Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme recently highlighted the need for there to be more readily available information on affordable housing in Auckland.
As a result, and as part of its key leadership role, Auckland Council is now working with developers and other parties to put together an affordable housing, online information source (see below).
While the council doesn’t build houses it does have a wide range of responsibilities in relation to housing including building and resource consents and planning rules and it works closely with central government, community agencies and the private sector to support work in the social and emergency housing areas.
Special Housing Areas
While the provision of affordable housing rests with individual housing providers Auckland Council has taken some significant steps to make sure there is an affordable housing supply through its Special Housing Areas or SHAs.
These areas were set up as part of the council’s Housing Accord with central government and in them the council’s consenting process is much faster than elsewhere. And each SHA is required by council to have a percentage allocated to affordable housing.
The percentage, or criteria, varies between areas however most developments have at least 10 percent affordable housing. At Hobsonville Point it is 20 percent and those houses are priced below $550,000 so they can be bought by people who earn the average Auckland wage. Community housing initiatives such as Waimahia are deemed entirely affordable and a few developments are too small to require an affordable component.
Housing for older persons
Auckland Council is committed to offering accommodation options to older people. It currently owns 1412 Housing for Older People units and has just undertaken a comprehensive consultation with the community about the future of that housing.
The plan is to partner with a community housing provider that will manage the units and therefore allowed access to income related rent subsidies from central government. By doing that council would be delivering a better service and an improved quality of housing. The decision on whether to go ahead with that plan will be made at the end of July.
The Unitary Plan
Also in July, Auckland Council is considering recommendations from an independent hearing’s panel on its proposed Unitary Plan which will be the planning rulebook for all of Auckland. It will be a set of rules that covers pretty much everything about what, where and how you can build in Auckland and will plan for the city’s future growth. Council’s decisions will be publicly notified on August 19.
More information for home buyers
Auckland Council is currently asking SHA consent holders for information on how they advertise their homes and the affordability component. Once collected that information will be posted on the Auckland Council website.
Check out the SHA links below, look for advertising from developers operating in the areas and contact real estate agents to find out who is marketing SHA product.
The First Home Buyers Club website is another useful place for information and includes a list of SHA developers.