The availability of secure, healthy and affordable housing is important to the health and well-being of Aucklanders. Understanding land and housing markets is also important to managing population and business growth in Auckland.
A newly published report, Arrested (re)development? A study of cross lease and unit titles in Auckland is available on Knowledge Auckland. The report explores cross lease and unit titles in Auckland, and their potential effects on intensification and redevelopment in New Zealand's largest city.
This article provides a summary of the report.
1. There are many cross lease and unit tiles in Auckland
Close to one-third of all titles in Auckland are multi-owned, either being cross lease (18 per cent) or unit titles (13 per cent). As at March 2016 there were 175,524 cross lease titles and 75,376 unit titles in Auckland. Nearly a half of New Zealand’s cross lease titles (47 per cent) and unit titles (53 per cent) are in Auckland.
2. Land under cross lease and unit titles is zoned for higher-densities
Over fourth-fifths (81 per cent) of parcels associated with cross lease or unit titles are zoned to allow higher-density residential in the Auckland Unitary Plan and around 44 per cent of those titles have dwellings that were built in the 1970s or earlier. Many of these dwellings could be nearing the end of their physical or economic life, and with their zoning permitting higher-density development, the ability of many of them to be redeveloped is severely restricted, primarily due the complicated nature of their ownership.
3. Insights from experts
Experts who deal with cross lease titles all commented that new cross leases were rare. Relating to cross leases, research participants commented on issues including:
- incorrect flat plans and problems related to renovations
- relationships between co-lessees
- the costs related to and the management of cross lease properties
- the general lack of understanding about how cross lease agreements work.
Fewer, but similar observations were made by the participants about unit titles.
4. Intensification through redevelopment?
Despite the Auckland Unitary Plan enabling increased residential densities, a number of obstacles exist that may limit the city’s ability to intensify in existing urban areas. Auckland has a large number of cross lease title and unit title properties in its urban area, and many are in locations that have been identified for intensification. Cross lease and unit titles, and their complicated ownership structures, may limit redevelopment
Research purpose and method
A study into cross lease and unit titles was initiated in order to understand the quantum and nature of these title types in Auckland and their potential impacts on future (re)development. The project was undertaken in two phases. The first sought to identify the location, nature, and form of properties and dwellings associated with cross lease titles and unit titles through the analysis of spatial data sets. The second phase comprised interviews with relevant professionals to better understand the drivers and influences that cross lease titles or unit titles have on the potential redevelopment of properties.
Increased density in already urbanised areas of Auckland will be required to reach the goals of a compact city set out in the Auckland Plan, and will require a significant level of redevelopment and intensification. However, the presence of multi-owned properties across the city presents a barrier to redevelopment. In this regard, cross lease title and unit title properties are the most prevalent type of multi-owned property in Auckland, with these two title types accounting for 31 per cent of all titles in Auckland. Over fourth-fifths (81 per cent) of parcels associated with cross lease titles or unit titles are zoned to allow higher-density residential in the Auckland Unitary Plan (decisions version) and approximately 44 per cent of those titles have dwellings that were built in the 1970s or earlier. Many of these dwellings could be nearing the end of their physical or economic life, and with the zoning of these properties allowing higher-density development, the ability of many of them to be redeveloped is severely restricted, primarily due the complicated nature of their ownership.
For more information:
Craig Fredrickson, Researcher, Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU), Auckland Council. firstname.lastname@example.org