bold thinking needed to resolve housing issues

bold thinking needed to resolve housing issues

We live in a great city. But like all large cities around the world, we’re facing challenges around growth. We’re not delivering houses fast enough to meet demand, costs are increasing rapidly due to resource constraints and decision-making around where to invest in infrastructure is slow, making it challenging to address housing affordability.

In order to tackle Auckland’s (and increasingly New Zealand’s) housing shortage and affordability issue, we can’t keep doing what we’re doing. We need to adopt a bold new way of thinking to ensure we can provide for our future generations and shape the world we live in.

A fresh approach to housing would see large scale development in new areas, made up of several thousand homes financed either privately or by the government. This would drive large economies of scale for the infrastructure required, and the construction of the houses themselves.

Any such ‘new town’ should be sited alongside or close to public transport infrastructure to leverage the existing assets and avoid further congestion. There are numerous areas both north and south of Auckland that could be suitable for large scale development. These areas could be serviced by our existing rail network if stations and facilities were installed. In turn, this would provide both revenue and value capture opportunities for Councils and Government.

This concept was first publicised last year by Infrastructure New Zealand and includes a lot of the thinking we’ve done here at HG around tackling the housing issue. The idea of a ‘satellite city’ may be new to New Zealand, but it’s often used in other parts of the world.

A new city should also offer the market a much needed mix of housing typography. More than half the demand for housing is currently for one and two bedroom households, yet the majority of houses being built are three to four bedrooms or larger.

The houses being built are also still largely disparate. To improve efficiencies we should be designing and building more standardised houses similar to the UK, Europe and USA (and recently, at Hobsonville Point in Auckland). Modular homes should also be considered part of the tool kit to save on time and improve efficiency and quality.

Acceptance of smaller land parcels and smaller - standardised homes being delivered to the market means affordability isn’t out of reach. Couple that with large scale development with amenity outside of central Auckland, and it’s a step in the right direction to solving the problem.

Since becoming Managing Director in 2012, Glen has been steering our 132-year old company through significant transformation and growth

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