Auckland Council has set an ambitious target to improve the city’s housing affordability.
It wants to see median house prices in the city fall to five times media household income, which in today’s terms would be about $400,000.
The target was set by the council’s development committee, after receiving a hard-hitting housing report from its chief economist Chris Parker.
“At the moment, it takes nine to 10 times your average salary to buy a house in Auckland. The average household salary is around the $80,000 mark, average house prices around the $800,000 mark,”‘ committee chairwoman and deputy mayor, Penny Hulse said.
“We’re saying over the next 10 or 15 years we want to bring it down to one in five, which means in today’s figures an average household salary of $80,000, average house price down to $400,000.”
Hulse said the target would not be easy to hit, and would involve a continued focus on working with the Government, developers, and community housing providers.
“There’s no silver bullet and it takes a whole lot of people collaborating.
“Each of us has a different part of the work to do, so for council it’s about simplifying our planning rules, simplifying our design requirements, making sure we’ve got enough land supply and enough infrastructure to deal with that increased land supply. And looking at how we can work with the building sector at how we can reduce the actual cost of building houses.”
The committee has also asked Panuku, its new development arm, on the best sites for three key new housing projects using council-owned land.
“We just handed them a long list of areas and they’re going to come back to us with a short-list in December.”
Panuku would potentially partner up with Crown land as it had in the Tamaki and Hobsonville housing projects. Council partnerships with developers meant the council had more say on the proportion of affordable or social housing in such developments.
Working with private developers also meant the council could have a say in getting the right mix of housing.
In some areas it was not social housing but affordable housing that was the most urgent need, she said.
Other times, a greater focus on townhouses and apartments was more appropriate than houses to bring costs down.