What you need to know:

• 1200 new homes will replace 300 state houses in Northcote
• The $750 million development is due to be finished by 2021
• About 400 houses will be for social housing, and 600-800 will be sold on the open market
• Housing NZ tenants who are being displaced will be supported to be re-housed
• 59 social housing homes are expected to be available by August 2017
• The development will be led by Hobsonville Land Company, a subsidiary of Housing NZ

Residents on Auckland's North Shore are already raising concerns about more traffic congestion after plans were unveiled today for up to 1200 new homes in Northcote.

The $750 million project to build between 1000 and 1200 homes to replace 300 state houses is the latest attempt to address the housing shortage in the city.

About 400 of the properties will be allocated for social housing, and between 600 and 800 will be sold on the open market.

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But Herald reader Kathy Nicholson asked how the local roads would cope.

"While I understand that it is necessary to build more houses in Auckland, I am concerned about traffic congestion of Onewa Rd," she said.

Another reader noted that the housing announcement came just a day after the latest transport plan deferred another harbour crossing for at least 20 years.

"Where's the transport planning? Auckland's intercity rail network certainly won't help get these people over the bridge every morning," the reader said.

Finance Minister Bill English and Housing Minister Nick Smith said the development would be led by Hobsonville Land Company (HLC), a subsidiary of Housing NZ.

The first homes will be completed by next June and the whole project is due to be finished by 2021.

The first 59 homes will be social housing to replace old state houses that will be demolished.

Later stages will include a mix of stand-alone houses, terraced homes and apartments.

Smith said the project was the first of many planned on Housing NZ sites across Auckland that would be made possible by the city's new unitary plan.

"The old plans only enabled HNZ to increase its housing stock from about 28,000 to 31,000," he said.

"The new plan enables approximately 60,000 homes on the equivalent land area."

HLC Northcote precinct director Mark Fraser said the first stage would involve demolishing 20 old state houses in Cadness St, Tonar St and Potter Ave, replacing them with stand-alone and terraced housing and, in Cadness St, two- and three-storey apartment buildings.

The 59 new homes will include 16 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedrooms, 12 three-bedrooms and seven four-bedrooms.

"The fastest-growing demographic is single-parent families with a woman as head of the household," Fraser said.

Existing tenants generally welcomed the prospect of new houses, but some were concerned about the small number of family-sized homes in the first stage, forcing many existing families to move out of the area.

"I'm looking forward to moving because this house is paru [dirty]. The back is disgusting, it's just not even a house to be honest, they just don't fix it," said Florence Ingledew, 23, who has three children under 5.

But sickness beneficiary Arron Slade, who has lived in Northcote for all of his 45 years so far, said all his friends were in the area and he didn't want to start again somewhere else.

"They relocate you and you haven't got an option of coming back," he said.

Apprentice plumber James Viau, 23, was born in the duplex state house where his family still lives, and wants to stay because most of his relatives also live nearby.

"It's an old house," he said. "If they are planning to rebuild and bring people back to stay here it's good, but if they are sending them somewhere else then all the family will be divided."

Esther Eki, 23, has lived in Cadness St since she was a baby and says the place is close to all her friends, schools and shops. Her mother Soo Eki, 55, said the family would want another three-bedroom house in the area.

Onepoto Awhina community house chairwoman Diana Ngapo, who has lived in Cadness St since 1968, said some families had already been moved out to Mt Wellington and South Auckland. Onepoto Primary School principal Mark Dombroski said his roll had plunged in the past two years from 128 to 79.

"We are concerned for our community," Ngapo said. "We are pleased that there is more housing because we need it, but we want to ensure that there are families here that will maintain our school."

HLC's Fraser said there would still be family homes in the area.

"There is certainly an opportunity for growth of the school," he said.

North Shore councillor Chris Darby said the council was already upgrading a key road in the area, College Rd, but could not keep adding space for more single-occupant vehicles on the main roads to the motorway, Onewa Rd and Lake Rd.

"The future is really one of beefing up the public transport."