Unpicking the construction development pipeline: a community housing provider perspective

Jennifer L R Joynt
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

From the executive summary:

The Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU) at Auckland Council collaborated with the Centre for Research, Evaluation and Social Assessment (CRESA) to investigate the pipeline of decision-making in the construction and development industry and gain a better understanding of the pathways and dependencies influencing the delivery of affordable housing in New Zealand. This project is funded under the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge 11 programme; Strategic Research Area 6, Improving the Architecture of Decision-Making.

Community housing providers (CHPs) are the focus of this project. The research aimed to unpick the construction development pipeline from their perspective and gain an understanding of the processes and systems that influence the delivery of affordable housing.

The research emerged from a wider discourse throughout New Zealand on the lack of housing considered ‘affordable’ to buy and rent. A ‘housing crisis’ has been declared in New Zealand, and there is a groundswell of political, academic and social commentary on finding a solution. While many strategies and policies have emerged from the crisis, i.e. KiwiBuild, the introduction of loan to value ratio requirements for borrowing and the restrictions on foreign investment, there is little evidence that the policies available to date have the potential to deliver the housing at a scale needed to address the affordability crisis.

Community housing is widely acknowledged in New Zealand as a solution for people caught in the intermediate housing market. Defined as households, with at least one person in paid employment, unable to affordably purchase a house at the lower quartile house sale price for the local authority area at standard bank lending conditions. The intermediate housing market includes the population that do not qualify for social housing support, while simultaneously being locked out of homeownership options. ...

Local council recommendations:

1. Investigate assigning CHPs a special status with the local authorities, providing access to a single point of contact for planning assistance and standardisation of fees.

2. Increase specialist capacity in the consent departments.

3. Investigate planning policy changes and alternative land tenure models, for example inclusionary zoning, retained affordable covenants and lease land options.

Central government recommendations:

1. Rebalance the liability risk for local councils and increase accountability for developers. For standard community housing templates, enable the use of new technology and prefabrication systems by rebalancing liability.

2. Ensure reforms in the RMA allow a reduction in bureaucracy and consider a more proportional statutory timeframe to reflect the complexity of large-scale development projects.

3. Support CHPs to meet their own objectives as well as the wider government goals, through the protection of capital grants and a less directive approach to their use.

4. Support assisted homeownership schemes, through incentivising banks or providing financial packages for shared homeownership directly from government.

5. Increase construction capacity and support construction efficiency through rebalancing of building liability risk.

Auckland Council technical report TR2019/007

Last updated: 2019-06-06


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