Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Council fees add to house prices report

Peter Macleod has complained about high fees at his South Auckland housing project. Photo / Dean Purcell
Peter Macleod has complained about high fees at his South Auckland housing project. Photo / Dean Purcell

High council fees have contributed significantly to Auckland's rising house prices, a new report says.

Priced Out - How New Zealand Lost Its Housing Affordability from public policy think-tank NZ Initiative cited the case of one developer who found the costs of connecting water and sewerage reached $20,000 for each house in his development.

"Council costs for roads, footpaths, drains and so on average about $85,000 per section, meaning that the rock bottom price of the cheapest land before building in Auckland these days is around $300,000," the report said, lamenting that the postwar patriotism that gave urgency to the housing boom in the 1950s and 1960s had long since evaporated.

Last year, developer Peter Macleod complained to the Herald about high fees on his South Auckland housing project and said most builders had given up or gone overseas.

Macleod backed last year's Productivity Commission report into housing affordability which found significant infrastructure costs were a big part of the housing crisis.

The NZ Initiative report found fear of urban sprawl was nothing new and said negative perceptions of greenfields development had been around for many years.

"As early as the 1950s, there was parliamentary concern with ribbon developments, forming like a ribbon along main roads out of cities. In fact, back then the concern was not so much with taking up farmland or environmental impacts, but that government was not in control," the report said.

- NZ Herald

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