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Land banking – National gives up on housing crisis

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, August 29th, 2016 - 29 comments
Categories: housing, national, useless - Tags: , , , , ,

The numbers are yet to be released, but the cost of the average Auckland house is now probably over $1 Million. The real costs for borrowers are staggering:

The $1 million average Auckland house means interest bonanza for banks

The average sale price of Auckland homes is now believed to be more than $1 million – but the interest paid on a 30-year mortgage means the real cost is closer to $1.9m. …

The Nat’s special housing areas (SHA) are an affordable housing failure:

Developers walk away from fast-track process as Auckland house prices top $1m

Property developers are quitting planned Auckland building projects which would have locked them into building affordable homes as Auckland’s average house price prepares to hit the $1 million mark.

Housing Minister Nick Smith told the Herald on Sunday that landowners in five Special Housing Areas (SHAs) had decided not to proceed under the previous fast-track process, which would have required 10 per cent of housing to be affordable.

The developers have instead opted to use provisions under the newly approved Unitary Plan which does not have the same affordable housing rule. …

What does affordable even mean now days?

“Affordable” housing, is defined in the special housing area legislation as below 75 per cent of the city’s median house price.

This is ridiculous. $750,000 isn’t affordable. It’s much (inflation adjusted about half as much again) more than the 2007 peak, when Key was banging on about the urgent home affordability crisis. The definition of affordable should be tied to the median wage, not to insane housing-bubble prices.

Not only are the SHAs a failure, but Real Estate agents are now actively advertising and encouraging “land banking”:

‘Insidious’ land banking boom – Labour

A Trade Me search shows more than 300 properties around the country being promoted as great for land banking – more than a third of them in Auckland.

The practice of buying up land with the intention to sell or develop it in the future when it has increased in value is legal, but Labour Party leader Andrew Little said it was insidious.

“It’s happening even in the Special Housing Areas that the government said were subject to agreements to set aside land for development [for] getting houses on urgently. “So we’ve got a silly situation where more and more land, it seems, is just being held for land banking.

“People are just riding the speculative wave and the government is doing nothing about getting that speculation out of the market and free it up to get people into homes.” …

National’s response? They have given up:

The Housing Minister Nick Smith says those who promise to end land banking have a better chance of getting to the moon.

Terrific. We need leadership and we have National. Completely useless. Good luck NZ.

29 comments on “Land banking – National gives up on housing crisis ”

  1. Ad 1

    This is sinking this government and will clear them out good and proper.

    Make no mistake the scale of the challenge for the next government though. It’s not a one-term fix. And will have massive pain an shouting from all those who had speculated upon perpetual house rises.

    May not go the full Steve Keen, but next term is going to be all about the work.

  2. DH 2

    I’d like to know why they keep using the median wage and house prices as a guide to housing affordability. They’re not directly related. The two factors which determine affordability are the deposit and the mortgage repayments.

    In 2008 a $300k mortgage had repayments of $557 per week (30yr at 9%)

    Today a $475k mortgage has repayments of $557 per week. (30yr at 4.5%)

    The point is that housing isn’t all about price. It’s more about cost. The above two examples had very different house prices but they cost exactly the same (except for the deposit)

    • Sabine 2.1

      and then your interest changes and you are fucked. At a 9% interest rate you could have hoped for a declining rate at some stage, at the current low rates you can only hope and pray that they don’t go up any time in the future.

      but then, its all the same innit?

    • Actually repayment rates still need to be compared to the median wage and living costs still, because people need to be able to afford the mortgage and have enough spare to live on and to save for emergency expenditures.

      The average house in Auckland is pretty difficult to afford even for a double-income median full-time wage couple. (ie. they’re higher than the actual median, because we’re excluding part-time workers) If prices drop by 40%, then things start to get affordable for them, but they’re still out of reach of most people on a single median income.

      There’s also the issue that you can really only project costs like that for fixed-rate mortgages. Nobody knows what’s happening with flexible or semi-flexible ones.

  3. Keith 3

    In Newmarket and elsewhere this weekend the number of shops for lease was quite staggering, just like in a recession. Victoria Park is a ghost town largely devoid of businesses. Now I don’t exactly know why but an educated guess says it has a lot to do with lease costs and conditions but also the fact that private debt is so high, and growing, that there is less and less discretionary money to spend.

    This property market bubble is a nightmare in so many ways not publicised by the corporate media.

    • Sabine 3.1

      land banking does happen in the commercial property market. Heck Westfield Malls was once on of the largest holder of commercial property in Auckland, they pretty much owned all of Broadway in New Market.

      Its simply that no one can afford to pay the leases anymore, that plus rates, insurance (landowners and that of the business itself), GST etc etc and it makes no more sense to actually rent any of these spaces.
      Consider as well that Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, K-Road, Newmarket all are scheduled to go up up up and you know that it makes no sense to rent these shops. Keep them empty, wait for the unitary plan to kick in and build Office Towers and Chicken Cages for workers. Believe me much happiness will be found in the building of the slums of NZ.

      As for the future slums of NZ , sadly i have absolutely no confidence in NZ Architects, Developpers and builders to build anything else but slums and they don’t seem to want to build anything but slums. Profit is the motive and cheap cheap cheap is the way to go.

      Landbanking, its pays better then going to the Moon.

  4. esoteric pineapples 4

    Now that Auckland house prices have gone well past what most normal people can afford anyway, maybe it is time to hope/watch prices catapult into the stratosphere. The faster and higher they go the more they will undermine this government. Most New Zealanders will watch as the market keeps on rising with only speculators in New Zealand and overseas buying and get angrier by the month. Hopefully angry enough to vote this government out at the next election.

  5. EE 5

    I think one of the stories here is what little difference sped-up, short=tracked planning permission makes to solving the lack of housing. Obviously the RMA has very little effect on whether developers build or not.

  6. Scott 6

    Labour and the Greens have done well at painting this as a central government problem, but that is only half of their task. To turn that into votes, they also need to present a credible alternative – how will they fix it.

    I heard Twyford on the radio this morning saying that the government should lease a load of homes and then on-lease those on an affordable basis to people who need them.

    That has two problems. It ignores that the Government is already doing that, in effect, by way of subsiding rents. But more importantly it begs the question of where you expect the people currently living in the home to move to.

    If Twyford gave as much thought to his solutions as he does to his hyperbole, then this issue might actually matter to the next election. It is hard to believe that a full, including you family home, capital gains tax is not a part of the answer, but Labour have for some reason painted them self into a corner on that topic.

    • Nick 6.1

      @Scott….are you accurate in your assessment of Phil Twyfords statement…..I feel like he has a pretty good range of information to make such statements….do you ? ……I think theres some discount tickets to the Moon still available for Natz fans

      • Scott 6.1.1

        Can you explain how will the government renting a home and subleasing it out will help? Mr Tywford did not do so, and I don’t think he can – it is just made up on the hoof stuff with no substance.

        At most it will simply replace one family who were able to pay the rent, with another family who might not have been able to afford the market rent. That may be seen by some as a good outcome, but it is certainly no solution to a shortage of rental accommodation.

        • Sabine

          if the government rents long term that will help a great deal. As it is everyone can get kicked out on a two weeks notice irrespective of how much Accomodation Supplement the Landlord receives from winz.

          So Phil Twyfords solution would add some sort of stability to the market to a market that currently offers no security other then two to three month notice period.

          You also seem assume that for the State to lease a house some family will first have to be kicked out. This is correct insofar as it is what the current National Party led Government of NZ is doing.
          The State is kicking out tenants from State Houses to board these up, keep them empty, let them fall into disrepair to then sell the same houses off to developpers. I would assume you also have an issue with this? How is that Tamaki Housing development going? How many of the displaced Tenants that used to live there are now not living there anymore and could any of these afford the new million dollar mansions build there?

          While Mr. Twyford and the Labour Party have been talking about building houses, repairing State Houses and removing the boards from boarded up housing to re-introduce these empty houses to the Housing Market again.

          See, by doing nothing much Mr. Twyford would at least address the issue but then as Nick Smith says, if you want the moon you have got to be land banking and there is nothing He, Nick Smith could do about it. 🙂 Mind, Mrs. Bennett is equally useless in addressing this problem, and lets not speak of Mr. Bill English who collected dividends for the last few years from Housing NZ, in short has his mismanaged Budget bloated up by the poorest of NZ…..namely the tenants of Housing NZ , while not re-investing a single dollar to a. upkeep state housing and b. building more state Houses.

          so yeah, lets again count the many ways Phil Twyfords solutions would do nothing, like really really nothing, much like Nick Smith does nothing.

    • Well, if there are actually unoccupied homes in the region, I guess Twyford’s comments make sense. But I have a feeling you’re right that he’s not really considering that.

      I think ultimately the answer is that developers aren’t interested in building affordable housing at the moment, so the government needs to step in and be the developer of last resort, and do a massive state house building program in high-price areas, and then add some lease-to-own program in order to put downwards pressure on accommodation costs. And that needs to be done as part of a wave of measures to depress real estate speculation.

  7. Nick 7

    ShonKey will navigate that moon rocket….except he cant remember where he is going, because no-one informed him, although hes comfortable with that….English has budgeted the amount of fuel in the rocket, sort of……Parata has the support of the ‘Special Education Association’ so good with future learning …… Brownlee took the wrong security door and missed the flight…..Dr Zachary Smith is Lost in Space …..and the rest of the Natz are in the hold, converted into a new Sky City Casino….

  8. alwyn 8

    I wonder when Phil Goff will subdivide and sell off his “land bank”? He might need to get the zoning changed but a Mayor ought to be able to arrange that.
    Should make him a very wealthy man. Room for 300 – 400 houses I would think.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    “Affordable” housing, is defined in the special housing area legislation as below 75 per cent of the city’s median house price.

    This is ridiculous. $750,000 isn’t affordable.

    The median house price in Auckland, at 31st July 2016, was $825,000.

    75% of that is $618,750, not $750,000, which is 75% of the average.

    Still not affordable, but 17% less than the figure you calculated.


    • Hahaha relative measures are a problem for poverty, but perfectly fine for determining housing affordability… hmmm…

      That deserves an answer in Question Time, IMO.

  10. Righty right 10

    These young families need to be protected from entering this bubble you can’t call it anything else it’s a dangerous bubble and the nats are to blame Auckland has become a casino where ponzi finance is being played out .the nats have miss managed the economy created a monster there terrified there caught headlights .the cost to society is horrific
    I will say it again when this pops the damage caused to the economy will be unprecedented it gen x and y that will take the hit .
    John boy will desert the sinking ship all you can do on a personal level is shed debt asap if possible

  11. Kevin 11

    Nick Smith and his ‘reverse midas’ touch applied to yet another portfolio.

    Although this time I think that is the reason why he was given housing.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    The practice of buying up land with the intention to sell or develop it in the future when it has increased in value is legal, but Labour Party leader Andrew Little said it was insidious.

    This is the type of thing that land taxes can prevent.

    “People are just riding the speculative wave and the government is doing nothing about getting that speculation out of the market and free it up to get people into homes.”

    It’s National – they encourage rich people to get richer by bludging off of everyone else.

  13. TC 13

    National has no intention of sorting this out as their policies and actions show.

    Tax havens, no cgt, migration for cash, kill healthy homes act, screw akl over, dont address leaky homes/schools caused by their last turn at the wheel, flog state houses etc etc

    • Jones 13.1

      The Nats know a crash is coming and they’re simply enabling their cronies to maximise their revenue in the time there is left, hoping like hell the crash doesn’t happen while they’re in Government.

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