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Auckland economic quarterly, February 2020

David Norman, Shane Martin
Auckland Council Chief Economist Unit
Publication date:  

Rub of the green? Auckland’s urban boundary and land prices

  • Housing affordability remains a challenge for many in Auckland. Land use regulations such as the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) are often blamed.
  • But until now, no studies had looked at whether the RUB distorts land markets.
  • Pre-RUB studies also underestimated the cost of infrastructure to develop greenfield (or undeveloped) areas, and in some cases ignored the value of location or mis-attributed amenity value.
  • Our reviewed analysis shows the RUB accounts for at most between 0.6% and 5.2% of the price of the average developed residential property that has land and is inside the RUB.
  • But market prices do not include the social impacts of more expansive development on things like congestion, emissions, viability of public transport and optimal use of existing infrastructure.
  • We should evaluate whether these social impacts justify the RUB before bold recommendations are made on the RUB’s future. ...

February 2020