NZ’s new coalition government and housing affordability

 

Can first home buyers still hope to enter the Auckland market?

After a cliffhanger of an election, where we were held in suspense about the outcome, we now know who will be governing New Zealand for the next few years.

Now the big question for us is what impact will the coalition agreement between Labour, New Zealand First, and the Greens have on housing affordability in New Zealand?

With some unlikely bedfellows in the mix, Labour will have its work cut out for it reassuring the country they should be in charge after coming in second in the voting, not to mention gaining consensus within the coalition to be able to effectively govern the country.

In a previous blog – Will the election outcome impact affordable housing? – we covered Labour’s housing policy prior to the election.

Primarily, Labour wants all Kiwis to have a fair chance at home ownership and a warm, dry, safe place to live. Labour’s plan to fix the housing crisis includes cracking down on speculators, building more affordable houses, supporting those in need, making life better for renters, and better homes for Maori.

This aligns with the Green Party’s policy, which centres around affordable access for all Kiwis, whether renters or owner-occupiers. Like Labour, they support the building of new homes. In addition, the Greens would like to have legal barriers to the development of co-operative housing, eco-villages, self-built, and sweat-equity housing removed.

New Zealand First’s housing policy includes the wish for government to buy land to make available for first-time homebuyers to build smaller, more affordable homes. Labour and New Zealand first have already agreed to place bans on foreign ownership. This should come as no surprise given their pre-election stance on this issue.

Increasing the supply of rental properties would appear to be an area of consensus between the three parties.

Labour’s desire to remove Auckland’s urban growth boundary, which encroaches on green zones and affects spatial mobility, might prove to be a more contentious issue. However, the idea of freeing up density controls could help provide a solution to the current imbalance between supply and demand of land.

Brownfield development is potential solution to the lack of land supply. Instead of lifting urban limits, using brownfields can help reduce urban sprawl. Brownfields are disused, abandoned, or under-utilised sites. Brownfield development may require remediation if the former industrial or commercial land had been contaminated with low-level waste or pollution. At other times, it’s simply a matter of rezoning the brownfield for housing use.

Inclusionary zoning, a concept introduced in the US in the 70s, has gained support internationally. It’s a concept where it’s mandatory for new developments to be mixed with a small portion of affordable housing. Again, with government support, this could form part of New Zealand’s solution to the challenge of affordable housing.

Forecasters are predicting that with the coalition agreement between Labour, New Zealand First, and the Greens housing prices will drop. Whether this leads to greater housing affordability in New Zealand is something time will tell.

Meanwhile, here at Eco Pod Concepts we are continuing with plans to increase our production and make housing more affordable. This includes streamlining production methods to meet the increasing demand for Pods.

We’re also aiming to set up Pods for rental accommodation and we are looking for land to do this. If you have suitable land, or know someone who does, we encourage you to get in touch with us.