Government and Auckland Council announce 10 'special housing areas' with over 5000 housing sites

Government and Auckland Council announce 10 'special housing areas' with over 5000 housing sites

By David Hargreaves

The Government and Auckland Council have announced plans to fast-track developments in Auckland that could accommodate over 5000 houses.

The announcement made in Huapai, West Auckland, by Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown named 10 "special housing areas" under the recently agreed Auckland Housing Accord, signed by the Government and the council.

Smith has therefore lived up to a promise he made recently that there would be sites for over 5000 houses made available before Christmas. Today he was promising even more housing areas would be announced before Christmas.

The announcement of the 10 new areas comes on a day that latest QV figures show average house prices in the Auckland region have now surged to $662,976 and that prices are up some 13.6% in the region over the past 12 months.

Auckland has a perceived shortage of about 30,000 houses, which is seen as a significant factor in the rising house prices.

The accord targets the building of 39,000 additional houses in the Auckland region over a three-year period.

The target is seen as a tough one, given that Auckland has only rarely seen as many as 12,000 houses built in a year (in the early 2000s), while in recent years only around 4000 a year have been built - though this year the figure's on track to be around 6000.

However, the council has rolled its sleeves up, with the creation of a special housing project office, and is moving at pace to free up the land.

Including the Weymouth, South Auckland development that was announced as the first special housing area last week, over 5800 sites have been announced as part of the housing accord scheme.

It is not clear from today's announcement how many of the areas announced today were already in train for developments prior to the signing of the accord, though at least some of the projected developments - like Weymouth - have been on the drawing board for some time.

The special housing areas named today are principally in the west and south of Auckland.

The biggest, covering 70.6 hectares and a potential 2000 dwellings is at Huapai, while there's also a 1000 dwelling site near Wesley College, Pukekohe.

This is the full list of the designated special housing areas so far:

1.      Addison (Takanini, South Auckland) – 32 hectares 500 dwellings/sites

2.      Alexander Crescent (Otara) – hectares 148 dwellings/sites

3.      Anselmi Ridge (Pukekohe) – 6.7 hectares 64 dwellings/sites

4.      Flat Bush B8B (East Tamaki) - 37.8 hectares 275 dwellings/sites

5.      Flat Bush School Road (East Tamaki) – 7 hectares 300 dwellings/sites

6.      Hobsonville Point (Catalina Precinct) and Marine Industry Precinct – 28.5 hectares 1000 dwellings/sites

7.      Huapai Triangle – 70.6 hectares 2000 dwellings/sites

8.      McWhirter Block (near Westgate shopping centre)  – 10.1 hectares 166 dwellings/sites

9.      Orakei – Ngati Whatua (near Bastion Point) – 0.8 hectares 75 dwellings/sites

10.  Wesley College (Pukekohe) – 296 hectares 1000 dwellings/sites

11.  Weymouth – 15.9 hectares 280 dwellings/sites.

Smith said the special housing areas had been recommended by Auckland Council and provisionally approved by Cabinet. They take legal effect once formally approved by the Governor-General by Order in Council, expected before the end of October.

Applications for subdivisions will then be able to be considered by Council under the fast-tracked mechanisms in the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas legislation, which requires approvals within six months for greenfield developments, compared with the current average of three years, and three months for brownfield developments, compared with the current average of one year.

Affordable range

"There will be requirements across the Special Housing Areas for a proportion of the completed homes to be in the more affordable range," Smith said.

"This will vary from 100% in some areas like Weymouth to a smaller proportion in others. The details of these requirements will be resolved with the processing of qualifying developments, as provided for under the Auckland Housing Accord.

"Alongside freeing up land supply, we need to constrain the impact of development contributions on section prices, get better value for building materials, make efficiency improvements in building consents, and improve productivity in the construction industry. The Government is also helping Auckland home buyers by expanding the Welcome Home Loans and KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy schemes.

'Real momentum'

"This is the start of getting real momentum into Auckland’s residential construction following the enactment of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas legislation on September 16 and the adoption of the Auckland Accord on 3 October. I commend Auckland Council for the work they’ve put into bringing these first 11 Special Housing Areas forward. My expectation is to have many more approved by Christmas."

Mayor Brown said the announcement was the "first step" in a partnership with the Government that would deliver more affordable homes across Auckland in the next three years.

"We will be setting affordability criteria of up to 10 per cent minimum for each of the SHAs announced today, but I’m actively encouraging developers to deliver even more than that where possible."

'Won't solve all the problems'

Brown said the accord could not and would not solve Auckland's housing supply problem, as this needed to come from a range of factors, including monetary policy and market conditions.

"But it provides an opportunity to bring forward projects that may have otherwise sat on the backburner - and in particular to secure more affordable homes for Auckland families.

"Today is just the start and I’m very encouraged by early discussions with developers. I want to congratulate Housing Minister Nick Smith for the way he has worked with us to tackle the one of Auckland’s biggest challenges."

 For more information and maps of the SHAs announced today, go to

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Great to FINALLY see this sort of action, of course 2-3 years late, but better late than never.
Bouquet to the Govt.

more housing where housing is already cheap and demand from first home buyers low.  Not very logical..

All low socio, cheap and nasty areas except for Orakei – Ngati Whatua (near Bastion Point) where you get million dollar sea views~

".......low socio, cheap and nasty......."
Yeah, that's the houses and the areas. My point is that the prices are still not cheap. Kiwis have forgotten what a fair housing market looks like.
Dorkland house prices are like paying Ford prices for Tata Nanos, Mercedes prices for Fords, and Bugatti Veyron prices for Mercedes.

About time!  
The old Manukau and Waitakere city councils (now Auckland Council) were the two biggest land bankers in Auckland region.  Good on ya govt.

"The End of Suburbia"
Young people are shunning the suburbs in favor of the hustle and bustle of city life are leading the charge in the "reurbanization of America," said real estate mogul Sam Zell.
"The young people in America are being drawn to these 24/7 cities. The last thing they want to do is live in the suburbs". "In that respect, the demand for housing in urban markets is increasing."
The demand for the suburban life had been driven mainly by safety and schools. "If you want to see the end of suburbia, all you need to do is make the school systems in the cities triple-A and why would anybody live in the suburbs" end-of-suburbia-nearly-upon-us

I'll be surprised if everybody wants their kids playing in the alley with broken bottles, used condoms and syringes. Sure young people tend toward cities for jobs, but that is only one set of requirements.

Apartments are under rated in this country.
Younger people do not want to mow lawns and paint miles of weather board on their weekends.
The prices paid for some of the rubbish in subburbon auckland by older people will unlikely be seen as having nearly as much value by the next generation.

To address claims made of the "under rating" of apartments I have just, this very moment, concluded a review of the entire household rating system.
Unfortunately inner city apartments have remained near the bottom.
But I would like to assure all concerned citizens that ratings are reviewed and updated on a regular basis and take into full account all my households dynamic and changing circumstances.

I've been saying this for years, on this site, FOB need to change their expectations.  In most cities in the developed world people start life in flats, apartments or terraces, this is where a FOB should be searching. 
They had better be quick however, the apartment market has increased 16% in the last 4 months, another unintended consequence of the LVR ratios. 

Given the choice of an affordable house (slum) in Weymouth or a decent sized appartment in Mt Eden I get the feeling that a lot of young couples and even families would choose the appartment - I certainly would. Unfortunately the government and right wing members of the council are doing their best to ensure there are no new appartments or terraced houses built as the unitary plan gets more and more watered down.  
Nick Smith is too old and too far removed from Auckland. He thinks everyone wants to live in a house in suburbia where there is nothing to do, no public transport, and an hour commute.

All that "end of suburbia" stuff is B.S. and wishful thinking by urbanists, activists, and vested interests.

two otherguys
nice in theory, but a major problem is the affordability of inner urban townhouses. Only a limited proportion of youngsters will be able to afford such locations, even if many would like to buy there 

That article points to apartments being increasing popular by younger folk.
And if you factor in the location of many apartments (a few minutes walk to work versus 45min commute) you'll see even in NZ (auck, welly specifically) they are looking far far more attractive at current prices.

Simple reality:
Affordable city due to lack of fringe constraints:
New fringe McMansion: half the price
Older house in mature suburb at more central location: quarter the price
Townhouse near CBD: quarter the price
CBD condo: fifth the price
Dog box apartment: affordable city doesn't even have them because a decent Condo is already within most people's reach.
Our planners tell us their policies are "increasing housing choice".
Nice Orwellian Newspeak.
Truth is, the dislike the choices people make when they DO have choice, so they force up the price of land to force everyone to pay more for a whole lot less. 
Go ahead and fact check me, and educate yourselves in the process. Start with Demographia Report median multiple 3 cities, and look at RE sites for those cities.
Here's a start:,TX/5_r/0-200000_price/CONDO_type/
Have Dorkland's planners given people that sort of choice of living in a centrally located Condo?

Well done little Johnny & the Gnats ... makes a change of pace from the previous government , who sat around having endless yak fests , but never actually achieved anything tangible out of it ...
... grand to see some action , at last ...

Here's what the Labour Party made of the announcement:

Govt creates McMansions not affordable homes

The Government’s planning announcement offers little hope for first home buyers but developers will be laughing all the way to the bank, said Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“What we are likely to see is row upon row of McMansions. First home buyers and middle income families have been thrown a few crumbs as only up to 10 per cent of the promised 6,000 homes will be in the affordable range. Currently five per cent of new builds are classed as affordable, so this will make little difference.
“Given that Auckland house prices have increased by 13 per cent in the past year, the Government’s affordable homes hype is just a token gesture.
“Property developers will continue to build high-end homes.  Why would you build a house for $400,000 when you can build one for $800,000 and double your profit? 
“Who will buy these new homes?  Eighty per cent of first home buyers say they cannot afford the 20 per cent minimum deposit imposed by the Government’s new home mortgage lending rules. That rules them out.
“On the other hand, according to the ANZ Bank’s latest survey, 92 per cent of property investors say the new lending limits won’t affect them.
“National just doesn’t get it. Opening up greenfields land for property developers to build McMansions won’t give first home buyers and hard working families the break they are looking for.
“National’s planning announcement does nothing to address the underlying factors that make new homes so expensive: excessive profit-taking by land bankers, poor productivity and bespoke building practices in the building industry, lack of competition in the supply of building materials, and a property market over-heated by property speculation.
“Labour’s KiwiBuild policy is a bold and comprehensive approach to the housing crisis. We will build 10,000 affordable homes every year for 10 years. Building at scale will allow factory-built production, and bulk buying of building materials will drive down costs. Using the Crown balance sheet will allow Government to forego the developer’s margin and lower land costs while delivering high quality master-planned mixed income developments,” said Phil Twyford.

Time to resurrect the old Dept of Housing Construction and State Advances Corporation
The houses were provided by private enterprise, with a Department of Housing Construction set up to oversee the building and the State Advances Corporation to manage the houses

Labour has a point.
For example, 7% of houses at Huapai and 20% of houses at Hobsonville are targeted at poor first home buyers (which are restricted to household income <$120k). What about the other 93%/80%? In my experience these residual houses are well above a level that I can afford.
So once again, I'm both too poor and too rich to afford an affordable house.

Personally I don't buy their argument. It doesn't matter what type of houses get built, as long as some do get built. If they build 6000 mansions, those will be bought by the rich and the existing housing stock (hardly mansions) will then be available to first home buyers.  
The only thing stopping the market sorting out the housing supply shortage is the lack of zoned land and the restrictions on that zoned land - remove those issues and the whole problem will go away very quickly. Don't bring new restrictions into the market like affordable homes.

Trouble is JJ, buyers of new houses don't always sell their old ones - why would you if you can service the debt and in a year the house is worth 10%, or more, more. And chances are, if you can afford a new mansion, you can afford to hang onto your existing home when the rent might be 5% of the value of your old place.

That will happen anyway whether we are building more or not. Building more is better than not building more. 

How does one calculate the number of houses the country needs to build in this day and age considering that so many people rent housing by others? Obviously there is no shortage of housing in real terms, because they're living in one, its just owned by someone else.
Sure there are many people, especially the young, single,  and poor who have to share occupancy with others who would given the choice own their own place, but can't due to lack of income or high credit risk. Building more houses won't help them.

Unless the wealthy buy them as investment properties

Yawn, Labour blocked their ears on this subject as the problem was occurring in the first place; house prices doubled relative to incomes 2000 - 2007.
They haven't a clue how to fix it now either. 

Phil - exactly. Whilst the Nats deserve at best a C+ for their efforts to date re: housing, the previous Labour govt scored a D in my view

Labour is boardering on the rediculous, no wonder they are losing so much ground to the Greens. 
Every decade or so the populous forgets how incompetant the left is and votes them in on promises of tax the rich, give to everyone.  After they break the bank National has to come back in and fix it all, until the populous, once again, forgets the damage the left causes. 
As a PI I'm torn, Labour is a true friend of the PI, they allow (nay encourage) run away house price inflation like in the naughties and us PIs make a fortune.  But the responsible side of me says vote National because I know they are good for the country, even though they are the only ones taking active steps to reduce the value of my investments.

The populace have been known to forget how to spell bordering, incompetent, and ridiculous too - but only smart right-wingers do that, so it doesn't matter too much in the big scheme of things.
The joke is that the right wing can't point out how wrong Turei is, because they're the flip-side same wrong. It would be funny to watch, if it weren't so tragic.

Touchy today, hit a nerve did I...  I guess the truth hurts.  You know as well as I do how much money your beloved Labour party made for PIs in the naughties. 
How's the cult?  Do you have a doomsday date yet? 

Happy 123 - can you raise your game. perhaps? We have enough screaming ranters, myopic one-shotters, and folk who suddenly decide not to provide information, hereabouts.
I'm no supporter of Labour - they propose endless growth and are therefore to be regarded as idiots too. The PI greed era was an era of greed, no more, no less. Any Govt in power at the time, had to ride out the bubble. Didn't matter who.
The joke is that it hasn't burst, yet.
As for when depletion effects start to be felt, well, it's a bit like asking Titanic passengers when they drowned. Those in higher places lasted a little longer, but not significantly so. You might like to ponder on whether you did anything useful, or just climbed atop other passengers in your attempt to stay afloat.

Yes Happy123 , much alike the mad dentist in " the Little Shop of Horrors " , I think it's safe to say that you hit the mother-lode of all nerves !
... I feel rather chuffed though , that Mr PDK was probably also referring to me when he launched his spray at you  .... sweet ...
The doomsday date has been set at the year 2030 , by Surly Bob Geldorf ..... we're all gonna be extinct then  ......  .... again .....

I think you should be careful in future when casting aspersion like ranter on a public forum. One shouldn't cast stones in glass house, like the old saying goes. 

It's like this with PDK.  He knows he is always right.  Even when you agree with PDK he gets angry that you don't agree enough.  He's just an angry man with keyboard access.  It's nothing to do with the points of the argument. 

It's like this with PDK.  He knows he is always right.  Even when you agree with PDK he gets angry that you don't agree enough.  He's just an angry man with keyboard access.  It's nothing to do with the points of the argument. 

a) The greens are even more left than labour, and will discourage PI'ing but  yes taking votes off labour.
b) Cunliffe's "success" appears to have reversed that trend.
While I can agree labour isnt that hot economically, neither is National...
Both face some hard choices in the next term or 2....both's stance at present indicates they are not up to it.
oh joy....

I kind of agree with your comment...  First time for everything.
Lets go for 2 for 2... believe it or not I would happily vote for the Greens if they went back to their core beliefs around the environment and dropped the most extreme parts of their economic policies.  These days they don't seem to make any noise about the environment and if they don't who will. 

You win again!
I quit the Green party because they are not very Green. 
Green and Red are just as mutually exclusive as Green and Blue.  When it comes down to it Red and Blue both want to exploit and have room for sustainablity with either.  All I can say is they are a bit better than  just about anyone else I can think of to vote for. 
This time I voted for Climate Action then Greens....
In saying "core beliefs" they are a bit of an amagamation of various groups so its to be expected, but when ex-alliance are working for them you have to wonder.

Bob Jones once said in a media interview, that Property Investors tend to support Labour, because they have a tendency of being more ready to accomodate economic whilst National is full of conservatives like Don Brash who are scared that it will lead to lax spending habits, declining moral rectidude and rising worker income. They're the party of parsimonious savers and industrious yoeman (farmers). He said that National have a tendency to disparage and condemn property owners, because of of their puritan presumption that its an idle economic activity. 
The house price inflation of the early 2000s wasn't due to anything Labour did. After all it was the neoliberal economic commentators who constantly bewailed the Left that the government should have a strictly hands off policy on the economy. And now you all have the cheek to condemn Labour for not intervening in housing policy, which is largely under the purview of local governments. Unbelievable The high housing inflation was a product of the global boom in economic activity of the Great Moderation. Blame America's shift towards a post-industrial economy grounded in the growth of the FIRE sectors, low energy prices, China's monetary policy which favoured their export sector, and massive capital flows which sought abitrage in our comparably higher returns on capital here, especially household finance due to our relatively high interest rates. Labour was arguable powerless to do anything about  this. 
Its rich to blame the Labour for the housing mess. I suggest you to ask yourself, Cui bono? Property investors who've gained tremendously from the appreciating value of their assets and rising  rents, local councils who's revenues have grown due to increasing rateable property values, landowners who own land close to urban centre's once the city is deemed to have outgrown its prior boundaries,  the finance sector who gain from rising demand for funds by households who are willing to pay the extortionate cost of housing, and lawyers, real estate agents and associated professionals eager to clip the ticket on the way through. 
Both Labour and National are only avowing a concern about the issue in order to make cheap political gains. They're not really willing to do anything meaningful to fix the problem, because there are too many people with vested interests in the current state of affairs. Nobody wants house prices to fall because we'd be in the same position as Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and the United States. 

So your trying to say that what happened while Labour was in power for 3 terms was not their fault.  I ask you, why didn't they do exactly what National is doing now?  I'm not going to blame USA, energy prices, China or any other external factor, it's our mess. 
PIs effect on the total housing stock and hence prices has been explained many times, it's not the cause of the problem. 
I do agree that no political party will do much to stop it. 

Well, because house affordability didn't become a political issue until 2008, after Labour had already left office. I've yet to find any evidence that it was a big issue for the National Party whilst they were in the Opposition. Its only become a priority in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. Most observers including me who pointed out the vulnerability of the world's economy to excessive housing value appreciation and the attendant financial risks were thoroughly pillored. Oh the wonders of hindsight. 
I think it a little premature to vilify Labour for not doing what National is doing now, in light of most economic commentators before 2008 claiming that housing bubbles are impossible to diagnose and its far too early to say whether National's housing policy will have any measurable effect. 
btw. I voted for Labour and the United Future party only in 1999 and have since not participated in national elections since.

So Labour did nothing to avoid the current crisis cause they didn't see it coming...  not sure what that says about them.  National probably did/said nothing either.  I wont give you a hard time because it's hard, if not impossible, to properly defend any of our illustrious parties. 

It doesn't say much about people who profess to have some expertise in public policy or economics given so few people predicted the financial crisis. I was reading the articles published by the few that did in the middle of 2007 awaiting the impending collapse of the world economy. I am quite surprised how successful the powers that be have been in forestalling the crash given that the underlying problems that underpin the GFC still exist. 

In terms of hands off dont touch the market knows best, yes it wasnt Labours fault. In terms of acting to quell the bubble, yes they failed....but really they would have lost votes to say Donny Brash who would have promptly over-heated it even more.

Well thank goodness Mr Phil  Tyford is Labour Housing spokesman and not a property developer, becuase he would have gone bankrupt ages ago .
Does he not realise that its because of Labours previuos administration that land prices now make up 2/3rds of the cost of a house?
And he suggests that they will mass produce cheap houses in a factory -type production line.
So rows of identical UK -TYPE low socio-economic council Houses like  those terrible places in Merseyside or other towns like Coventry or Sheffield ?
Then lets see if we can think of any Crown entity managed by the NZ Govt, that has manufactured something without losing millions of  taxpayers Dollars ?

Same rediculous statements, liked by Raegun and Julz each time, same ignorance blinding you from the truth. 
Before you rush to reply stop and think for a moment, if all PIs left the market who provides rentals, what change is there to the total housing stock and subsequently prices?

Well some possibilitiesa are,
1) If PIs exit in quantity is likely to collapse the housing market  Given the chances are good on Labour winning next november the rush for the exit could be uh, interesting.  So houses down 50%? in which case why rent?  The ppl who just got in with 95% (even 80%) of course are under water.  Lets say your rental you bought at $500k is now worth $250k...does your rent half as well? if not well it might be you sit it out looking for a long BAU that would be the next inflationary cycle....
2) There is (I hope) a difference between a professional landlord and a speculator / tax dodger, though if in here is a sample Im not so sure.
3) A price collapse of course will send shock waves through NZ...its coming its just when and what the trigger is.

sorry steven, should have included you in the list in my initial post. 

I'm flattered to have made the hall of fame, although I very seldom use the "like" buttons. 

No one is saying of course that there should be no PI's and no rental properties, there is clearly a need for rentals. 
The real issue is the ever increasing number rental properties relative to owner occupiers.  After all the increasing percentage of rental properties does not reflect an increased desire by Kiwis to rent!  It represents instead an increased appetite from PI's to jump on the property band wagon!

The New Zealand Bankers' Association had this to say:
Land for more houses good for Auckland housing supply
A joint government and Auckland Council move today to make land available for 6000 new affordable houses in ten more special housing areas has been welcomed today by the New Zealand Bankers’ Association as a positive step in addressing the housing supply issue in Auckland.
“The big issue in the Auckland housing market is a lack of supply. Freeing up land for housing is a move in the right direction to help improve supply where it’s needed and alleviate pressure on house prices,” New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope said.
“Credit growth is currently around 5.4%, which is not high. The availability of credit is not driving Auckland property prices – it’s the lack of supply. Today’s announcement is a constructive move to address the supply challenge.
“We have the opposite problem that parts of the United States and Ireland had a few years ago where an oversupply of housing contributed to a fall in property values resulting in negative equity for many home owners. That’s not the New Zealand experience.
“Addressing the supply issue may also reduce pressure on the Reserve Bank to use tools like low equity lending restrictions in an effort to maintain financial stability,” said Hope.

Westpac economists say expectation of future profits – not a supply shortage – is main reason for soaring Auckland house prices

I had a bit to say about that on that thread, including:
"......rents being strangely static at the same time as house prices going crazily high, is classic evidence that there is a price bubble, not evidence that "there is no supply shortage". 
Would they argue that a crazily high P/E ratio on the sharemarket  was evidence that there was NOT a bubble?....."
"......The Westpac economists epitomise either the incompetence of mainstream economists who have not actually studied land economics under an authoritative expert, or the crookedness of economists who work for a vested interest in keeping economic land rent high. Why would anyone believe economists who work for the very institution that profits the most from artificially inflated housing prices?
Before you can have the "expectations of future profits", you need an inelastic supply of housing....."
And I referenced two academic papers on US cities house prices.

Rents being static is not a reliable indicator in my opinion, available cash flow can and will restrain the amount of rent Kiwis are able to pay and will provide a ceiling.
Property prices however supported by foreign buyers and low interest rates have almost no ceiling. The money is borrowed and even the rent less interest shortfall can be covered by refinancing the capital gains.

Yeah, the bankers association is just as wrong as their "mainstream" sources of information. It is a nonsense myth that there were too many houses built in the USA during their house price bubble. 
California had an outright shortage and severe underbuilding rates throughout. Some large developments were done in stupid locations where there was less local red tape and NIMBYism to block them.
Las Vegas and Phoenix have frequently been said to have had "oversupply". This is not true when population growth is taken into account. Newbuilds started to stand empty when the prices skyrocketed, pricing many first home buyers and migrants out. The price bubble in these cities was because the space needed for growth ran up against government land holdings. 
Atlanta had demand stupidly boosted by the Community Reinvestment Act; no other city suffered such severe unintended consequences from this legislation. Supply merely met the demand, but many people who got mortgages ended up defaulting and some areas have ended up with empty housing - mostly lower socio economic areas, not new subdivisions.
Florida probably did have outright oversupply, although a lot of this was just plain "the wrong type of housing" - apartments and condos, in fact. 
Every other price bubble location had outright undersupply (eg Boston).
All the affordable stable price cities were that due to high elasticity of housing supply. Texas cities are actually not unusual; dozens of US cities have elasticities of higher than "2" (higher than 1 being necessary to keep the prices stable). This is Albert Saiz' data. Kansas has the highest supply elasticities of the lot. 

Ireland had a swelling population of polish who came over to work while ireland ecomony was good... extra housing went up fast to accomodate them (sound familia?), then all the polish left, even leaving their empty cars at the airport at time... result.. more houses then people and house prices plummet....
Lets hope we really do have a supply problem and not just a speculative bubble behind the auckland house prices... More houses at this time will just make for a bigger fall in prices if it is a speculative bubble... (doesnt need to be driven by credit, just means people happy to pay way above fair value on hope that price keeps increasing...)

according to Stuff the Auckland market is 5.9 per cent up on the 2007  / 2008 peak after taking into account inflation. Wow!!! I sure am glad I am in shares and not property.  Otherwise I would be disappointed. 

A bubble it seems to me could be defined as a property market where, if interest rates were to rise by say 3% over say a 2 year period, there would likely be a very significant number of mortgage holders who would struggle greatly to meet their payments, such that there would be forced sales, heading off into a vicious spiral downwards. Or the authorities would need to allow/encourage general inflation to facilitate a catch up.
Is the Auckland market in such a state? It's hard to know without understanding a good sample of mortage holders' overall positions. But I suspect it is. An extra 3% on $500k would be an extra $15k a year, or $500 a week. There are likely many who would struggle with that.  

Quite; the killing was made 1999 - 2007. That bubble still has not burst yet. It has remained pumped up by deliberate policy, fiscal and monetary. The response of most governments and central banks, to realising that an Ireland/California type bust in their patch is possible, is to use every trick in the book to keep it pumped up and even growing.
I say this is unsustainable in the long term, inflated urban land prices erode the real economy in too many ways.

Apparently there is quite a large population of building workers who have not left, but are still living in Ireland living off the generous unemployment benefit, way better than what's available in eastern Europe.
I also read a newspaper article about some people who have gone back home, but fly to Ireland on the good old cheapo Ryanair  flights every week or two to pick up the benefit, then fly home again.
I don't know the truth of either comment, as I've been here since before the European meltdown, but I would think both are possible given the current dysfunctional state of the country.

About 75 of those houses are a location where the residents might not each need their own car. Say 2 people per house that's another 9,850 extra cars dumped into Auckland's already overloaded roading network to keep the inner suburb NIMBY's happy.
So the $1billion economic loss to Auckland region each year due to traffic congestion just gets even bigger. The whatever many tons of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere gets bigger too etc.etc....yay

Bob, that stuff is an irrelevant sideshow. The rate at which people choose a home to do without a car is so low that it does not mitigate the higher congestion that results from higher density.
Here are a couple of data bases;
See for yourself if you can find any correlation between congestion and urban density. And housing affordability.
Nottingham: Pop. 660,000; density 4,200 per sq. km; INRIX congestion score 21.9; House price Median multiple 5.4
Liverpool: Pop. 820,000; density 4,400 per sq. km;  INRIX congestion score 21.5; House price Median multiple 5.2
Sheffield: Pop. 640,000; density 4,000 per sq. km; INRIX congestion score 15.3; House price Median multiple 5.2
Tulsa: Pop. 660,000; density 800 per sq. km; INRIX congestion score 1.5; House price Median multiple 2.7
Omaha: Pop. 730,000; density 1,000 per sq. km; INRIX congestion score 1.0; House price Median multiple 2.5
Wichita: Pop. 470,000; density 900 per sq. km; INRIX congestion score 0.8; House price Median multiple 2.3

Watching Smith & Brown together is erringly familiar ….

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
- George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 10

If the Council staff got on with their jobs instead of galavanting around Nick Smith wouldn't have to get involved.

... if we stopped allowing the rich elite in inner city suburbs from blocking high rise developments from encroaching upon their leafy green suburban utopia , and accepted that 3 , 4 or even 5 storey housing projects were appropriate use of highly valuable land ... then meebee we'd see a lessening of the land demand causing urban sprawl ... and a greater efficiency of the local infrastructure ...
Or I could be raving looney .... ummm ... .. again ...

Vancouver is the one city I am aware of that has stripped NIMBYists of much of their rights and guaranteed fast permission processes for intensification projects, and Vancouver remains one of the most unaffordable cities on the planet. 
Singapore is probably the most "affordable" high density city, and everything is leasehold over there the government compulsorily acquires any property it wants to do anything with, and special assessment taxes connect local infrastructure costs with local beneficiaries of it. Rail loops are paid for by the property owners on the route, not "everyone else" as Len Brown Inc. does it. 
Good luck persuading Aucklanders that their urban crisis justifies Singapore policies. 

Can you imagine the uproar, should the NZ government strip current property ownership from current landowners? It'll make the controversy in Christchurch seem a veritable storm in a teacup in comparison.

Hugh, did you see the latest NZIER quarterly survey showing the dive in building investment intentions in Christchurch? Any thoughts on what's behind that?

I can see ChCh evolving by default already, into a US-style dispersed-employment city, which is actually more efficient, contrary to planners shallow and unsupportable assumptions. 
Long may the CBD remain mired in bickering and gabfests. 
The dispersed employees actually don't miss the CBD like they thought they might, they have discovered that "urban" amenity can exist anywhere. The cafes and fashion shops have followed them out to the suburbs, actually they were already popping up everywhere anyway.
Bob Jones was right when he wrote the following two years ago:
 "......A new and realistic strategy should build on this desirable feature and abandon thoughts of resurrecting its CBD. It could follow the model of many Christchurch- sized American cities with insignificant CBDs and instead comprise suburbs, each with its own commercial centre of low-rise, low-cost, walkup offices with shops below, in garden settings, much like the delightful Havelock North. Such buildings are quickly built, cheap and will find a ready end-investor market.
If Christchurch was to restructure itself in this fashion, which is both practically and financially feasible, it would be an army of gardeners and not builders that would be required, to transform it into a very different but hugely admired, fabulous garden city.
Existing major buildings that withstood the quake, such as the Art Gallery, the Forsythe Barr tower and others, would no longer sit in a city streetscape, but instead in isolation in a garden setting linked by avenues. It would not be a worse scenario, but instead different from before and arguably a great deal more appealing. The planners should abandon the ridiculous Noddyland terraced offices proposal put before the public, plainly designed by people with no awareness of contemporary office market demands for space and light....."

I remember reading Bob Jones piece and thinking he was going to be very correct. His statement on the (400% rent increases) in the new CBD would have such an impact upon business that most would not want to go back into that area as their bottom line would be affected to much. 

While immigration played a key role in house inflation in the three years after 2001 (Reserve
Bank 2007), it is unknown to what extent on-going immigration continued to drive price rises.
The housing boom has meant good profits for many New Zealand companies supplying
materials and building services, but it implies investors would rather invest in their country's
homes rather than its businesses (Bollard 2005). The high returns for property has attracted
finance and reduced the capital available for productive investment (Moody, 2006). The
consequence is investment is going in to industries with limited capacity to increase per capita
incomes. For example, real estate and building are domestically bound and do not have the
market potential of export industries. They also have less opportunity to increase productivity
through new processes and products.
The irony is, as these sectors grow, they have incurred skills shortages which in turn has increased demand for skilled immigrants. The Department of Statistics ‘Long Term Skill Shortage List’ of 28/3/2006 includes carpenter/joiner, plumber, electricians, fitter and turners, fitter welders; all indicative of a nation building its construction/property sector. There is a danger that a sector of the economy is being augmented that is totally reliant on a small domestic economy. Not only do these industries have limited potential for per-capita growth but ‘deriving growth via factor inputs such as labour places pressure on infrastructure such as transport and land supply, and ultimately have a further negative impact on growth (ARC 2005). Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).



Dr Greg Clydesdale (PhD)

Immigration doesn't drive up house prices in any of the affordable cities in the USA. They just get on with building freakin' houses to satisfy whatever demand there is for whatever reason.
We don't want to ban immigrants because they force up the cost of whiteware; they don't force up the cost of whiteware. In fact they help NZ made whiteware makers by adding to the size of the local market. 
There is no reason NZ housing can't be the same.

But where realestate is geographically constrained it does according to the much cited Albert Saiz paper.
Auckland is on an ismus houston is on a flat prairie. what's more citizens provide infrastructure for new arrivals (schools, hospitals roading). Migrants create demand for migrants to service the migrants and the sector that serves them gets bigger and bigger lobbying for more and more immigration whether it is in the best interests of the overall economy or not.

Another affect on economic performance comes from the costs immigration imposes on the
economy by the increased population and the pressure it puts on infrastructure. In 1998, the
Auckland Regional Council estimated that $7 billion would be needed to be spent over the
following 25 years on water supply, drainage and transport alone. The ‘costs of growth’ born
by the region’s ratepayers and consumers were estimated to be at least $140 million a year for
capital expenditure and $160 million a year for operations and maintenance (ARC 1998:7).
Table.6 illustrates some of the infrastructural costs identified by the regional council the
following year (ARC 1999).
In 1998, traffic congestion costs were estimated at $755 million per annum (Ibid,1998:6).
Traffic congestion can be linked to the time and cost of moving goods and people, and is felt
to generally dampen productivity overall. These costs are a consequence of population
growth (and increased vehicle use), a clear example of diseconomies of scale that none of the
econometric models included. Expenditure on transport is necessary to deal with congestion.
Since the above estimations were published, the costs of transportation upgrades have been modified to $17billion, of which 72% is new expenditure. Two billion of this is can be
considered catch-up expenditure, related to deferred replacement and past population growth,
but even deducting this, we are left with $11.2 billion expenditure by 2017 related to
population growth (Houghton 2007). Although it was hoped this will address the congestion
problem, this will not happen. By 2017, an extra 340,000 more people are expected to live in
the Auckland region and, if car ownership remains as high as now, there will be 195,000 more
cars. The result is, despite this expenditure, there will be no improvement in congestion
(Auckland Regional Transport Authority 2005). Average speed will remain at approximately
36kms per hour (Regional Land Transport Committee 2005). Not only does this mean that
tax-payers will get no benefit from their expenditure but infrastructure has been identified as a
significant barrier to investment and growth (Skilling 2006), and this problem will continue to
limit economic development.



Dr Greg Clydesdale (PhD)

Senior Lecturer
Department of Management and International Business
Massey University - Albany

Yes, Auckland is on an isthmus. So does an urban growth boundary prohibiting growth on the abundant amount of hinterland north and south, help the situation?
This is like telling a paralympian that because he only has one leg anyway, expecting him to run his races with a backpack full of rocks shouldn't make any difference. 
There is no established literature that shows that overall in the long term, there are savings in infrastructure costs by constraining horizontal growth. There are losses in more difficult access to infrastructure for maintenance and renewal, disruption, and cost of land acquisition. Cost of land acquisition will kill the Dorkland CBD rail loop unless compulsory acquisition powers are created and exercised. The same goes for the intended urban intensification on the route. Won't happen. All that will happen is that the property owners will "hold out" for prices most people can't pay. It's happened in Portland and it will happen here.
The cost to local households and businesses of inflated land rent is orders of magnitude higher than even the alleged savings in infrastructure costs. The choice that we have flunked already, is paying slightly higher rates, or condemning everyone after about 2005 to paying twenty times as much as that in inflated housing costs over their lifetime. And the higher rates will come anyway....!
The unconstrained growth cities in the USA generally have so much local discretionary income being spent in the local economy rather than sucked out by the international finance system, that their fiscal future is quite sound. Cities killed by the Trade Unions in their local predominant industry are something else. 
The UK's exceptionally high density cities are not universally models of economic and fiscal health. 

Immigration is driving up home prices, says the minister who believes houses are better than green fields

  • Nick Boles warned that young people are being prevented from buying homes
  • He said that the arrival of 2million immigrants in last decade has left housing shortage


Mad dogs and Englishmen.
If they have really run out of room for their 63 million people in their 230,000 square kilometers of space, why for Pete's sake have their traitorous P.C. elites allowed open ended mass immigration for years now? 
NZ, ahem, ahem, has 4 million people with 300,000 square kilometers of space.
Your point was.....?

NZ, ahem, ahem, has 4 million people with 300,000 square kilometers of space.
Your point was.....?
Space is just one metric to justify mass migration or you property developers would be buying up the sahara.
Much of NZ is mountainous; we have a super volcano in the center of the north Island that blew 31cu km of solids into the air in a few minutes 1800 years ago (erupts on average every 900 years); we are due for a 300 yearly eruption on the alpine fault that will put the hydros out of action and cut off roads down the west coast. We have rich farmland and poorer farmland, rivers swamps, fishing holes, snapper, white bait and a lifestyle.
Also the taxpayer pays for infrastructure and you have to ask whether immigration makes us better off (not just the sector that serves the migrants. The Australian Productivity Commision concluded that their was little or no benefit to australians from immigration it had all been captured by the migrants etc, etc (ours was restricted to terms that are relatively uncontroversial given the desire to establish broad political support for the Commission.
Destination countries have grown on that back of a high resource to people ratio. Now the resource is a better place for people from overcrowded countries i.e development for the sake of development.


We just need to be choosy about our migrants, that is all. I'm glad Dr Swee Tan is here, and countless other highly valuable migrants. Are we going to start getting real about the level of locally born parasites as well as beating up on immigrants who are allegedly "a net cost"?
I agree that NZ should be a lot more realistic about disaster risk; for a start the urban planners could stop insisting on intensification right on fault lines and in the path of potential tsunamis and at the location of potential volcanic activity. 
Get your nose out of "The Gaia Hypothesis", "Silent Spring", "The Population Bomb" and "Earth in the Balance", look at Google Earth and get progressive and objective according to enlightenment values. Our current planners and policy makers might as well be deriving sadistic pleasure over the massacre they are setting up those despicable humans for when the "big ones" hit. 

Unlike Auckland:
While oil made Houston boom, a more complicated set of factors made it sprawl. State annexation laws allowed the city to aggressively absorb surrounding areas, earning it the nickname of “the blob that ate East Texas.” A mechanism exists that allows developers to easily create quasi-governmental authorities to finance far-reaching utility extensions. Meanwhile, it’s always been cheaper for developers to build horizontally than vertically, and because Houston faces few physical impediments such as rivers, lakes or mountains—save for the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles to the southeast—there isn’t any physical reason stopping them. “That’s one of the reasons you don’t have a massive number of high-rises,” says Ric Campo, CEO of the national real estate firm Camden Property Trust, based in Houston. “It’s all about land availability and cost, and it costs a whole lot more to go up than out.”
What is changing is Houstonians’ attitude toward urban life. Historically, as Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research succinctly puts it, Houston has been viewed as "the most sprawling, least dense, most automobile-dependent major city in America." And for many years, Houstonians seemed to be perfectly content with that. But there’s evidence that’s no longer the case. The institute’s annual survey of Houston-area residents last year found that half the residents of Harris County, of which Houston is part, would prefer to live "in an area with a mix of development, including homes, shops and restaurants" as opposed to a “single-family residential area." Even if you look at the farthest parts of the metro region—the nine counties surrounding Harris County—more than 40 percent of residents prefer the mixed-use option. The results, which are also reflected in recent development patterns, have city leaders, developers and advocates for density buzzing. "It’s not a flash-in-the-pan trend," Campo says.
The trend seems to be driven by three factors: young adults who are less attracted to suburbs, rising transportation costs, and a concerted effort by Mayor Annise Parker and her predecessor Bill White to promote amenities in the city and especially its core. Houston, of course, is by no means the only city experiencing a renewed interest in urban living. But it may be the most unlikely, and the trend is especially notable given the poor reputation Houston has historically had in the urban planning field. Now, city leaders are trying to respond to market demands they didn’t encounter just a short time ago. As the Kinder study notes, "the challenge today is not in finding residents who want to live in more compact, urbanized communities, but in building places across the region that can accommodate them."

Yeah, Houston is great. They can actually provide "housing choice" because there are fully competitive options.
Condos within 5 km of the centre of Houston:,TX/5_r/CONDO,APARTMENT%7CCONDO%7CTOWNHOUSE_type/
There you go, Dorkland planners. Learn from the masters. 

The real question. Wesley College, a urban housing development. I spent 5 long years there, it's been at that location since 1924 and in existence since 1844. Is it now going to be rubble?

Contrary to advice to NZ Government, it the rest of the world immigration puts up house prices.
Recent evidence from country studies on house prices suggests that the im-
pact of immigration on local house prices is a global phenomenon. Saiz (2007)
estimates that an immigrant inflow equal to 1% of a city’s population results
in a 2% increase in house prices for U.S. cities. Gonzalez and Ortega (2009)
show that the price effect through immigration is higher for the Spanish
housing market. Akbari and Aydede (2009) instead find muted immigration
effects for the Canadian housing market. Stillman and Mare (2008) uncover
a separation result between migrant groups. They find that the inflows of
returning New Zealanders are related to rising house prices but that inflows
of new foreign immigrants are not.
A striking feature of these spatial correlations - the correlation between
house prices and immigration across local markets - is that they coincide with
episodes of high house price inflation and pronounced immigration flows at
the national level. Gonzalez and Ortega (2009), for example, consider a boom
episode where Spanish house prices grew annually by 17.5% and the foreign-
born share in the working population increased from 2 to 16% between 1998
and 2008. Similarly, Saiz (2007) examines a 15-year episode where prices for
new single-family homes grew annually by 6.3% and the 10 largest American
immigrant cities recorded levels of new legal immigration of 13% of the initial
We find that an increase in immigrant flows equal to 1% of the total popu-
lation in each district is coincident with a 2.7% price increase in Swiss house
prices for single-family homes. The short-run estimates for an environment
of low house price inflation are consistent with international evidence found
for episodes with higher house price inflation. The results show that rent
control and low home ownership rates, distinct features of the Swiss housing
market, do not mitigate the house price effect associated with immigration.
Swiss National Bank Working Papers
Immigration and Swiss House Prices
Kathrin Degen and Andreas M. Fischer

Contingent on low elasticity of housing supply in all cases.
There are plenty of good reasons to be careful about immigration, by all means make this argument. But don't use it as a scapegoat when houses would be unaffordable anyway due to urban planning rigidities. The urban planning rigidities are what make median multiples 6+ instead of <>3. Focusing on 2% inflation caused by this, that and the other thing is just smokescreening the issue.

Urban planning isn't just to piss developers off; it represents the ability of a cities residents to provide infrastructure services for new comers. A city needs a good reason to attract migrants demonstrated by higher incomes for residents that enable that infrastructure. Ofcourse you could let that go and have shanty towns and enclaves for the rich, but in NZ we provide infrastructure for everyone (as we are/were an eglatarian society).

Huh? We will have a given distribution of skills and abilities in the population regardless of the form of cities we plan to "attract" yuppies.
Planned attractor cities with growth containment as well are disgracefully non-egalitiarian. Access to the amenities ends up highly rationed by ability to pay for the premium locations. Economic land rent is inflated and results in zero sum wealth transfers to the top 1%.
Gibbons, Overman and Resende (2011) "Real Earnings Disparities in Great Britain" found that higher average house prices act as a multiplier of initial income disparities in terms of life outcomes. 
When you look at the various attributes of housing enjoyed by each quintile of the population in UK cities compared to affordable cities in the USA, it is obvious that only the very top quintile in the UK will enjoy a mix of attributes better than the bottom quintile in the affordable US city. I mean house size; age; condition; quality; lawns and gardens; access to employment opportunities; access to amenities; opportunity for marriage and child-bearing.
And the bottom quintile in the UK? There is now an epidemic of people living in garages and garden sheds.
Watch the video here: NZ, the way you want it in a few years time?

Outflows of NZ'rs is a healthy response to economic conditions encouraging firms to become more productive and pay higher wages.  When conditions improve they will return.
Immigration creates a demand for migrants to build houses so the government can  cry "needed skills"
80% of our population growth over the last 20 years is from of shore.
Auckland , like Melbourne is growing on growth - a people servicing sector sucking resources but with poor productivity.
If communities throughout NZ are shrinking they presumably don't have a viable economic base and have to suck it up.
Bringing migrants to pay tax for the elderly is only a sugar hit as the migrants themselves age.
The government faces little opposition to immigration due to influencial liberal elites so (for instance) immigration policy is never raised as a cause of house price inflation (MSM) and the Savings Working Group advice on immigration goes largely unreported. NZ is the only country which denies a link between house price inflation and immigration.
The property sector is  parasitical.

Damn selfish of those Kiwis to sit in their leafy suburbs on valuable land. What do they think this is New Zealand?

Those unsophisticated hick bible-bashin' gun-totin' rednecks in southern and heartland USA have actually worked out that if you don't want apartments in your street, and you don't want your own children and grandchildren condemned to unaffordable housing of small size and low quality, let growth happen "somewhere else".
So much for cool, down-to-earth, can-do, innovative, number-8-fencing-wire Kiwidom. 

the need to sprawl or intensify is the result of intense lobbying by the development sector helped by progressives, without a mandate.

Question: how do urban fringe developers make a profit, in competition with each other, and how fat is their ROI?
In contrast, how fat is the ROI to all incumbent property owners when urban growth is constrained by planners, in return for what effort and risk on their part? How many tradies do they provide jobs for?
How do people lie straight in bed at night, arguing that the "vested interests" are in favour of "sprawl"????

You have a point about capital gains from rezoning but i see that as a seperate issue.
1. Have to feel sorry for the family farm if it was forcibly sold (at prezoning price) and swallowed up but not if owned by a speculator.
2. Let's not forget the active role of the development industry in lobbying government for more immigration.
3. There are valid reasons for an urban plan (as I claim above) associated with the ability of ratepayers to provide infrastructure and the justification (cost benefits) of immigration policy.
4. In the past we debated freehold versus leasehold. We would be better off if the sate or municpality owned all the land and leased it to the citizenry.  Mining of the landscape for capital gains is a pernicious incentive.

Let's not forget the active role of the FIRE sector in calling for more immigration, looser credit, lower interest rates, continued undersupply of housing, etc etc etc.
What they are aiming for all the time is fat incomes for several years followed by taxpayer bailouts, then the process to be washed, rinsed and repeated.

BBC had 'deep liberal bias' over immigration, says former news chief
Ceri Thomas, the acting deputy director of BBC News and former Today editor, was more measured when asked about the BBC's coverage. He told the review: "Any culture can be at risk of excluding what it thinks is wrong, possibly marginalising significant chunks of public opinion. We need to push against this consensus every day."
In the report, the trust urged the BBC to urged to avoid an "over-reliance on Westminster voices" after concluding that national politicians "tend to dominate" the views seen and heard on BBC programmes.
"It is also clear that the BBC cannot afford to rest on its laurels and it should ensure it does all it can to keep up with the ebb and flow of public opinion," said Prebble. "Which means avoiding over-reliance on Westminster voices, making efforts to find new voices even if they are contentious, and challenging their own assumptions on the accepted consensus."
Prebble warned of the dangers of the BBC gathering too many of its journalists in its new Broadcasting House headquarters in London's West End, saying: "A large group of people working together are in danger of becoming more homogenous in their thinking, not less, and so less able to see when the output reflects a narrow outlook."
A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are pleased our coverage has been deemed 'remarkable' and 'impressive'.
"Stuart Prebble has concluded, overall, that our coverage of immigration is 'broad and impressive', that on the EU we offer 'a wide and comprehensive range of information and viewpoints' and that the BBC's coverage of religion is 'comprehensive and impressive'. He also states that the overwhelming number of journalists within the BBC leave their personal politics at home.
"However, the report provides some interesting insights. We agree it is always vital to guard against unconscious bias or 'group think' and will continue to do so and we've committed to a number of actions to improve our coverage even further."
Radio NZ stays way clear of any immigration debate unless it is a no contest issue.

Yeah, the BBC is part of the lefty establishment that plotted to swamp the UK with "diversity" to rub conservatives noses in it and destroy Anglo Christian culture. 
What is your point in the context of this discussion thread?

Thanks for asking. My point is the lack of discusion by the NZ media of immigration as an option for controlling (and cause of) house price inflation.

Compared to the lack of honest information and discussion about abolishing urban growth containment? 
The Herald has provided us nice infographics comparing Dorkland house prices with London and Vancouver, to show us "how lucky" we are.
The slimy sonofabitches....!!
No information allowed in the public domain re affordable US cities and their policy frameworks, as an option for us. Are their editors property investors too, along with many MP's - or are they loyal members of the church of Gaia or something? 

One of the problems that needs to be got out of the way is that urban planners are using crude computer models that are nonsense and give the opposite outcomes to the real world.
Prof. Alex Anas of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his colleagues, are well advanced in critiquing the deficiencies of the commonly used computer models and suggesting why real life outcomes are different.
Conclusions from “Discovering the Efficiency of Urban Sprawl”, Alex Anas, 2011
“The data on the largest U.S. MSAs show that commute times increase only slightly with city size: the elasticity of the average commute time with respect to the number of workers was about 0.1 in 1990 and 2000. Our CGE simulations of Chicago explain this by showing that with jobs and population sprawling to the suburbs, the average road distance between home and job and home and shop can become shortened as congestion increases on the average mile, so that travel time per consumer remains stable. These results suggest that urban sprawl itself has not been the cause of significant travel cost increases.
Meanwhile, theoretical models of urban areas with polycentric and dispersed employment show that more sprawl, not less, is often needed to offset the negative externality of unpriced congestion and improve efficiency. Planners, like urban economists devoted to the monocentric model, have long viewed sprawl as something that should be reduced. Such a bias leads to potentially drastic planning and policy remedies of which the restrictive urban growth boundary is the prime and most costly example. A higher level of sprawl and polycentric land use may indeed be optimal. To the extent that T.O.D. and the New Urbanism are perceived as antisprawl tools, they may be wrongly promoted. But these tools of modern planning have an important role to play in serving niche markets. Planners may do better to view them as mechanisms that will promote efficient polycentric land uses.”
William Wheaton, the economist who designed the first computer model of the urban economy back in the 1970's, virtually repudiated every result it would have given meanwhile, in a 2002 paper with the self explanatory title, "Commuting, Ricardian Rent, and Housing Prices in Cities with Dispersed Employment and Mixed Land Use". His conclusions in 2002 were that cities, left to themselves, will evolve an increasingly efficient spatial balance of housing and dispersed jobs, with stable or reducing commute times, and economic land rent falling, with the urban land rent curve becoming progressively flatter and fewer and fewer locations commanding significant price premiums. This matches the real life outcomes of cities like Houston.
There are also advantages for businesses and opportunity for startups and increased opportunity for the formation of new clusters. This leads to greater agglomeration economies. Planners stupidly think they can increase agglomeration economies by constraining urban growth, which is actually the opposite of the evidence. The McKinsey Institute in a 1998 Report said that nothing like Silicon Valley could ever evolve in the UK due to its urban planning system; and the Barker Inquiry of 2007 noted planners lamenting that "clusters" they had "planned" did not eventuate because the owners of land they had zoned for the purpose were being greedy and holding out for too high prices. DUH...!!!
Silicon Valley evolved on low cost rural exurban land that at the time, there was no prohibition on using for non-rural uses.

Eggs zactly what has happened in Christchurch CBD, PhilB. 
CCDU has planned the 'precincts' (analogous to the 'clusters' in the article) to within an inch of their lives, and there is not one single permanent occupant of any of them yet - three years after the event sequence started.
So the obvious has occurred:  the non-CCDU areas have leapt ahead:  Victoria St, Addingtron, Middleton, Riccarton, Hornby, Airport, I-Zone - it's a long list.  And most of those tenancies will never grace the Old CBD again. 
Latest (morning Press) is of course that the inevitable has occurred:  to get any movement in the precincts, the Gubmint has had to chip in, because no-one in the private sector would (at least, in the way the Planners Planned.....)
Hugh P has the phrase 'the Suburban Rapid Growth Plan' for this entirely unintended consequence.....

I often travel down Lincoln Road and notice these new 3-5 office buildings for law firms. So its seems the lawyers are not obeying the CCDU plan of creating a CBD legal/justice precinct.

Yeehaw let's turn Noo Zealand into a flyover state. Loving your vision fellas let's clean out the commies in govt and build ourselves a little old gas guzzlin', raccoon shootin', cousin humping paradise.

America's Red State Growth Corridors

Low-tax, energy-rich regions in the heartland charge ahead as economies on both coasts sing the blues.

The Third Coast

From Brownsville to Tampa Bay, an economic powerhouse emerges.


Yep, where can we sign up to this program.......?

... as I've said before , there is no energy crisis , and certainly no shortage ...
But there's been an excess of bungling bureaucrats getting in the way of the productive sector , sticking up barriers and red-tape everywhichway but loose ....
.... anyone pick that here in NZ , housing construction slumped in the years after the RMA was formed , and after Helen Clark gave local councils a mandate to Nanny us all .... rather than just supply key infrastructure services .....

B-b-but, GBH, lookit All that Social and Cultural Wellbeing that got generated.  So many warm feeling for so little cash (or - um - was it the other way round???)

. as I've said before , there is no energy crisis , and certainly no shortage ...
Is their a changing climate in response to CO2 release and is this a problem?

Freedom Protector Safety Supplies
Ah GBH - I can see a new market for earmuffs......Block out the bureaucrat blurbing.....wear them when you hear...RED....coming......available at a Freedom Stockist near you.
Sustainable New Zealand.... Bureaucrat Breeding Eliminators......full range of colours, biodegradeable, use once only.....see your nearest  Freedom stockist now.

If you're simple-minded, the idea of crowing about basing an unplanned, sprawling plethora of infrastructure - probably as cheap as can be installed anyway - on a finite energy resource might appeal.
Those of us who understand that fracking is only indulged-in when you've run out of better options and who understand that half the oil ever consumed was consumed in the last 20 years, realise there isn't another 20 available.
And we think far enough ahead to ask what we will be better with at that point.
We also tend to have low - and lowering - opinions of spin (those links are blatant spin), and those silly enough to promote or believe it.

Yeehaw, look who's creating the jobs, in the USA's cities:

Alex Anas

Buffalo State University Professor Alex Anas uses economic modeling and empirical

data to argue that:

1. The monocentric model often used to justify smart growth policies is unrealistic because

more dispersed employment and services can reduce rather than increase travel distances.

2. This more dispersed development reduces commute travel times compared with more

central, transit-oriented employment.

3. Although urban-peak automobile travel is underpriced, resulting in excessive vehicle

travel and urban expansion, urban growth boundaries inefficient and harm consumers.

He therefore argues that some urban sprawl is economically efficient, and some smart

growth strategies, particularly urban growth boundaries, are economically harmful

overall. While these arguments have some basis, they are incomplete.

It is untrue, as Anas implies, that the justification for smart growth depends on a

monocentric model, nor that smart growth precludes urban expansion. Rather, smart

growth is justified by empirical evidence that certain land use development factors affect

accessibility and travel activity (Ewing and Cervero 2010; Litman 1995). Smart growth

policies allow new development to be more accessible and multi-modal, so trip distances

are shorter and a greater portion of travel can be made by alternative modes.

Anas’ analysis focuses on one trip type (commuting) and one external cost (traffic

congestion). The analysis ignores other types of travel, other forms of underpricing, and

other costs of automobile dependency and sprawl. For example, it ignores increases in

non-commute vehicle travel distance and time in sprawled areas, the inefficiencies from

underpricing local roads and parking facilities, accidents, fuel production, pollution

emissions, habitat loss, and problems caused by inadequate accessibility for non-drivers.

It assumes that agglomeration efficiencies have declined, although research indicates that

they are important for many industries (Anas, Arnott and Small 1997; Graham 2007).

The analysis also focuses on a limited set of smart growth policies, primarily more

efficient road pricing and urban growth boundaries, with mention of transit oriented

development and new urbanism. It ignores other policies such as reducing restrictions on

compact and mixed development, increased roadway connectivity, efficient parking

pricing and management, improved walkability, or location-based pricing.

As a result, Anas underestimates the full costs of automobile dependency and sprawl, and

the full benefits of smart growth policies. He exaggerates the amount of sprawl that is

truly optimal, and underestimates the value of smart growth policies, including second-

best strategies such as urban growth boundaries and alternative mode subsidies.

jh - did it perchance question the continued supply of that which fuels all these alternatives?
Sounds like an economist to me - all about proxy, and assuming a short-term paradigm will last forever.

Todd Litman, the author of that stuff, is dead from the neck upwards about the inflation of land prices by UGB's and the unintended consequences of those policies. No-one in urban economics takes him seriously.
Anas is talking about getting computer modelling harmonising with real life. Litman's analyses are full of "can's" and "should's", and "(my opponent) underestimates the benefits of smart growth and the costs of sprawl" - when it is his opponent who is getting it right and Litman who is 180 degrees away from reality.

One of the things I learnt about myself in Architecture studies Phil is that I have the ability to think in 3D. So I find all this adademia stuff quite amusing because it is written by people that are good at pushing paper(sematics) but can't see.
I will quote you a comment from a New Zealander that is a world leader in bioenergy when I asked him for information recently, "I can tell you that when people build and operate from some calculated performance, not many can actually build anything that can work so efficiently."

On TV last night it ws stated that Auckland needs to build 13,000 new houses per year just to keep up with demand and it is currently building only a bit over 3,000.  This means that the 39,000 extra (if they can build them) over three years will only just result in a 9,000 reduction of the present  30,000 shortfall.  We still have problems and what is the plan after they have built the 39,000; they can't stop there and must continue at this rate of 16,000/year for another 6 years to get close to meeting the demand backlog.  Thereafter they can drop back to something over 13,000 per year

Is Auckland too big? How can we make it shrink? Re-zone existing areas of lower cost housing on the fringes as rural use only. Build tower blocks in Remuera to re house the displaced. Introduce a special Auckland tax on Auckland land only. Increase resource consent fees and have mandatory consultation periods for all new developments.
Let me see now, this line of thought could be fun. Just in case it is not clear in the written form, I am attempting to be satirical.

Foreign buyers snapping up AU residential property

Foreign buying of residential property moved sharply higher in NSW over the past three months
From the horses mouth

NAB group chief economist Alan Oster said, with the real estate market worth about $4 trillion, foreign buyers are unlikely to be influencing median house prices. But no one really knows because a lot of foreigners do not need Australian banks and the only way that we can get data is to ask the experts in the market what they think it is.
The foreign buyer data is contained in NAB's Quarterly Australian Residential Property Survey for the three months to the end of September. It is not based on official data, but on the opinions of a panel of more than 300 real estate experts.
They're guessing.
They know it's happening, but they don't know to what extent, or the net effect

The stampede from probable bank bail-ins is deafening. About time polticians woke the consequences of their actions or lack thereof.

Dead right
Hospital pass? Hot potato? Last man-standing?
Getting out before the bank-run starts?

And as the bail ins start, just who will lend to NZ?

At least we're far better of than the poor benighted Icelanders where ironically enough they're experiening another housing bubble only four years after their economy melted down. Consequences of following IMF prescriptions.
Imagine the economic bloodbath the will follow when the Icelandic government removes its capital controls. Both mobile domestic wealth and foreign investment will flee. The banking system will collapse, its exchange rate will nosedive,  the government will have to flog off their key industries like energy and fishing which up until now must be owned by Icelanders in order to honor their financial obligations,  financiers will loot depositors with the misfortune of moving their funds to late,, and the remaining financial assets will be bought at a steep discount by foreign vulture funds. All the while Icelanders living standards will decline in real terms even if there is a rebound in GDP, because their loans are indexed to either CPI or foreign exchange rates. Iceland is an untenable position.

stealth OBR in all but name.....

Why can't we just regard this the same as we would regard "foreign buyers snapping up NZ made whiteware" and just get on with building freakin' houses?

Snapping up NZ made whiteware ?
Read Stephen Hulme - He's right - They are not looking for consumables, they are looking for a proxy for a bank, somewhere to park their loot. Anywhere but a bank. They don't want to be the "last-man-standing" holding the baby or the time-bomb
Build more and they will just buy more. Build as many as you like. Won't matter.