Work has begun on the first of 2000 new homes being built at Long Bay on Auckland's North Shore.
When completed, the 162ha housing development, which links to Long Bay Regional Park, will be home to more than 5000 people, with the first residents expected to move in by December.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown used a digger to break ground for the first of the homes today.
"Auckland Council is focused on delivering the houses that Auckland needs. Long Bay is one of our region's largest developments and is set to become a thriving community," he said.
"We're working closely with communities, the Government and the private sector on where new developments should occur and how they can be built. Auckland faces a shortage of houses and we need to find ways of building them in a much faster timeframe."
The properties will not answer Auckland's call for cheaper housing, with developer Todd Property Group estimating they will go for between $750,000 and upwards of $1 million.
The company's external relations manager, Conor Roberts, said one property had just sold for $1.25 million.
Chief executive Evan Davies previously told the Herald he made no bones about developing upmarket housing on the 160ha estate, of which just 67ha is for houses.
The rest is set aside for a green buffer between the regional park, roads, stormwater treatment areas, wetlands and landscaped zones.
"When you've paid what we've paid for infrastructure that nobody else provided and when you have taken 13 years to get here, the possibility of providing that kind of [affordable] outcome is precluded," Mr Davies said.
The company hoped the Long Bay development would be deemed a "special housing area", set out in the Government's recently announced Housing Accord, which would fast-track the consent process.
The accord was been signed off last week by Housing Minister Nick Smith and Mr Brown to "urgently increase the supply and affordability of housing in Auckland".
As part of the accord, the Government yesterday announced it would spend $377 million to add more bedrooms to existing state houses and to build extra houses.
Dr Smith said that initiative was expected to deliver up to 3000 new state house bedrooms to 2000 properties over the next two years, with three quarters of them in Auckland.
Another project is to build an additional 500 infill two-bedroom state houses over the next two years on large Housing New Zealand properties in Auckland.
LONG BAY DEVELOPMENT
* 162ha land area
* 67ha area for housing
* 500sq m average section size for two-thirds of housing
* 250sq m average section size for other areas
* Properties to cost $750,000 - $1 million-plus