I wrote in December that “2016 has been a big year for development” – now that we’re a little bit past the end of the year, it’s actually possible to see how big it was. Still, as the cheese ads say, good things take time. It will take many more years to fix Auckland’s housing challenges.
I keep a close eye on the number of new homes given ‘building consent’ each year. It’s a good sign of what’s coming up ahead. The figures have been rising, but certainly not as quickly as they were a couple of years back. In total, Auckland consented 9,930 new homes in 2016, up from 9,251 in 2015 and 7,632 in 2014.
Consents are fine, but it’s a lot harder to get information on how many homes are completed. There isn’t an ‘official’ measure. Auckland Council is now collecting this info, based on homes which have received a final building inspection or obtained a Code Compliance Certificate, and they say 7,920 homes were completed in the 12 months to September 2016.
Auckland grew by 40,000-45,000 people in 2016, according to Stats NZ, so that’s 13,000-15,000 homes we need each year just to keep pace with the growth. To say nothing of the undersupply that’s built up since 2008…
The RCG Development Tracker has had a tidy-up this month – I’ve removed a lot of ‘inactive’ special housing areas, ones where nothing much was happening and no homes were being built. The SHA programme is now almost over, and isn’t really needed with the Unitary Plan now in effect. The Unitary Plan allows a lot more homes to be built right across Auckland, so there will be a lot more yellow dots to come.
It’s not just tidy-ups, of course – more projects get added every month. This month, for example, we’ve had the airport confirm plans for a new Pullman hotel, and there’s also the ‘Newmarket Apartments’ which are just starting to be marketed.
Based on the Tracker, there were 1,982 terraces and apartments completed in 2016. That’s a decent chunk of the total 5,129 completed since 2012. These new homes are all over the city, in developments large and small. Here are some of the big ones:
|Unilodge on Whitaker||300|
|Carlaw Park Student Village (stage 2)||82|
|Hobson Fiore II||74|
|Ormiston Town Centre (stage 1 terraces)||63|
|Pinnacle Apartments (Auckland)||63|
|Berechiah Gardens (stage 1)||53|
|The Pines (Browns Bay)||52|
Out of those, Unilodge on Whitaker and Carlaw Park are both student complexes. Carlaw Park has sizeable apartments, designed for 2-4 students. Unilodge is your classic ‘hall of residence’ – each of those 300 units is a small studio, designed for a single occupant. The other nine developments (and most of the others finished in 2016) are complete homes, and arguably do more to make a dent in the housing undersupply.
On the whole, the construction sector is still going flat tack – especially in Auckland. As per the Construction Crunch post, which I’ll update soon, the sector is still growing, and at record levels – but it’s going to get harder (and more expensive) to keep growing it.
Things in Canterbury are starting to wind down. The earthquake rebuild is still going, and will continue for years to come, but the rate of construction is tapering off. A lot of the major projects in the CBD are either complete, or almost complete – so 2017 could be a really good time to visit the city.
As for housing consents in Greater Christchurch, they’ve definitely been falling – although they’re still above pre-quake levels. Some of these builders are likely to make the move north to Auckland, and they’ll be very welcome, as long as they don’t go on and on about the rugby.
Over in Australia, it looks like the housing boom there could be unwinding. Bob Dey writes that “The Housing Industry Association of Australia is forecasting a slump in housebuilding over the next 3 years”. We could really use some of those Aussie builders over here, and they’ll be very welcome, as long as they don’t go on and on about the cricket.