It’s been a busy month for development: Auckland Council announced they’d be selling off some of their surplus land, and so did the government (which Matt wrote about here).

This makes good headlines for the council and government, making it look like they’re taking steps to tackle the supposed housing crisis. However, I’m not sure how much of the land is actually “new” to the scene – e.g. the council’s announcement includes the land being developed for the Flat Bush town centre, which has been a work in progress for many years, the government’s announcement includes Hobsonville and the McLennan subdivision in Papakura, and so on. Anyway, I’ll look at this more in the next few weeks, and see what needs to go into the RCG Development Tracker as a result.

Developments around New Zealand

Speaking of the Tracker, I haven’t written much about what’s happening in Wellington yet. Using the fantastical power of computers, let’s whisk you away to the nation’s capital, where you can see a number of projects in the city centre or nearby.

WGT development

Te Aro continues to transition to a more residential environment, and accommodation and mixed use projects are reshaping Wellington’s waterfront areas. A lot of the projects on this map are now coming to an end, and it’s not immediately clear what will replace them. Based on a recent visit, there certainly aren’t as many cranes visible in Wellington as there are in Auckland or Christchurch.

As for Auckland, there are a number of new things in the Tracker this month (including 1 Mills Lane, which could be the tallest office building in the city, as well as Mitre 10’s new head office building, the Oasis and SOMA apartments and more).

I was also down in Christchurch a couple of weeks ago, and it’s due an update as well – but that will have to wait until next month. In the meantime, you might enjoy looking at CERA’s Progress Map or the Avenues Four page.

Auckland Building Consents

Turning to building consents in Auckland, April was a massive month for apartments: 438 units were granted consent, with 392 of those in the Waitemata and Gulf Ward. This probably reflects two or three major projects getting the go ahead from Council (I’m guessing it might have been Park Residences and 88 Broadway, as the numbers more or less match up and both are now underway).

The graph below shows moving annual totals for these and other higher-density consents:

Apartment consents

In fact, when you stack these lines on top of each other and add in the consents for standalone houses, you can see that most of the growth in consents over the last two years or so has come from higher-density dwellings:

Auckland total consents

There’s a tendency in some circles to suggest that Auckland’s housing issues stem from a lack of land on the fringes. However, higher-density dwellings are going to play an important role in Auckland’s growth, and in housing the extra people who want to live here. Let’s hope they’re getting the attention they deserve from the council and government.

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  1. I’ve been thinking of going for a stroll (or bike) and sending through some pics of Wellington intensification in Te Aro. Can do so and either post them in the comments or flick ’em to a mod to update the post. It looks like the next wave of projects will probably come in Victoria Street once the Council finishes it’s boulavard treatment of a 3 block stretch. It’s starting to look pretty good and includes parking protected cycle lane:

  2. How fast Auckland is changing shape; urbanising. Four years ago under a quarter of consents were multi-dwelling, now around half are, as the number has quadrupled from ~1k to ~4k. Detached dwelling by contrast have grown only by 1k.

    Auckland is joining the east coast Australian cities in form; building an intense urban core onto it sprawling outer girdle; The Mullet City.

    1. There certainly is a lot of that, and the Tracker focuses on new builds so I haven’t got in things like the NZ Post House work or the newly done up Grant Thornton House… maybe I should start adding those kinds of things in, after all they are often major projects in their own right and in the tens of millions of dollars.
      Welly has had some really good “new build” projects in the last couple of years, though, even if they are now a bit thinner on the ground. I’m impressed with One Market Lane, although I didn’t have time to have a really good look at it.

        1. Plenty of missing developments on that Wellington tracker: Apartments are going in on Glenmore Street opposite Botanic Gardens entrance on the site of the old Sharella Inn carpark. New apartment blocks on corner of Willis and Palmer, Brougham and Pirie. Something finally seems to be happening on the old biscuit factory site on the corner of Taranaki and Frederick St. Willis Bond development of Whitirea Campus on Cuba St has finally started. BP House on Waring Taylor St is being demolished to make way for a new building as well.

        2. A few more Wellington developments:

          Kumutoto site 10 – another Willis Bond one, planned to start next year iirc.
          Apartment block, Victoria/Ghuznee corner behind St Peters – consented.
          VicUni – new building up at the main campus (2 tower cranes working on it) & multi level extension to Rutherford House (opposite Wellington Rail).

          Up the coast there is (another) large retirement village going in just north of Waikanae.

  3. There have actually been quite a lot of new apartment builds in Te Aro, independent of the strengthening work.

    1. Who knows whats actually happening with the hilton hotel on again off again saga but the original site would be great for apartments I think.

  4. I’m surprised at the number of retirement village units. Is that sector considered part of the “housing crisis” or a remedy for it? What is the typical price range?

    1. More of a remedy, I suppose. Retirement villages are building like crazy across the country (not just Auckland) with the rapid growth to come in NZ’s elderly population.
      They usually try to pitch the prices a bit below the prevailing house prices, so I guess they’re an “affordable” option. But most villages run on a License To Occupy model, so there’s no actual transfer of property ownership and they don’t show up in house sales statistics.

        1. That’s one of the ironies for me, the other one is that they never invested in rail, preferring to drive, and now they’re getting on a bit and driving’s a bit harder, they’re getting rail use for free. Ah well, they built up the roads. We need more vision in this country and less self interest, like our nation-building generations.

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