For the better part of the last two years journalists, property experts, politicians, developers, council leaders, prospective council leaders, real estate agents and town planners have all been sharing their opinions on what will ease Auckland’s, and subsequently New Zealand’s, housing crisis.
There has been a lot of talk, a little more building but still one hell of a supply-demand problem.
Issues and effects including first home buyers, ‘mum and dad’ investors, foreign buyers, record high migration, lack of necessary infrastructure and low interest rates have all been coined as issues that have led to this crisis. These are all issues that have similarly affected major cities across the world.
Now we have the Unitary Plan, and there certainly is more supply – on paper at least.
Maybe there is another way. As told by Vox.com in this article, Tokyo has managed to keep the rise in the price of homes comparable to the rise in population. This is very dissimilar to other cities across America and the UK. It is attributed to allowing housing supply to keep up with housing demand.
How refreshing. If I may, I’ll just leave this little reminder here.
Ultimately, Tokyo’s housing market stability is due to the rate at which they issue consents for new dwellings. In the year to June 2016, Auckland issued 9,651 consents for new houses. In 2014 there were 142,417 consents issued for new housing units in Tokyo. In California in the same year, the entire state only issued 83,657 consents. It is clear that the rate at which Tokyo allows their city to grow has an effect on the cost of housing.
I know all you NIMBY’s don’t want to hear this, but Tokyo are able to issue so many consents because of their overarching nationwide regulations. There is very little you can do, as a neighbour, if someone decides they want to build an apartment building next to your family home. There are rules that govern size and typology, but comply with those liberal controls and there is no need for a town planner.
However, because we’re so use to our quarter acre dream (now 350m2), that level of deregulation wouldn’t work in Auckland, and yet we are slowly accepting that there has to be a better way. Japan’s idea of cutting some of the red tape out of building new homes is clearly on the money. The Unitary Plan (on paper) provides for the increase we require.
Now all we need is the required infrastructure to line up and for those Council staff at the coalface to play their part. Heck! I could be out of a job. Some might see that as a good thing!