25 Nov 2015

'Challenges' ahead for Auckland Housing Accord

7:24 pm on 25 November 2015

The Auckland Housing Accord is ahead of its two-year target by more than 1806 homes and sections.

While both Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Nick Smith said today it would be a "challenge" to reach its final target of 39,000 consents in the next year, they were still confident it could be done.

Housing Minister Nick Smith (left) and Auckland Mayor Len Brown, speaking about the latest Housing Accord update.

Housing Minister Nick Smith (left) and Auckland Mayor Len Brown, speaking about the latest Housing Accord update. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

So far 23,806 dwellings have been consented and sections created in the first two years of the agreement - 1806 more than the accord stipulated.

But 17,000 more consents were needed in the next 12 months to reach the accord's final target of 39,000.

"This is an excellent result two years in, and shows we are very much on track," said Mr Brown today.

Mr Smith agreed, but added: "I would not understate the challenges that we have in this third year. We are going to have to keep the foot on the accelerator to be able to achieve these goals."

Mr Smith said a shortage of skilled construction workers and strong migration to Auckland would add pressure to the building industry.

"It's partly a product of success - both New Zealand and Auckland is seen as a great place to live and that makes this housing job that we share more challenging," he said.

Part of a housing development in the Tamaki area in Auckland.

Part of a housing development in the Tamaki area in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Mr Smith did not know exactly how many homes had already been built in Special Housing Areas under the Auckland Housing Accord, but he said building consent figures were a reliable indication.

"There has been just over 1100 building consents issued in those special housing areas," he said.

'Totally dependent on private sector construction'

Mr Brown said one of the challenges was to ensure the construction sector kept up the pace in building new homes, once the consents had been issued.

"I'm confident we will get the consents in but we are totally dependent on the private sector construction industry taking those consents and finishing the build.

"We're growing at 45,000 people per annum so there is huge demand coming through, so I expect given the bow wave, reasonably confident expectations that we will achieve that target," he said.

Mr Brown said between 20 and 30 percent of the new homes being built in Special Housing Areas (SHAs) would be affordable homes with a selling price of no more than $550,000.

Mr Brown also admitted he was disappointed that the council had not tracked the number of completed homes built under the accord, but officials were working on that.

"I'm not pleased with the progress so far and we are looking for greater clarity on those outcomes. We need more comprehensive information on exactly the number of houses built in the Special Housing Areas and non-SHA areas," he said.

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