Would-be homeowners in Auckland can be optimistic after new figures show the number of consents for new houses, sections and apartments in Auckland are on track to exceed targets and prices are slowing, Housing Minister Nick Smith says.
Almost 3600 new sections and consents were created in the four months since a three-year housing accord was signed by Auckland Council and the Government in October.
It meant the plan was set to exceed its target of 9000 consents for the first year by almost 1800, it was announced today at the first quarterly monitoring report meeting.
More consents were issued in the 12 months to the end of January 2014 than in any 12-month period since September 2007, and this had already seen Auckland house price rises begin to slow, Dr Smith said.
"A really important part of this monitoring report is openly reporting to the market place the extent to which the Government and council's programme is increasing the supply,'' he said.
"There's a uniform agreement that that supply question is the single biggest factor on the long-term price factor in Auckland houses.''
Aucklanders hoping to get on the property ladder should "take some optimism'' from today's figures, he said.
"Anybody who's expecting instant answers in a market as big as housing will be disappointed, but ... this is a very promising first step.''
Mayor Len Brown said the housing accord was providing greater diversity in the type and affordability of housing.
"We are not only seeing potential housing build of middle and upper level, but also seeing significant build at the lower level,'' he said, mentioning developments in Waimahia, Tamaki, Grey Lynn and New Lynn.
"You are seeing potential housing prices, from apartments up to detached, from anything between $250,000 up to $500,000, and that's great to see. That's good choice and reasonably affordable housing for all options.''
The accord had "really stimulated'' the property market in Auckland,'' Mr Brown said.
"We are seeing significant resource consents issuing for potential houses outside of the work we're doing in SHA (Special Housing Areas), so there is a significant amount of energy coming through in terms of the possibility of building,'' he said.
The council would also be making sure there were enough tradies to keep construction going.
Construction firm Fletchers had indicated it would increase its house building by 700 properties a year and bring in tradesmen from Australia to feed demand, Dr Smith said.
* The Auckland Housing Accord aims to pass 39,000 housing consents by the end of September 2016.
* 3599 new sections were created and dwellings passed since October 2013.
* The target for the year to September 2014 is 9000, and is likely to reach almost 10,800.
* The target for year two is 13,000, and for year three 17,000.
* 22 Special Housing Areas have been created since October 2013.
* Capacity for land has increased _ there is currently enough zoned, water-and-transport enabled greenfield land for approximately 24,900 dwellings, up from 15,000 one year ago.
Source: Auckland Council/Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment