Auckland Council’s ticky tacky little boxes

Auckland Council has pimped its compact city plan with choo choo trains and iddy, biddy, ticky, tacky apartments for years now. They’ve fought tooth and nail to get everyone to believe in ‘the vision’.

Every little bit of propaganda that can be trumpeted from a podium is rammed down the throats of anyone who will listen. The PR spin has been nauseating.

They’ve even had overseas so-called experts come to tell us why houses suck and of course let’s not forget the politicians and top council brass who have rolled out their favourite local poster boy property developer to do his bit. They’ve even helped Ito land deals they love him so much.

Except the word is that Len Brown’s favourite apartment property developer and championed poster boy – has come up short. His apartments fail to be anything more than over hyped pokey little rat holes with a glossy exterior. ?? Read more »

Photo Of The Day



Hanging out with Hendrix

Jimi Cooking Up A Storm

?34 Montagu Square, in Marylebone, London, is a part of music history. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr leased the ground-floor and basement apartment in the mid-1960s, and Paul McCartney created several Beatles demos there in 1965, including “I’m Looking Through You” from the album?Revolver.

Hendrix also lived in the apartment, subletting it from Ringo beginning in December 1966. He lived with his?girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, and also with his manager, Chas Chandler, and his girlfriend, Lotta Null. The monthly rent was??30.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Recycled / CFP In the city of Qingdao, a new apartment complex is raising eyebrows. Some of the windows, it seems, aren't windows. They're paint.

Photo: Recycled / CFP
In the city of Qingdao, a new apartment complex is raising eyebrows. Some of the windows, it seems, aren’t windows. They’re paint.

Rooms With No View

Fake Windows Adorn These Apartments In China Read more »

Good point John, but those whingers don’t vote for ya

The people who whinge about affordable housing and the fact they can’t afford to buy their million dollar house are probably not National voters.

John Key has given some sound but unpalatable advice for these whingers who have been brought up thinking the world owes them a living, or at the very least a million dollar house next to where their parents lived so they can dump the grand kids every time they want to go out to the swanky restaurants that infest their neighbourhood.

First home buyers in Auckland might have to consider an apartment in order to get onto the property ladder, Prime Minister John Key says.

His comments follow the release of new CVs for Auckland, which have soared since 2011, particularly in city-fringe suburbs.

There are fears the mostly higher CVs could lead to rates increases well in excess of the 3.7 per cent planned for homeowners by Mayor Len Brown next year.

The latest figures show CVs across the city have risen an average of 34 per cent since 2011, and in Hobsonville a whopping 65 per cent.

Mr Key told TVNZ’s Breakfast show today the valuations reflected what had been happening in Auckland over the past three years. ? Read more »


More favours for Len’s mates


Hobo housing?

Len Brown’s favourite property developer mate Mark Todd is still receiving beneficial favours with the Mayor providing space for him to display competitive entries for an apartment building design competition.

Len loves Mark because Mark is openly extolling the benefits of a compact city and the two are as thick as thieves.

The developer who is new to the Auckland scene has been spending time schmoozing politicians and council officers during the Auckland Unitary Plan process and has developed beneficial relationships. WOBH pointed out recently that one of the judges for the apartment design competition was none other than Jacques Victor who is a member of Len’s Mayoral office. ? Read more »

We don’t want your stinking apartments

Ever desperate to continue pitching for an intensified future Lawrence Yule and his buddies at Local Government NZ have organised a conference and found someone, anyone who will spout on about apartments.

The cost of properties with over-inflated price tags can be brought down with a rapid increase of high rise apartment blocks and granny flats, according to an expert speaking at a property seminar in Wellington tonight.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule will lead a panel discussion on housing affordability with Finance Minister Bill English, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, economist Arthur Grimes and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development chairman John Rae.

Aha! Someone who will say that building apartments will make a difference to house prices and demand.

Normally Arthur Grimes is considered to be pretty smart and he has some good things to say.

But it appears he lacks understanding precisely how the mechanism of property and how the buying market works.

In fact – not many people do at all.

New apartments have to sell for between 8,000 and 10,000 per square metre of floor space in Auckland on average to allow a developer a margin. That can drop slightly in the CBD if car parks are discounted off the price by not building them. A 100 sqm apartment therefore would have a sales price around $1m.

New houses have to sell for $3,000-3,500 psqm. A $1m house will most often be a big 250-300 sqm house on land with yard and so on.

Apartments have terribly high ongoing costs distributed through body corporate fees. Houses don’t. ?? Read more »

Council spin masquerading as news

A general view of newly-built houses at Dadun village of Lingshui ethnic Li autonomous county

Len Brown’s vision for Auckland? Affordable Compact Housing

The Council has started it’s PR spin prior to the Unitary Plan closing date next month.

The Herald on Sunday has an article moaning about Aucklanders wanting bigger houses.

Households are shrinking, property prices soaring and city land is running out ? so why do our homes keep getting bigger? With Auckland set to house an extra million people in the next 30 years, Heather McCracken looks at an emerging trend towards compact living. …

On an international scale, New Zealand’s houses are huge, and keep getting bigger.The average floor area for a new build last year was 197sqm -in crowded Auckland it was 203sq m. Nationally, that’s up from 135sq min 1990 – equivalent to a couple of extra bedrooms.

The size of new-builds was steadily climbing until 2010, when a stutter in the property market saw a drop. In Auckland, it peaked at 217sq min 2010, then dipped to 209sqmin 2011 and to 203sqm last year.

That’s perhaps because the number of apartments built in the region took a steep upturn last year-from 616 in 2012 to 1059 in the year to November.

But even the apartments are roomy – the average size last year was 113sq m. Compare that to the 45sqm average dwelling size in Hong Kong, 76sqmin the UK, or 95sqmin Japan.

So what is the Herald and council saying? That we should ‘aspire’ to live in shit-boxes like Hong Kong?

What is dumb about pushing people into smaller living is we are not actually desperate for housing. The census showed the housing shortfall was no more than 4,000 dwellings (not the 30,000 and 90,000 dwellings predicted by legacy councils in forecasting).

And we are a rich nation. On world standards life doesn’t get better than it it is in New Zealand anywhere else in the world. Wealth creates choice. So a council can state a preference for a type ?of housing but it fails to recognise that we can choose to do whatever we want.

And we are, why should we live in shor-boxes just because the council poobahs say we should?

Some real facts about apartments

The Herald has an article about the booming apartment market that really shows that journalists, real estate agents and commentators still don’t understand the industry they are reporting upon.

A property expert explains:

Apartments are not an affordable alternative to rising house prices. The reasons are obvious – if one knows what they are talking about – being:

  1. Houses cost between $1600 psqm and $2500 psqm to build on average;
  2. Apartments cost $2600 psqm to $4000 psqm to build on average;
  3. A 200 sqm house will retail for $400,000 plus land for $700-800,000 in Auckland (depending on the built spec);
  4. An 200 sqm apartment will retail for $1.8m to $2.4m. Land is such a fractional cost but inclusive;

Apartments are typically in heavy structured buildings with massive cost to provide car parks, lobbies, hallways, fire egress, lifts etc. they are very expensive to build.

Houses are by comparison very cheap to build. ?? Read more »

The fallacy of affordable housing


A reader emails about affordable housing.

Saw your post on the box solution but thought your question on why nobody was making solutions is interesting so here is my take on it:

To be affordable the cost of housing needs to be approximately 3 times the average income which is to say for Auckland around $220,000-250,000.

Houses were at this price or less only as far back as 2003 – 10 years ago. I recall friends acquiring a house in Kingsland for $238,000 in 2003 after selling a house in Waterview for $145,000.

Either a solution at or about $250,000 is required or alternatively incomes need to rise to reach $220,000 per annum.

The latter isn’t possible but it is fair to say incomes are part of the problem.

The most obvious solution is for housing that is priced in the $220-300,000 bracket.

The problem is that’s not possible. And that is why nobody is coming up with solutions. ? Read more »

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?? Read more »