Affordable housing – it can be done, it must be done.

Straight from city council
with councillor Steve Morris

The average sale price of homes in our city rose to more than $615,000 last month, which is welcome equity for homeowners.

But spare a thought for the 35 per cent and growing number of our residents who are renting.

The average Tauranga household income before tax is $55,800. With house prices rising faster than people can save more more of our residents feel the dream of home ownership is slipping away for good.

But it doesn't have to be this way; affordable housing isn't as hard as we've been made to think if there's the political will. We haven't built affordable homes in this city for 25 years.

Almost every subdivision has covenants, which include restrictions such as minimum floor area, glazed area, cladding requirements and a minimum number of angles on roofs. In one subdivision in Papamoa you can't build a home less than 200m2.

Gone are my grandparents' days of building a 90m2 two-bedroom home and being able to add a bedroom or garage when you could afford it. This generation has to build their third home first and mortgage themselves up to the eyeballs to do it – if they can.

Instead of tinkering with Special Housing Areas, which deliver the same houses at the same price, the Government should amend the Property Law Act and the Resource Management Act to give councils the power to ensure that 20 per cent of sections in new subdivisions don't have covenants and allow people to build modest homes again.

Unpopular for sure, but would you rather live next door to modest homeowners or live within a nation of renters? Next week I'll discuss the price of building materials and the oncoming storm 30 years from now if we don't act soon.

2 Comments

Politial courage would save 10% ...

Posted on 14-12-2016 10:37 | By Murray.Guy

Steve says, ... But it doesn't have to be this way; affordable housing isn't as hard as we've been made to think if there's the political will." ... Steve, you are likely unaware of the fact that our city is one of a very few who enhance land owner/ speculator and developer profits by imposing a Building Impact Fee on those who choose to built a new home versus buy existing. This BIF ALONE adds 10% to the cost of building a home, significantly higher than in our neighbouring WBOPDC. It would take integrity and political courage to remove the BIF and over transfer the cost to where it should lie, with those selling and developing the land. There is also unacceptable delays in processing permits and associated costs.

Affordable if Modest

Posted on 14-12-2016 09:02 | By A Different Take

Affordable houses, eg. 2 bedroom, standalone garage/carport, no en suite, modest cladding etc. are rarely built anymore, so "Here, here," Steve. You've hit the nail on the head.Also with an abundance of solo parents, two houses are needed, one other for the absent parent! No wonder we have a shortage, we've created a society dependent on others to get by.

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