Not good for Len’s plans of a compact city

apartmentPolicy Parrot says:

The latest NZ Herald headline on building consents says it all. Building Consents slip on dwindling apartment market.

One could make a good cheap hack at Auckland Council. Dwindling apartment market. Yes. Because nobody wants to buy apartments? Perhaps.

Rather than be so black and white one needs to ask why? What is it about apartments that makes for such miserably slow sales at low volumes.

Some would say cost and it is true that comparatively a two bedroom apartment of complying size will cost as much as a new house on the outskirts. In itself that changes the way buyers think.

Others site preferences for houses and land that has long biased the market towards houses.

Whatever the reasons it does appear absurd that nobody actually knows, least of all Auckland Council. Where is the study that would inform Council as to the success of the compact city based on more intensive forms of development like apartments?

The reality is that there is a distinct lack of credibility to plans to compact the city with very particular housing typologies that have a a history of low sales volume and even today ‘dwindle’.

The issue is that there has to be a reason. So what is that reason? 

This Parrot suggests that Council should have prepared an investigation into the market to succinctly understand how it works and why. Doesn’t the skill basis of good planning combine a succinct understanding of the market place with planning technical expertise to ensure the market can function and deliver whilst also ensuring the outcomes are good?

This Parrot would like to imply that Auckland Council planners don’t really understand the marketplace at all, and plan our city in silo of their Ivory Tower using theory, dreams and a dogged determination to force change.

I’d be interested to see how the planners can link their work to how the market place works and demonstrate expertise and understanding that would give all the confidence that the Unitary Plan can and will be delivered, that it makes sense to a market place and will be result in a substantial change in the market.

Building consent values tell an interesting story. When a particular housing typology features as a low number they tell us that an issue exists in that part of the market.

This Parrot suggests that there is generally a distinct lack of understanding from Auckland Council about apartments and it should concern everyone.

Not that we will ever be provided an explanation. It does appear that Auckland Council is hell bent on forcing change regardless of the evidence that the market is resisting that.

Apartments always have their place but they are at very low volumes and always have been.

It’s a long way to go to make a market swing to producing 7,000 to 12,000 apartment dwellings per year when it appears to be dwindling in the hundreds.

This Parrot asks why nobody knows why that is.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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