Reading the comment swarm in OpenMike last night, it was clear that someone wasn’t doing their job in briefing.
Sure a section of land sufficient to build a traditional 3 bedroom house in Auckland is bloody expensive and would cost as much as Labour’s budgeted amounts in KiwiBuild. That is obvious. So don’t build those types of property. Build something that requires less land.
FFS it isn’t that hard. A brief lookup on my single bedroom studio Grey Lynn/Newton apartment at the Auckland City Council website revealed
Land value: $85,000
Capital value: $205,000
So the important thing to notice is that the land value of my apartment was $85,000 out of $205,000. The reason why it is so low is because this is medium density housing. This apartment block is single bedroom single floor apartments (in which two people live easily) three levels high on top of two levels of car park. There are 60 apartments in total in the block. I’ve lived here off and on for almost 15 years now – it is great. It does have curtains for this blogger to ‘hide’ behind. It also has a rather pleasant polished concrete floor.
Behind my apartment block there is a block of 37 semi-detached 3 bedroom 3 story town houses with a garage sitting on a slightly larger block of land to that used by our 60 apartments. Taking one at random
Land value: $170,000
Capital value: $365,000
The land area is larger mainly because of the driveways. Having individual garages take almost as much land area footprint as the townhouses themselves. If the design had placed the town houses on top of , or next to a communal carpark, then the land footprint would have reduced correspondingly.
Now this is medium density housing just outside the Auckland central business district. Just up the road there is Ponsonby Road and K Road. The land values around here are horrendous compared to somewhere like Mt Albert. But look at those land values again. When the design efficiently makes use of land area, then the land cost isn’t that significant.
You don’t need bloody expensive large sections. If you want one then pay for it yourself. In terms of the government relieving housing pressure in Auckland and elsewhere with a building program then everything is in the design. This is no different to what was required back in the 1930’s when the construction of state houses was different from the usual houses at the time because it made the best use of scarce resources.
Labour’s kiwibuild should be building apartments and town houses, preferably with communal car parking, somewhere along a transport corridor. Even if bare land isn’t available, then it isn’t that expensive to buy old light industrial sites in the inner suburbs (like my apartment used to be) and put up medium density housing.
There is absolutely no reason to go to the outskirts of Auckland to build. There the cost of long commutes can easily match the lower cost housing mortgage payments.
And can I hesitantly (for fear of being labelled ‘anonymous’ yet again) suggest that perhaps the Labour caucus should actually read the blogs. The best source for basic information on solutions and issues on Auckland’s housing and transport tradeoffs is at Auckland Transport Blog.
Could Labour please, please stop muffing up their own policies so I can get on with having a go at National.