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Auckland experiencing urban housing surge

Published: 7 August 2018

The Auckland Unitary Plan is having a major impact on the city’s development with consents for residential housing within existing urban areas surging to new highs.

New figures, presented to Auckland Council’s Planning Committee yesterday, shows that total dwellings consented in the 10 months to May 2018 are up 27 per cent compared to the same period the year before.

About 90 per cent of the growth in new dwelling consents is within the existing urban (or brownfields) area, in places that the Auckland Unitary Plan identified for a significant increase in housing choices.

Overall, over 60 per cent of total growth is planned to take place in existing brownfields areas.

Mayor Phil Goff says it’s clear that the Auckland Unitary Plan is a success and is delivering major change for Auckland’s future development.

“I welcome the 27 per cent increase in new dwellings consented in Auckland. It is helping to bridge the shortfall of houses needed to cater for our rapid population growth.

“New dwellings consented to June this year have reached 12,300, the highest since September 2004. The Auckland Unitary Plan enables in excess of one million potential new dwellings to be built with recent estimates suggesting around 340,000 are commercially feasible.

“The Unitary Plan is to helping deliver a more compact city ensuring Aucklanders are living closer to transport links, employment centres and public amenities,” said Phil Goff.

Greenfields development trend reversing

Planning Committee Chair, Councillor Chris Darby says: “In less than two years since adoption of the Unitary Plan, we’re now seeing the market responding to the need for more housing in existing urban areas. This is reversing the trend of the last seven years for building predominately in greenfield areas.

“People want to live in connected communities and are choosing to live closer to rapid transit with better access to jobs, schools and amenities such as parks and shops that brownfield areas provide.”

More development close to bus and rail

The report also reveals that around 40 per cent of all new consents are on the existing train and northern busway network.

“There is a strong case for more investment in rapid public transit, including rail, light rail and busways, to provide people with greater access to frequent and efficient transport services. This is becoming an important factor for people when choosing where they want to live," says Councillor Darby.

“While land is cheaper in rural areas on the outskirts of the city, providing the infrastructure necessary to support developments in these areas is expensive, as are the added costs of traveling further to jobs and other services and facilities.” 

Auckland Unitary Plan’s impact on residential housing growth

  • Brownfield areas dominate consents growth: 90 per cent of all growth in new dwellings consented in the 10 months to May 2018 is in existing urban areas.
  • A move away from rural development: The share of total new dwellings consented in brownfield areas in the 10 months to May 2018 has grown from 62 to 69 per, reversing a trend towards greenfields development over the past seven years.
  • Greater housing choices: Terraced houses and apartments are now 54 per cent of all new dwellings consented, compared to 37 per cent two years ago, prior to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
  • Urban areas are becoming compact: In the urban area around 66 per cent of new dwellings are multi-unit housings, consistent with the Auckland Unitary Plan goals.
  • More homes consented close to vital transport routes: Around 40 per cent of all new consents are on the existing train and northern busway network. The market response in housing supply is strongest in the city centre, and in centres that are connected by rail and busways.

The full report, Impacts of the Unitary Plan on residential development, is available on the Planning Committee agenda.