Auckland must think strategically about how the housing system can provide secure, healthy and affordable homes for all its residents.
The housing system does not work for many Aucklanders. We currently have one of the least
affordable housing markets in the world, and Aucklanders, whether buying or renting, pay more for housing than most other New Zealanders.
Addressing these issues will require different ideas and approaches.
How we got to this point
In recent times, Auckland's housing supply has not kept pace with increases in population or met demand for investment, creating the current housing crisis.
Over the last few decades Aucklanders have generally had high expectations of their housing in terms of size and type: large and free standing. This determined what was being built and affected the average cost of housing.
Today, speculation in the real estate market pits investors against first-home buyers. This has underpinned price increases that have significantly outstripped wage and salary growth.
Since 1981, house prices in Auckland have increased at a faster rate than in the rest of New Zealand. Over the past 15 years they have trebled, and in the past five years they have increased by over 50 per cent.
The result is that a growing number of Aucklanders cannot afford to buy a home and will therefore not benefit from the financial security that home ownership traditionally provides, putting them at a significant disadvantage in both the short and long term.
Rents have also outstripped wage and salary growth, straining the budgets of many families and households. This has resulted in increasing incidences of
housing stress, and the numbers of people who find themselves homeless have increased considerably.
Read more about homelessness in Auckland.
House price and rent increases also mean some households find themselves in unsuitable accommodation. Some live far from jobs, schools and other amenities due to limited availability of affordable options.
This trade-off between the cost of housing and proximity to jobs and amenities is a driver of spatial inequalities and social exclusion in Auckland.
Changing the housing system
Auckland needs holistic thinking and action. Local and central government, developers, builders, home-owners, investors, renters and non-government organisations all have a stake in the system and can all work towards smarter solutions.
It is clear that the market has failed to supply the number and types of housing to meet Aucklanders' needs.
There are many factors that affect how many houses we build, how quickly we build them, what type of houses we build, and what they cost.
The way we regulate land supply, what we charge for development, and the size and capacity of the building sector are all aspects of the housing system that influence the price of a completed home.
But other fundamentals of the system also have to be looked at. For example:
- how and where urban development is initiated, and by whom
- productivity of the development and building sectors and their ability to innovate
- ability to ramp up construction activity in times of strong demand
- the cost of new infrastructure for development and who pays for this
- different tax treatment of property investment relative to other investment types
- building material costs and the limits on product choice
- property sales methods
- the financial sector's lending and ownership criteria
- how innovative building approaches become mainstream.
In addition, affordability interventions generally focus on the price of a home. There are other large household budget items that are often ignored, yet are part of ongoing living costs - being able to afford living in a home once you have it is as important. For example, the urban form and where housing is located increases or minimises people's transport costs.
Demographic change and housing demands
Within the general context of consistent population growth, there are some broad population characteristics and shifts that will drive the demand for different housing solutions.
Auckland's and New Zealand's population is ageing. Over the next 30 years, a larger number of people will be aged 65 years and over. This group will also make up a larger proportion of Auckland's population than ever before.
The ability to find suitable and affordable housing in Auckland is not always straightforward for older people. The available housing stock often does not meet their needs, and the costs of both private and rental housing are increasing. Also, the overall quality of the housing stock is poor, particularly the quality of rental stock, which has both health and safety implications.
Within this general trend there are several sub-trends that may impact on housing demand.
For example, Auckland's Māori and Pacific populations will continue to have relatively younger age structures due to their higher birth rates and by 2038 are expected to reach a median age of 29.2 years and 29.7 years, respectively, compared with 42.0 years for Europeans.
Māori and Pacific peoples have seen no increase in home ownership over the past 30 years.
If Māori and Pacific families are to enjoy the security of tenure, social mobility and levels of wellbeing in line with other groups, their poor housing outcomes cannot continue for the next 30 years.
Auckland's places and spaces are where we live, work and play. Public places can be:
- parks, playgrounds and sports fields
- streets and roadways
- town centres with their squares, plazas and spaces between buildings.
These places are where we meet and interact with each other, relax, enjoy being in the open air, share our diversity and celebrate successes.
They have a key role in Aucklanders' mental and physical health as they are places for activity and recreation. Public places where people can interact and connect have always been important and will continue to be vital to Auckland's success.
Public places are part of a holistic approach to wellbeing and can provide respite for those who feel isolated or experience stress or safety issues at home.
As Auckland's population grows, we must provide sufficient public places that meet the needs of residents. They are an extension of our homes and the way we live, and their design must therefore be flexible to accommodate how people of all age groups will use them.
At its core, placemaking recognises that the elements of place such as buildings, uses and people are experienced and created collectively.
When we focus on place, we do things differently. Placemaking recognises that our places foster wellbeing and support the way we live. It is a process that puts community-based participation at its centre.
Good design influences what is possible in a space:
- would you walk through here?
- would you sit here?
- would you enjoy yourself here?
- who might you bump into?
The quality of our public realm is critical to the successful evolution of our urban areas in particular.
Auckland's vision for the future is not only limited to what is measurable such as the number of jobs and homes created; it includes the quality of places that are created.
placemaking right is crucial to the Auckland Plan's quality compact growth model.
Public places reflect who we are and where we have come from; they are the destinations we travel to and they contribute to our feeling of belonging.
How we will measure progress
We will track progress against a set of
The measures for this outcome are:
- New dwellings consented by location and type
- Net new dwellings consented and completed
- Housing costs as a percentage of household income
- How Aucklanders feel about their local area
How we can implement the plan
Aucklanders have a shared responsibility for
implementing the plan.