​How We Can Build The Kind Of Housing We Want And Need

Mar 20, 2018 | News

Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge research – involving Professor Laurence Murphy in Auckland and Dr Bev James in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty – show that the Special Housing Areas legislation introduced in 2013 shows little evidence of having stimulated additional housing production and generated even less affordable housing.

With the agreement of the Minister of Housing and local councils, Special Housing Areas (SHAs) have been established in some areas with very high housing costs. They allow developers to cut through existing planning regulations and were supposed to encourage the release of land by reducing consenting costs.

However, relatively few houses have been built in developments that were not already on the way. Some areas such as Hobsonville, for example, were being developed prior to being listed as a SHA.

Professor Murphy’s research found that “while 35,000 consents were issued for SHAs in Auckland, during this time, only a couple of thousand buildings were actually built. Our research shows speeding up the planning didn’t actually turn into more houses immediately.”

A similar situation was discovered by Dr James in Tauranga with the 15 SHAs in the Western Bay Of Plenty region not meeting a wide range of housing needs, including a rapidly growing retired population and a shortage of affordable rentals.

Dr James’ research also reveals that the SHA legislation avoids defining what an affordable house actually is and does not require that affordable housing is produced.

Similarly, Hobsonville is producing family houses that are mostly too expensive for low to middle income earners to afford.

“People think we will get affordable housing if we just build more houses,” says Dr Murphy. “But actually the houses we are building are neither affordable nor targeted to meet the needs of those middle to low income earners, who make up a significant part of our economy.”

Relying on simply building more houses is not an effective pathway to generating affordable housing.

“To reduce their risks, developers want to keep prices high and so often land bank when prices are not rising. They do not build in a falling market,” says Professor Murphy.

Special Housing Areas may provide some opportunities for increased housing supply but Dr James has pointed out that these need to be combined with other initiatives.

“The new builds for transitional housing in Opal Drive, Papamoa East, for instance, is destined to supply nineteen, right-sized houses and has involved Government and community partnering with the Ministry of Social Development, Housing New Zealand and the Tauranga Community Housing Trust,” she explains.

BBHTC research is now exploring how SHAs can be made more effective through interviews with developers and looking at latest practice.

Programme leader Dr Kay Saville-Smith says that there are other models which can be used to attract developers into building affordable housing not simply for very poor people but to provide for people who simply can not afford to live in the areas in which they work without some active policy.

“People who provide key services to a community are often not high income and yet are vital to the local community. Inclusionary requirements and incentives can ensure that communities have a balanced building stock. There is an example of that in Queenstown SHAs. We will be exploring those practices and also whether some strategies used by developers such as covenants need to be amended if communities are to have the affordable housing they need.”

About Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities
Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) is one of 11 National Science Challenges, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE). BBHTC undertakes world-class research to shape New Zealand’s built environment and strengthen communities. The Challenge develops findings that will empower public, planners and policymakers with reliable information and new tools for fresh thinking and better decisions. The Challenge is discovering new pathways to address the long-standing housing challenges of our most disadvantaged and to support Māori into healthy homes.

Recent articles

Annual Report

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

Strategic Plan

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

Featured Network

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Our Place

Our Place 2017

Our Place 2017

Case Studies

Media Releases

The Shift Aotearoa conference 2021 issues papers released

Community Housing Aotearoa’s three pre-conference work programmes are kicking off next week with initial zoom meetings in the Narrative Transformation and Housing System Settings streams scheduled for Tuesday 26 January at 10AM and 1PM respectively. Issues papers to...

News

CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September

CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) has put together this document to consolidate information, contacts, resources and advice to help you in your day to day service delivery and decision making. It will be updated as new...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) COVID-19 Update 26 August 2021

Message from CHA's Chief Executive, Productivity Commission Submission - Include Housing in the Terms of Reference, CHA's support for members, sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation, important...

Newsletters

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 30 August 2021

Message from Chief Executive, Support for Members, CHA Regional Event Series, #right2housing - Episode 2, Community Finance named as finalists at Sustainable Business Awards, Feedback sought on draft strategy and planning policy for housing measures, An update on the...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 18 August 2021

Community Housing Aotearoa COVID-19 Update, Message from CHA's Chief Executive, CHA's support for members, Sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation. Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 18...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 16 August 2021

Warm Welcome for CHA's new Chief Executive, CHA Regional Event Series, Masterclass Webinar on Place-based initiatives: Save the Date! Government Reinstates Operating Supplement. On-going Engagement Underway - HRC Framework Guidelines on the #right2housing in Action....

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 3 August 2021

CHA Regional Event Series, Human Rights Commission Framework Guidelines on the Right to a Decent Home, Stories of Homelessness: When the Dominoes Start to Fall, Tenancy Management - Code of Practice, In the News, EVENTS, Upcoming Homestar v5 Events. Community Housing...

Submissions

Legislation

Reports

Te Whakaruruhau Report

The Te Whakaruruhau Report establishes the peak body services to the Homelessness Sector by Te Matapihi he Tirohanga mō te IwiTrust and Community Housing Aotearoa. The report can be found here: Te Whakaruruhau September 2020

Research

Following the money

http://www.buildingbetter.nz/publications/contestable_research_projects/Saville-Smith_2018_following_the_money.pdf

BRANZ research report on ‘exceeding the minimum’ released

This report looks at the question: why don’t landlords choose features that exceed the minimum building standards and what are the enablers to changing this? The aim is to identify the barriers to an improved rental stock and potential solutions to overcome the...

Community Housing Aotearoa

Contact Us

Contact Info

Level 11, Ranchhod Tower,
39 The Terrace /
102-112 Lambton Quay
PO Box 11543
Wellington 6142

+04 385 8722

support@communityhousing.org.nz

Follow On