Published 10 September 2018
The Roskill South component of the Mt Roskill regeneration project began a year ago and will see 260 old state houses replaced by about 900 new homes. Housing Minister Phil Twyford caught an update on the project yesterday, on completion of the first new homes.
Image above: Regeneration beside the Freeland Reserve, at the foot of Puketapapa (Mt Roskill).
Housing NZ intends to replace the old state houses with 302 new state houses and 578 houses destined for private ownership over the next 6 years. Some will be sold on the open market and the others categorised as “affordable” and included in the Government’s KiwiBuild programme.
Roskill South stage 1 will see 25 state houses removed (some gone already) and 80 built over the next 2 years on a total 1.3ha. At a land value of about $1200/m² (an HLC guide on costs), section prices can be reduced below $200,000. At $2500/m² for construction, a 160m² house can be built for $400,000. Note: Those are rough & general calculations. Costs & prices will vary across the development, and new laneways will be introduced.
Mr Twyford said of the intensification, that the KiwiBuild programme “will help us build our way out of the housing crisis. Most wash their face through redevelopment of the land. We’re taking advantage of the Housing NZ balance sheet – we’re not expecting to need to use the Government balance sheet.”
In his one reference to the imminent advent of urban development authorities, Mr Twyford said the Auckland authority “is going to be leading up to a dozen state housing projects throughout Auckland”, but housing was only one part of that equation: “We’re planning a system for infrastructure,” he added.
Roskill South stage 2
In the second, 5ha stage of Roskill South, house removal & demolition will start this year, about 90 old state houses will go, and 300 new homes will be built, including 50-60 state houses.
The balance of 240 new homes will be aimed at the open market, including a proportion of cheaper homes.
Overall Mt Roskill project
The Mt Roskill project is initially targeting Roskill South and the nearby suburb of Owairaka, most famous for its production of world-beating athletes in the 1960s, led by Murray Halberg & trained by Arthur Lydiard. Regeneration in other neighbourhoods is being considered over the 10-15 years of the project.
The area has 3000 state houses spread over 143ha (21/ha), to be replaced by about 10,000 homes at 70/ha. The current plan, according to Mr Twyford, totals 8400 – 2400 state houses, 3000 each of open-market & affordable homes to be marketed.
Under the Auckland housing programme, the Government’s target is to deliver almost 11,000 new state houses and over 12,600 new market homes in Auckland over the next 10 years, including cheaper homes under the Government’s KiwiBuild scheme.
While the focus has been on getting more houses built, and replacing old stock with warmer homes, Roskill MP Michael Wood said it was also about building communities.
That’s one reason for the mix of ownership – retaining a high percentage of rentals, adding first-homebuyers through KiwiBuild and including houses built for the open market.
Mr Wood’s predecessor as local MP, mayor Phil Goff, said Auckland’s current build rate was about 12,850 homes/year, and intensification meant 69% of them would be built in brownfield areas (existing suburbs), not in greenfields: “That means we are doing what we intended. Bring on light rail.”
As for the old drainage reserves, Mr Goff said they’d be transformed: “This [Freeland Reserve beside the new house the minister was being shown] will be a place for the community to congregate, with open streams instead of drains.”
Mr Goff was also pleased the commitment was made to tenants moving out to make way for the redevelopment, to be prioritised as residents of the new-builds, either as tenants or buyers. Gentrification [introducing higher-income residents in more expensive homes] was a concern Mr Twyford expressed when he visited the Mangere regeneration project, and Mr Goff commented: “We don’t want to gentrify.”
Mr Twyford reiterated his concern too: “These big urban development schemes are not simply a turbo-charged gentrification – the last thing we want to do is drive up the price of land and drive people out. We’re going to make sure the people who live in this community are at the head of the list to buy these new homes. People who move out will have the right to move back in.”
4 replacing 1
Housing NZ’s asset development group general manager, Patrick Dougherty, was developing apartments before he moved to the corporation 6 years ago. He said Housing NZ would add 6400 homes over the next 4 years, and planned to increase its portfolio by 16,000 over 10 years.
The intensification is evident in Roskill South. On 12 sections there where houses had been removed, Mr Dougherty said 45 new ones would be built: “And they’ll still have a tree at the back and a private yard.”
Housing NZ hiring overseas
One drawback is the shortage of appropriate construction workers. Mr Dougherty said Housing NZ had 2300 applications in the UK & South Africa when it went looking for development & project managers and quantity surveyors over winter. After interviews in London, 18 of the top 30 had been confirmed and should start arriving next month.
“We’re also recruiting here – 13 joined the asset development group last week.”
Price remains an issue
Mr Twyford addressed the continuing concern that intending to build more homes is fine, but Auckland is an expensive – $1 million-plus – city. In those circumstances, he said a $600,000 new home was “relatively affordable”. But, he added, “We know a $5-600,000 mortgage is not affordable. That’s why we’re introducing shared equity and reforming the rental laws.
“The $650,000 top of the KiwiBuild range is not a target, it’s a maximum. The first KiwiBuild homes at McLennan, Papakura, with 3 bedrooms, are selling for $579,000, way short of that price cap.
“We’re taking land built on in the 1950s-60s, retaining the number of state houses in the community but, through good urban design & modern architecture, we’re building better communities, using the land much more efficiently.”
Related story today:
Roskill South: a small window on a growing regeneration programme
Related stories, 16 July 2018:
Putting change in context
Robertson outlines focus shift from GDP measure to wellbeing
Demolition starts on Mangere regeneration project
Finance minister calls Productivity Commission in to examine local body funding
Attribution: Site visit, Housing NZ & HLC websites.