scam.

Fairfax’s Stuff.co.nz reported last week that Unicef had “slammed progress” on child poverty in New Zealand.

Really? I didn’t believe it and on your behalf put myself through the agony of reading yet another UN rubbish report. It doesn’t “slam progress” on child poverty. That news was made up.

All the UN report says about New Zealand is that along with the UK and US, we were “moderately affected” by the “Great Recession,” that our big change in the family benefit system was in 2012 to institute a “higher rate but lower income ceiling” and we are reported as middling along in various charts supposedly showing us where we fit in the child poverty stakes.

The news report is puffed out with various child poverty warriors beating the drum and Prime Minister John Key having to defend the government’s record against the false accusation that the UN had “slammed progress.” Such is the state of news reporting in New Zealand today.

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Affordable Housing? Sorted

sderot-housing

Politicians love to bang on about affordable housing but they invariably have no solutions, or their solutions just making housing more expensive.

In Sderot, Israel they have attacked affordable housing and are providing real solutions.

What to do with rusty old shipping containers no longer fit to haul goods across the high seas?

Here in this southern Israeli town, they have been cleaned of rust, given a lick of paint and recycled into a chic but cheap living space, replete with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchenette and bathroom. Stacked atop one another, the worn boxes now comprise Israel’s first student village made solely out of retired shipping containers.   Read more »

Turns out there is affordable housing, it’s just not in Auckland

There is considerable moaning from the left about the lack of affordable housing.

As I have noted many times house are affordable even in Auckland. In fact there are so many that people are forced to sell them, and if they were truly unaffordable then none would sell, but sell they do.

But there are many affordable housing options, and is just that they aren’t in Auckland.

At  20, Stacey Knuth of Whanganui has achieved what few young Kiwis her age can still do – buy a house.

She bought a state house in Gonville, a suburb which according to September quarter housing figures has the third-cheapest housing in the country.

A far cry from Parnell or Ponsonby, a house in Gonville had a median sales price of $110,000.

And it’s in close proximity to the country’s cheapest suburb, Castlecliff, where houses this quarter went for a median $88,000.

But Gonville has another distinction. It tied with Wellington’s Brooklyn for the quarter’s highest jump in house sales, up 145 per cent on the same period last year, due in part to a clutch of state houses on the market.

Whanganui has become a bit of a poster child for declining provincial towns, but to Knuth, who is locally born and bred, Gonville is a great place to live.

“I’ve been living here for about two months now and it’s really nice, it’s a good little four-bedroom home . . . It’s a good little neighbourhood, I’ve had no trouble.

“There’s no houses in front of me and no houses out back so on a clear day you can see the mountain straight out the front and then out back you can see the sea.”

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