The average house price in Auckland is now in excess of $1,000,000 and in that environment what does affordable housing mean? In excess of $650,000 apparently. This is still way out of reach for the majority of Kiwis and the impact of that is an ever downward spiral of and exodus of people seeking their first homes away from Auckland.
That sort of exodus means a continuing shortage of staff in key roles. Teachers are one good example. One primary school principal said to me only recently that teachers applying for roles are typically newly qualified living at home or flatting, or mature teachers who are already well established. As the new teachers gain experience and get to the point of wanting to set up on their own they then have to leave town, and so the cycle continues. It isn’t just teachers, as many other working people cannot afford to get a mortgage even on above average salaries. This is exacerbated as house price inflation greatly outstrips real inflation and salary/wage increases. So the situation continues to get worse.
So, although the proposed intensification of housing in Auckland outlined in the Unitary Plan should be broadly welcomed, little of the housing will be priced at a level even professionals will be able to afford. As little as 2% it seems, and that is too little. Developers it seems will be the real winners, as houses are sold at market value rather than be related to the true cost of building them.
So what do we want to do about it?
- First, echo Peter Dunne’s call for a Housing Summit for all interested parties to identify some real opportunities to find a resolution and take the politicking out of the discussion.
- Second, engage with groups like “Coalition for More Homes” to press for a better deal to get more low cost homes social housing units, as well as pressing for improved public transport infrastructure to service both existing and proposed housing areas.
Strong UnitedFuture representation can contribute to a constructive debate for the future of housing in Auckland.
UnitedFuture for Auckland’s future.
Paul Thompson, Auckland Board Member UnitedFuture New Zealand