Good news, everyone – in the year to September 2017, for the first time ever, Auckland consented more “attached” homes than it did standalone houses.
Why is that good news? Auckland has a housing shortage, so any home is a good home, right? Well, yes, but attached homes – apartments, terraces and the like – are where we need to be heading. It’s how Auckland will ‘intensify’ and keep most of its growth in the existing urban area rather than sprawling out. It means more homes in the places people actually want to live: close to jobs, study, shopping and good public transport. It means homes better suited to our changing demographic (an ageing population, with fewer people per household).
Apartments and terraces should cost less than standalone houses do, and their residents will probably save money on transport too. As a bonus, they’ll have lower power bills too – simple physics means these homes don’t lose as much heat through the walls or roof, since they’re attached to other homes.
So that’s all good stuff, and this is an early sign of the direction that Auckland needs to head in in the future.
I’ve updated the RCG Development Tracker for the month. Things keep ticking along, and new projects get added too. This month, you can imagine my reaction – it was somewhere in between “Sacré Bleu!” and “Zut Alors!” – when two new apartment complexes launched in Orewa, called La Residence de la Mer and La Residence de la Plage. These are the first new apartments for Orewa since Ocean Point Beach Residences, which were completed at the start of 2015.
I remember from high school French that “mer” is sea, and “plage” is beach. As for “Residence”? I haven’t got the faintest idea what that means.
So let’s look at those building consents.
In the 12 months to September 2017, Auckland consented 10,317 homes. 5,147 of those (49.9%!) were standalone houses. 2,309 were apartments, 811 were retirement village units and 2,050 were terraces. This was the first-ever twelve month period where more attached homes were approved than detached houses.
I called this in March last year, and it’s nice to be proven right. Or rightish – the numbers bounce around a bit from month to month, so we could easily slip back below 50%, but it’s the trend that’s the important thing. And what that trend means for Auckland going forward.
Here’s what we actually said:
Based on building consent data and our own forecasts, over 50% of the new homes built in Auckland will be attached by 2017. This is a considerable shift from the average of the last 20 years, which has been closer to 35%. Demand for medium density living is booming here. In Australia’s 3 largest cities at least 60% of new homes are attached.
This is because the only practical and affordable way to provide for Auckland’s growing housing demand is through higher density. So traditional detached housing will play an increasingly smaller role.
Still true, I think, and hopefully in ten years’ time it will be truer still.