Let's have a look at what the government is delivering as part of its KiwiBuild programme.
Nine hectares, 4000 houses. And they're affordable, or what passes for affordable, or what someone decides is affordable.
Do remember the last time we talked about this, the number crunchers came up with the cold hard facts that calling something affordable and it actually being so in the real world are two different things.
And so 50,000 of the government's 100,000 houses promised will end up in Auckland. Of those 50,000, only 25,000 people have the dough to pay for them. Hence the government sort-of announced, or maybe it was inferred, that it would need to buy a chunk of the houses. The trouble with that is every cent you put into the purchase is a cent you're not using to build, and they're already under the pump numbers-wise given 100,000 is a massive promise. A promise many don't think they have a hope in hell in delivering on.
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But back to this current deal. It's 29 hectares and 4000 houses at under $600 grand a pop. Do the numbers. That's 72 square metres per house, that's the land content by the way not the size of the house, although I doubt many of the houses will be a lot bigger. 72 square metres of land per house, in a country where the quarter acre one reigned supreme, and these days 300 squares is seen as about as small as you'd want.
So 72 isn't enough to let your dog pee on, but that's modern housing. Or is it? You see, building something and having people buy it might be two different things.
It's like the pre-fab debate of a week or so ago. In theory, great idea. In reality, banks struggle to lend against them. If you're building 4000 houses, that's over 10,000 people in a comparatively very small area. And if the houses aren't exactly architectural masterpieces to start, what will they look like in a decade? What will the area look like in a decade? It's got dump written all over it.
Building cheap and fast looks more like a political idea, than a good, well thought-through housing and design idea. And if that's true, aren't we really just creating new problems for another day?