Friday, November 06, 2015

National's failure on housing

Two years ago National announced its "solution" to the housing crisis: the creation of "special housing areas", with fast-track consenting. This was supposed to unlock new land for new houses, increasing supply and making homes more affordable. So how has it worked out in practice?


Two years after auckland council and the government signed a "housing accord", only 102 houses are known to have been built under its "fast-track" rules.

All of them have been constructed in just two areas: Weymouth and northern tamaki. The council is not aware of any homes being completed under the fast-track provisions in any of the other 95 special housing areas (SHAs).

Instead, at least two blocks of land and a commercial property have been put up for sale after their value was boosted by being designated as SHAs. One was advertised as "a land-banking option".

At least one other property owner has opted out of the fast-track provisions allowed under the SHA rules because these require a proportion of "affordable" housing.

This is simply dismal. Instead of new houses, National's policy has simply resulted in more speculation by land-bankers. Heckuva job you've done there Nick. You can be really proud of yourself.

It is clear by now that the market will not solve the housing crisis. In fact, it is not interested in solving the housing crisis, because there's no profit in that. If we want every kiwi to have a home, we're going to have to fall back on the tried and tested solution, the one we know works: getting the government to build them.