An increase in Auckland housing stock for sale at the city's biggest real estate agency is being claimed as evidence of success in tackling Auckland's housing crisis.
Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown yesterday released the latest Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report, which measures how many consents have been granted under the fast-track system.
Brown cited Barfoot & Thompson's latest February data out yesterday as evidence of a change.
Barfoot listed 1771 new properties for sale last month which managing director Peter Thompson said was the highest number in the past 16 months, up on January's 1199.
Choice of property in the sub-$500,000 category remained strong with sales in that price bracket a quarter of all sales in the month, he said.
Smith and Brown said the latest accord monitoring report showed 13,000 new sections or dwellings would get consent in the accord's second year, following the first year's 9000 sections or dwellings consented.
The accord, struck on October 1, 2013, aims to have 39,000 new sections and dwellings consented in three years.
But Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford scoffed at claims of any Auckland success, saying the accord had failed because house prices had risen $110,000 since it came into effect 15 months ago.
Everyone knows you cannot live in a consent or a section. People need houses. The number of completed dwellings in the Special Housing Areas is conspicuous by its absence from today's report.
"As today's report shows, the cost of a standard size section for a single dwelling in established urban areas has soared from an average of $300,000 in 2013 to $475,000 last year despite the accord. In fact, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the Special Housing Areas themselves are pushing prices up, with developers holding on to land and not building because their designated status increases the capital gain," Twyford said.
While Smith was trumpeting the number of sections consented, Twyford said that was not help.
"Everyone knows you cannot live in a consent or a section. People need houses. The number of completed dwellings in the Special Housing Areas is conspicuous by its absence from today's report.
"At current consenting rates Auckland won't achieve the 10,000 new builds a year it needs just to keep up with population growth. And even if the Government were to hit its optimistic targets over the next five years, its own figures show it won't put a dent in the 15-20,000 shortfall of houses that has accumulated on National's watch," Twyford said.
Asked exactly how many houses had been built, Smith said there were not reliable statistics on this but official data showed an average nine-month period between when a consent was granted and when a house was occupied.
Brian Donnelly, executive director of the NZ Housing Foundation which is the country's most advanced Special Housing Area, said 20 of 282 new houses were completed and being lived in at the Waimahia Inlet in Weymouth.
But work had started on a further 50 houses, he said.
NEW AUCKLAND RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS
[Source: Barfoot & Thompson]