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01 Sep 14

Housing shortage fixable at the stroke of a pen

I lobbied the (then) Auckland City council in 2004 that their approving the construction of thousands of 36m2 two bedroom apartments in the CBD was going to make a ghetto of the City.

I appealed for aesthetics to be required in design and that 511 x 36m2 units with an entry through car parking was not ‘town planning’.

In order to establish and maintain a decent culture in a building there should be a mix of suites – preferably studios, ones and two bedrooms.

This would encourage a mix of tenants and owner-occupiers and provide for a degree of pride of ownership, not just absent landlords and their incumbent tenants.

It was not an attack on ‘size’.

Some success was achieved with an urban design panel being created and a requirement for mix.

But out of the blue came a decree on size.

All new builds must measure 35m2 for studios (which is huge), 45m2 for ones, 70m2 for two bedrooms and 90m2 for threes.

Given that we need to sell new units at $7,000m2 to $9,000m2 this means a new studio starts at $280,000 (35 x $8,000), ones $360,000, twos at say $560,000 and threes $720,000.

Plus for a car park.

I have asked the Mayor this week to consider dropping the size requirement because the Auckland housing situation can be mitigated at the stroke of his pen.

Studios are happily tenanted from 20m2 (believe it or not).

Ones are fine from 30m2 and twos 50m2 and threes I guess from 70m2.

This would allow a proliferation of first ‘home’ buyers to get a foot on the property ladder from say $160,000.

And that would be a good thing to do.

By Martin Dunn

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