The demand for housing has far outstripped supply in many of the world’s global cities.
When many people compete for the same houses, prices soar and affordability becomes a critical issue for communities.
Affordable Housing Plans and Intiatives
In Auckland, housing affordability is being addressed in a variety of ways through legislation as well as targeted action plans and initiatives, such as The Auckland Plan (2012) that encourages development inside existing suburbs (up to 70 per cent) and outside the existing city limit (up to 40 per cent). Auckland Council also actively stages the release of land to ensure seven years supply of land is available at all times with urban zoning and bulk infrastructure services in place. The 97 newly-established Special Housing Areas throughout Auckland are also helping to accelerate land release.
The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) encourages more intensification in parts of Auckland with good transport connectivity. The PAUP targets the provision of a wider range of housing options for people who have differing housing needs based on their circumstances. One or two-person households are becoming more common and this is a trend that evidence from other major cities across the world suggests will continue.
Other Auckland Council initiatives include the creation of Panuku Development Auckland. With more than $1 billion of council-owned property under its management, new CCO Panuku Development Auckland has been set up to focus on unlocking redevelopment opportunities across this portfolio in partnership with others. Alongside partners such as the private sector, iwi, central government and not-for-profit organisations, Panuku will strategically leverage this portfolio to regenerate a limited number of other carefully selected locations of scale. In addition, it will manage this portfolio to contribute value back to council thorough surplus property sales and help progress the council’s housing and town centre regeneration objectives.
The availability of secure, healthy and affordable homes is fundamental to the wellbeing of the community and economy. In support of this, The Auckland Plan sets a strategic direction to house all Aucklanders in secure, healthy homes that they can afford. The Auckland Plan contains four priorities to achieve this, which are:
- increase housing supply to meet demand.
- increase housing choice to meet diverse preferences and needs.
- improve the quality of existing and new housing; and to
- improve housing affordability and the supply of affordable housing.
To deliver on the priorities in the Auckland Plan, the Housing Action Plan (HAP) was adopted by Auckland Council in December 2012 with the purpose of having a multi-sector commitment to improve the delivery of quality, affordable housing in Auckland. The HAP is also the result of Auckland Council identifying the tools and levers it can use to influence housing both in the broader issue of housing supply, as well as the role that it can play in affordable housing.
The HAP sets out 32 separate actions and identifies priority areas to help Auckland Council and the housing sector respond to Auckland’s housing needs. One of these actions is that inclusionary zoning options to be tested through the draft Unitary Plan informal consultation process” (Priority Area 6) – see further a section on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan in Affordable Housing. Inclusionary zoning is a generic term given to ordinances that require a given share of new construction to be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes, usually as a result of higher density allowances. Another action is to “investigate how Council could act as a guarantor for a pilot housing bond . . “ (Priority Area 3) – see further section on the New Zealand Housing Bonds in Community Housing Sector.
Following both the adoption of the Auckland Plan and the Housing Action Plan, Auckland Council and the Government signed the Auckland Housing Accord in September 2013, which was supported by the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act (HASHAA).
The Auckland Housing Accord aims to accelerate delivery of housing across the city as part of the plan to help alleviate Auckland’s housing situation. Pursuant to the Auckland Housing Accord, Special Housing Areas are identified for fast-track development and benefit from special consenting and approval processes. There are affordable housing requirements in Special Housing Areas that require a proportion of new housing developments to be affordable for people with low to moderate incomes.
Auckland Council is in the process of finalising a new plan for Auckland that in its current form is called the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP). The PAUP also contains affordable housing requirements. In the interim, the HASHAA provides the means for affordable housing to be delivered in SHAs. The specifications for affordability are detailed in the relevant Order in Council for each of the SHAs.
Social Housing Reform Programme
Along with these legislative and planning initiatives, the Government has initiated its social housing reform programme to grow the community housing sector.