Story image

Auckland inner-city height restrictions weighing on supply, RBNZ's Wheeler says

25 Feb 15

New Zealand's government has taken a number of good steps to improve housing supply in Auckland, where prices have soared on a lack of new stock, but could take a look at height restrictions in the inner-city to address the shortfall, according to Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler.

The nation's biggest city has a shortfall of between 15,000 and 20,000 properties to meet population growth, and the 7,500 annual consents for new building permits is lagging behind the 10,000 it needs to address the shortage, Wheeler told Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee. The government's steps to improve supply by introducing special housing areas where consents could be fast-tracked had been "very good to open up new areas" to help deal with the shortfall, though more could be done in restrictions limiting building in the inner-city, he said.

"Work needs to be done in inner-Auckland in increasing the height restrictions and 'not in my backyard' syndrome," Wheeler said. "The government has done a good thing in asking the Productivity Commission to look at the sorts of issues that might relate to zoning conditions, regulatory reform, approval processes and we'll be interested to see the outcome of that."

Earlier this month Wheeler told the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce he was monitoring the Auckland property market closely as house prices accelerated in the face of cheap credit, a rising population and limited supply. In 2013 he imposed restrictions on the level of low-equity mortgage lending private banks could write as a means to take the heat out of the property market.

Wheeler today told legislators the special housing areas faced a challenge in converting that fast-tracked consent into actual building, and whether they would be able to attract buyers, who would weigh up their location on the periphery of Auckland against infrastructure concerns, such as transport costs.

He declined to comment on whether central government should build more houses itself.

Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.
Preparing for e-invoicing requirements
The New Zealand and Australian governments are working on a joint approach to create trans-Tasman standards to e-invoicing that’ll make it easier for businesses in both countries work with each other and across the globe
5c more per share: Trade Me bidding war heats up
Another bidder has entered the bidding arena as the potential sale of Trade Me kicks up a notch.
Hootsuite's five social trends marketers should take note of
These trends should keep marketers, customer experience leaders, social media professionals and executives awake at night.
Company-X celebrates ranking on Deloitte's Fast 500 Asia Pacific
Hamilton-based software firm Company-X has landed a spot on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2018 ranking - for the second year in a row.
Entrepreneur reactivates business engagement in AU Super funds
10 million workers leave it up to employers to choose their Super fund for them – and the majority of employers are just as passive and unengaged at putting that fund to work.
Tether: The Kiwi startup fighting back against cold, damp homes
“Mould and mildew are the new asbestos. But unlike asbestos, detecting the presence – or conditions that encourage growth – of mould and mildew is nearly impossible."
Capitalising on exponential IT
"Exponential IT must be a way of life, not just an endpoint."