By Stephen Forbes, Local Democracy Reporter
A new report to Auckland Council shows increasing numbers of professionals, working families and older people are being shut out of the housing market.
The paper was presented to the council's Planning Committee on Thursday and looked at the options the council had to enable more affordable housing across Auckland.
The shortage of both affordable and public housing has been an ongoing issue in South Auckland. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the number of people in South Auckland on the housing waiting list increased by 36 per cent from 2203 in June last year to 2987 in June 2020.
The report describes the intermediate housing market as made up of households that are currently in the private rental market and have at least one member in paid employment, but are ineligible for social housing and cannot afford to buy a house.
"A recent study by Livingston and Associates Ltd, commissioned as part of the Affordable Housing Programme, indicated a total of 89,190 households in the intermediate housing market in 2018, up from 66,200 in 2013, representing an increase of 22,990 households or 35 per cent.
"The intermediate housing market now includes more professionals, working families and older people. Managers and professionals make up 71 per cent (14,500) of the recent growth in the intermediate housing market."
The council report says Māori are also disproportionately affected by the lack of affordable housing.
"High rent and discrimination in the rental market can mean more Māori are marginalised in high-poverty neighbourhoods in poor-quality, cold, damp and/or mouldy housing."
It found Māori were missing out on the positive benefits of home ownership, including the ability to accumulate wealth and transfer this to future generations.
"Advocating to the central Government to put in place a more supportive framework for inclusionary zoning is an important means of addressing this issue."
The Auckland Council's Planning Committee agreed in 2019 that it should do more to look at ways it could help boost the supply of affordable housing. This included the use of inclusionary zoning.
Under such zoning a share of the homes in new developments would have to be affordable for people on low to medium incomes.
It was considered as part of the council's Unitary Plan process in 2016, but the Independent Hearings Panel questioned how effective it would be in addressing housing affordability. It would also require the Government to pass new legislation for it to be applied in a mandatory sense.
Councillors voted at Thursday's meeting for a working party to report back in February on inclusionary zoning. It then plans to talk with the Government about the necessary legislative changes needed for it to be introduced.
But Manurewa-Papakura Ward councillor Daniel Newman voted against the proposal and said it wasn't the role of the council to address the problem of housing affordability.
"I understand the sentiment. We're going to talk about inclusionary zoning because it's a nice thing to do," Newman said. "But the council needs to leave this stuff alone, because the Government doesn't require it of us."
He said the council should instead focus on its core roles of providing water, stormwater and community facilities.
But Planning Committee chairman Chris Darby said something had to give.
"A lot of our young people don't see a future in Auckland. That is going to empty out the talent from this city."
He said while the number of new houses was at record levels, the cost of housing hadn't been adequately addressed.
"Housing affordability is now at dangerous levels."
Mayor Phil Goff said he supported inclusionary zoning and said it was time to act.
"We need to engage with the Government on this."
Meanwhile, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith wasn't surprised by the council report's findings.
He said for a family with an annual income of between $80-100,000 at least half of that was going on housing, food and rent.
"So there's nothing left to save for a deposit for a house," Smith said, "whereas with older people a 25-year mortgage isn't an option, they won't even be on the planet in 25 years."
And he said increasing rents and living costs are only adding to the problem.