Lower consenting costs would help two housing issues: real estate boss

by NZ Adviser21 Apr 2017
Century 21 New Zealand national manager, Geoff Barnett has said politicians need to adopt a ‘renewed focus’ in the election on cutting costs associated with consenting. 

Although he appreciates consenting costs are not everything, he said reducing them significantly would help not only housing affordability but boost supply as well.   

“Adopting a whole new consenting regime or expectation at a national level could come in a number of forms, but let’s now have the debate on how this is best achieved,” said Barnett.

“Catch-phrases like cutting red tape will be in most parties’ manifestos. However, like many other Kiwis I want to see some real results in this area, not just more tinkering around the process.”

Although he recognises the government has made changes for the better around land supply, Barnett said costs around consenting new houses are too high and many time delays are ‘completely unacceptable’.  

“You hear horrific examples of RMA processes to get a subdivision through adding $60,000 to the cost of each new section. It’s certainly not uncommon for one new house to accumulate more than $30,000 in consenting costs, inspection fees, and then there’s development contributions.” 

He urges politicians and political parties to move beyond the predictable red-tape rhetoric and campaign on actual percentage or dollar value gains their policies would deliver for new home buyers. 

“The Reserve Bank’s LVR exemptions encourage more people to buy new homes. We now need our politicians to also enable and encourage more people into new homes. The huge regulatory costs lumped on new homes are by no means sorted. In fact, confronting this issue head on is more important than ever.”

He also said the intensification of urban Auckland should happen sooner rather than later, made achievable by the region’s unitary plan. 

“To me it seems most developers have so far opted to head to greenfield sites in north, west and south Auckland. This only loads more onto the region’s already struggling infrastructure. Somehow the council needs to encourage developers to put a more immediate focus on intensifying urban Auckland. That is where the more immediate housing need is and where a more sustainable solution can be delivered.”

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