21 Sep 2018

'Houses we need at the prices they can afford'

6:36 pm on 21 September 2018

More than 7000 new houses will be built in Auckland's north-west thanks to a $339 million interest free government loan to Auckland Council.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The houses will be built on the semi-rural sections in Redhills and Whenuapai, close to the Westgate commercial centre, a short drive to the north-western motorway and the planned light rail line.

Phil Goff said that was perfect for housing.

"We're going to have rapid transit through here reasonably soon as well, which I think will help, close to amenities like Westgate and close to the beautiful environmental areas of the north and the west."

The loan is part of the Government's $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund and the money will be used to create new roads, storm water and sewerage systems, and bus and cycle ways.

Mr Goff said it showed the government-council partnership was having an impact.

"I think that we're starting to see some real inroads now into the housing crisis that we've had."

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said difficulty funding infrastructure had been one of the major roadblocks to building more houses in Auckland.

"Government will be doing everything it can to pull every lever available to it to increase the supply of housing and build the kinds of houses we need at the prices they can afford in the places they want to live."

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said while it was good to see the money - a whole lot more was needed to make a meaningful difference.

"Biggest concern is, what is it going to do - is it going to do enough? We're billions of dollars short of money for infrastructure and we get $300m. It's only a pimple on a pumpkin."

But on the upside, Mr Barnett said it was good to see the infrastructure being sorted before the houses go in

Infrastructure New Zealand's chief executive Stephen Selwood said any new houses in Auckland were a plus.

But, he would like to see developments concentrated in south Auckland to link up with existing rail and motorway networks.

"I would say it helps at the margins but, you know, when you're already 50,000 houses behind we should be building 15,000 homes a year now to keep up with demand."

Building company Universal Homes will be constructing about 1200 of the homes on the Redhills site.

Homeowners will pay between $650,000 and $890,000 - a lot less than the city's average price of more than $1m.

This is the ninth loan from the government's housing infrastructure fund - with one more still to come.