Affordable housing

Hate trumps rationality every time

Rawabi

Hate has short-circuited the rational part of the average Palestinian brain. That is the only conclusion I can come to after reading this article. When people with a fully functioning brain are handed a brand-new city on a platter, they celebrate. Palestinians, on the other hand, have  not only rejected the new city, they have done everything in their power to stop it being built.

How do you build a state for people who don’t want it built? That’s the obvious question that emerges from the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of Rawabi, the first new Palestinian city. It’s a flagship project that international diplomats routinely laud as a model of Palestinian state-building, but it has won no such praise from fellow Palestinians. Instead, the very people it was meant to benefit are now accusing Rawabi’s founder of collaboration with the enemy for having committed such horrendous crimes – this is not a joke – as providing residents with electricity and running water.

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He will be kicked out of the wet wing if he keeps this up

Bill English is getting praise from the Cato Institute:

Rising home prices and apartment rents have been in the news lately, but almost no one is looking at the real causes behind these problems. Instead, they are proposing band-aid solutions that will do little to help most people afford housing but will greatly benefit special interest groups.

According to the news, BostonLos AngelesMiamiNew YorkPortlandSan FranciscoOakland, San JoseSeattle, and Washington, DC, among other major urban areas, are all suffering from housing crises. Economists who have studied these regions know why their housing is becoming less affordable.

First, urban-growth boundaries and other land-use regulations in most of these regions have limited the amount of land available for new housing. Urban planners say these regulations are needed to control the externalities caused by urban sprawl. However, as New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister recently noted in a speech about a similar housing crisis in Auckland, urban planning itself “has become the externality” that is making housing the most expensive.  

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Socialist council idea fails

Forcing developers to deliver affordable housing as a percentage of housing stock is stupid.

It’s stupid because it subsequently forces developers to off-set the subsidised houses by loading the balance of houses in a development at a higher price. The higher prices houses pay for part of the subsidised houses.

It’s also stupid because anyone with half a brain is going to buy the subsidised houses and then sell them for a margin.

The Housing Accord always had that issue. I suspect Auckland Council negotiated that element when sprung with the draft form of the housing accord and they likely made the suggestion to include an affordable component. Every socialists wet dream.

Buyers in a new “affordable” housing project built with a $29 million taxpayer subsidy are now obliged to keep their houses for three years after some early investors sold for windfall profits.

One couple who bought a house in the Weymouth subdivision off the plans in August last year and finally settled with a full price of $540,000 on July 27 this year flicked the house on to new buyers on September 3 for $670,000 – a $130,000 profit in five weeks.    Read more »

Noddy apartments are too expensive for Aucklanders

Auckland Council wants noddy little apartments to dominate the future of Auckland. They believe apartments are the holy grail and subscribe heavily to utopian planning theory about how cities should be planned.

No new ideas themselves. Nothing.

The Council also hates suburban sprawl. This is despite that Auckland is a very small city in terms of square km compared to other cities around the world. The planners at Auckland Council associate greenfield sprawl with America and intensification with Europe whilst failing to grasp that America – with it’s much looser planning regimes – builds more apartments than are built in Europe and that Europe is a small land mass with nearly a billion people squashed into it. No, these things don’t matter.

In Auckland apartments are trumpeted by Council officers and pollies as being the affordable future. But they are not. And here is why.

In 2002-2005 Auckland apartments were selling for around $4,500 -5,300 psqm. For example a 75 sqm apartment would sell for​ $337,000 – $397,000. Of course we know that developers pumped out lots of student accommodation units of 12-35 sqm for around $100-185,000 and one bedroom apartments were in the mid $200k price bracket.   Read more »

Council Compact City plan for affordable housing in tatters

Auckland Council officers must be sweating bricks because the holy grail of their compact city plan – apartments – are experiencing sky rocketing price rises.

Auckland apartment prices have hit an all-time high, up almost 32 per cent in a year.

Data from realestate.co.nz out this morning showed a new average asking price of $660,000 for Auckland apartments, up 31.5 per cent since November last year and almost twice as much as the price rise for Auckland houses, which rose 16.8 per cent annually.

Brendon Skipper, realestate.co.nz chief executive, said prices had been rising steadily since 2013.   Read more »

Council digs in on intensification

Auckland Council just won’t give in.

It’s desperate times at Auckland Council. They are desperate because the Compact City dream they have held for years is on the brink of being lost to greenfield expansion.

Unitary Plan submitters have Council on the ropes. The evidence prepared by Council to support the Compact City is rubbish and the Independent Hearings Panel well and truly buys the truth that there is no way Council’s dreams can turn to reality.

The only option is to release more land in greenfield locations. But no, Council is so desperate they would rather zone most of the city for high rise apartments than concede defeat.

The poshest and poorest neighbourhoods in Auckland will be rezoned for more housing and apartments, confidential documents and maps obtained by the Heraldshow.

Some of Takapuna’s most prized streets could lose single house, tree and garden status. Housing density along Lake Rd, one of the city’s worst bottlenecks, will more than double in places.

Many of South Auckland’s poorest suburbs are also set to house more people. Intensive terraced housing and apartment blocks of four to six storeys are planned for Otara, Mangere, Manurewa and Clendon Park.

The full extent of the changes, marked “confidential” and “legally privileged”, were discussed by councillors on the Unitary Plan committee behind closed doors on Tuesday.

They represent the council’s latest position on the Unitary Plan for the North Shore, Rodney, the eastern suburbs of Howick and Pakuranga and South Auckland.

The Herald has not seen the zoning changes for the central isthmus and West Auckland, approved by the Unitary Plan committee on November 10.

This week, the Herald reported senior council planner John Duguid saying tens of thousands of suburban homes in Auckland would probably be rezoned from the single house zone for multiple townhouses and apartments.

Mr Duguid said the rezoning was part of the Unitary Plan process and the council would not notify individual homeowners of the changes. Maps showing the zone changes will be made public next month.

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Diary of an Auckland Council city planner

Monday

Dear diary – today has been intense. I had to think really hard all day about affordable housing. The media are hounding on about it for poorer people and first homers. Screw them all I say. This city is going places. Thank goodness for the view from the new office. Lovely. I could see people down in Federal Street. In and out of the dining at Depot. I like the paving. It looks great. Didn’t know where to begin on the housing though. We’ve got no new ideas and the ideas we have are top shelf and don’t need to be changed. What is affordable housing anyway? It’s a load of cock and balls. Solved my problem – this afternoon I ordered an economic assessment from a Takapuna geographer come pseudo economist for a very good price of $150,000. I’ve specifically told him what answers I want to hear and the ones I don’t. He is a master of trickery. We gotta confuse the matter more to throw everyone off the scent to keep on task. Great place to start. Back slaps and high fives all round.

Tuesday

Used my crayon set this morning to work with our urban design team to draw walking routes and cycle ways around the city.  Problem is there are just roads everywhere and we’ve got no room for everything. All those smelly fumes will make the riding suck so we will have to have a chat with Auckland Transport about reducing car lanes. Who gives a toss if the cars are jammed up. We concluded that we need to upgrade Queen Street – again – and pedestrianise it fully. Screw the retailers and commuters. They’ll bitch and whinge for a week but when they see how wonderful our plan is they will be happy to walk and skip and ditch their cars. We better get our drawings converted into a printed manual. Use a graphic artist I think. Who did we use for the Auckland Plan document I wonder? That was cheap at $500k.

Had lunch with the Mayor all afternoon. As always he got us to pay for it on our Council credit cards. He’s worried about the affordable housing wrecking the compact city. Says he’s not standing next year. Pity. He’s been a great glove puppet.   Read more »

Idiot councillor can’t see wood for trees

It appears that everyone else in Auckland knows why the Special Housing Areas have been a flop – except Chris Darby.

Darby just doesn’t know and is seeking ‘data’ to help him understand.

An Auckland councillor has expressed frustration at the lack of information and progress on the city’s special housing areas.

Chris Darby, deputy chairman of the Auckland Development Committee, said he had sought the data on progress many weeks ago and deputy mayor Penny Hulse supported him in his requests.

“I’m disappointed and that’s why I’ve been asking for this information formally since September 9,” Darby said.

The Herald revealed how only 102 residences are known to have been built two years into a three-year timeframe target to get 39,000 consents for new Auckland homes and new residential sections.

[…]    Read more »

People want more houses, but don’t want government to use any land to deliver them

NIMBYism is alive and well in South Auckland….and rank hypocrisy from labour MPs.

It seems that no one actually wants poor houses (affordable houses) near them, lowering their house values.

A bid to stop a high-density housing development in South Auckland is “ill-informed” and will not be considered, Housing Minister Nick Smith says.

A 4000-signature petition was presented to Labour MP Su’a William Sio on Parliament’s steps this afternoon by two members of Save our Unique Land (SOUL).

The group opposed plans for a Special Housing Area (SHA) in Oruarangi Road, Mangere.

There are plans to build 480 houses on the 33-hectare block of farmland, which is next to the Otuataua Stonefields.

Mr Sio said the Government had no right to use the housing crisis as an excuse to destroy a site which had heritage value to mana whenua.

He said the group wanted a housing solution that was affordable and protected the sacred grounds on the neighbouring land.

But Dr Smith said the petitioners’ concerns had already been considered and dismissed in an Environment Court decision.

“There are no grounds of which that Special Housing Area status could lawfully be undone and that is why the petition is ill-informed,” he said.

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Auditor-General says Auckland Council budget is poo

Auditor-General Lyn Provost has pilloried Auckland Council for the state of its accounts and its budget. The Long Term Plan lacks integrity.

She has recommended – in Auckland Council’s annual report – that the Council include a sensitivity analysis in future long-term plans on how growth rates impact the budget. Sensitivity analysis is code for ‘forecast costings’.

There are a range of issues raised by the Auditor-General in her assessment.

For example she expressed concern that Council have excluded targeted rates from its calculations which meant staff were able to announce fictional levels of rate rise. Basically fudging numbers allowing for understating of rates rises. Hardly a surprise!

The Auditor-General was also unhappy with the manner in which Council calculated and recorded debt – deliberately leaving out Watercare related debts and costs which would have to be some of the biggest on the books. Council debt rose from a staggering $1.3 billion to an eye watering $7.3 billion. What was that spent on?   Read more »