How do unitary plan changes impact property investment?

Man inside office, looking out window

While nothing is finalised yet, the Auckland Council has made some significant changes to the Unitary Plan that will interest anyone involved with the property market. If you haven't read about it yet, the Unitary Plan is a set of proposals to build a more compact Auckland, changing what can be constructed and where it can occur.

But at a recent February meeting, it eventuated that many councillors withdrew support for rezoning strategies in the plan, which would have allowed for construction of dwellings up to three stories in many central suburbs where this is currently prohibited. But what does this mean?

Locked out of heaven?

In a response to the meeting, the Property Council of New Zealand expressed disappointment. Phil Eaton, Auckland branch president of the council said that housing supply needed to be addressed, and this decision undercuts potential boosts to Auckland's housing stock.

"We need a wider range of housing choices to suit the changing demographic profile of Auckland over the next 15-20 years, including smaller homes in existing areas for both older and younger people," he stated.

Creating supply will be key to tempering the Auckland housing market and making growth sustainable, which will interest first home buyers and seasoned investors alike.

Specifics of the changes

Generation Zero was a group representing younger Aucklanders that spoke at the meeting, and they pointed out in a media release that only 6 per cent of Auckland would be zoned for three-storey apartment buildings if the changes were to go ahead.

Meanwhile, 78 per cent of the city would remain zoned for single storey developments only. With the Property Council adding that the equivalent of the population of Wellington will be added to Auckland in the next 15 years, supply will be key for coming generations of first home buyers, lest affordability pressures continue to keep them out of the market.

The council also added that we need 400,000 new homes in Auckland in the next 30 years, but the revised version of the plan only allows for some 95,000 dwellings.

With moves like this potentially harming affordability, new entrants to the Auckland housing market are going to need all the help they can get. At Squirrel, we're well-versed in helping people get on the property ladder. While it's difficult, it isn't impossible to secure new homes, either as owner-occupiers or investors.

Give us a call to see what you can achieve.