Property editor of the NZ Herald

Unitary Plan: Will rezoning add billions to Auckland properties?

Could billions of dollars just been added to the value of land zoned for intensification throughout many parts of Auckland?

Experts can't say precisely yet how much the yet-to-be-approved Unity Plan could add to the land values, particularly near or within 10 metropolitan centres.

But they agree that numbers could be big.

But now for the next question: what will that do to rates in those areas?

The 10 centres zoned for the most new building are Albany, Botany, Henderson, Manukau, New Lynn, Newmarket, Papakura, Sylvia Park, Takapuna and Westgate/Massey North but other areas across the city have just had their zoning changed to mixed urban and suburban and terrace housing and apartment buildings.

So if you own land in - or nearby - those areas which have been marked for upscaling and you're considering the future development potential, the plan could be a Lotto-style bonus for you.

Conversely, the value of land beneath the single-house low-density one-dwelling-per site heritage zones in places like Ponsonby, Devonport, Cheltenham, Herne Bay, St Mary's Bay and Parnell is now being viewed somewhat frozen in time and not having that huge value uplift.

The ability to develop those areas is not enhanced by the new plan.

I don't know how you'd quantify it but I believe that in certain areas, there will be loads of added value.
Chris Kennedy, chief executive of real estate agency Harcourts

Chris Kennedy, chief executive of New Zealand's biggest real estate agency Harcourts, and Property Council policy and advocacy director Alex Voutratzis, said the valuation ramifications from the plan recommendations out yesterday from the Independent Hearings Panel could be major.

"I don't know how you'd quantify it but I believe that in certain areas, there will be loads of added value," Kennedy said, comparing Auckland changes to those in Christchurch post-earthquakes and naming some of the 10 metropolitan Auckland areas.

"There will be intensely high demand for that land, so it can command greater prices. There's an upside for people living in those areas. When you look at Christchurch and its high-density multi-unit land, it commanded huge money around the city fringe," Kennedy said.

Voutratzis agreed: "We're already seeing suburban land increase in value because of its connectivity to the CBD. You'll see greater increases in valuations around the CBD and those town centres. I don't really think I can put a figure on it."

Kennedy said the situation was quite different for single-house Auckland land, barred from increased density. However, those properties would remain popular due to other factors, he said: "There's buyers saying 'I want historic and heritage and a villa and I don't mind that I'm buying that with a single house option'."

Voutratzis agreed that those heritage single-house areas would always retain their values, despite lack of development potential.

"The development potential isn't there, but I don't imagine that values in Ponsonby or Parnell are going down," he said.

As for rates, one person close to the plan predicted a big eventual increase but said it would take time due to the pace of development. Value uplifts would consequently not flow through to the annual rates bill immediately.

- NZ Herald

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