New Zealand Government Pressured For More Affordable Housing

Spurning options that lead to urban sprawl, academics and politicians in New Zealand are urging the government to address the shortages and to make so-called "social housing" more palatable.

" last month it took 73.5 per cent of the average take-home pay to afford a standard mortgage payment on a median-priced house. In January 2002, housing had only taken 40.3 per cent of take home pay."

"Massey University's quarterly home affordability series shows that buying a house is at its most difficult level since the studies began in February 1989."

"Some people are saying we can address the supply side of things by relaxing resource management constraints and allowing more subdivision out on the fringes, which equates to urban sprawl," says Massey's property studies professor Bob Hargreaves. "I'm not sure that's the answer. When I look at New Zealand cities and compare them with overseas cities, it seems to me that we've got huge potential in our existing cities to go more dense."

"The Green Party has called for a range of measures to address the housing crisis, including increasing housing density around Auckland's traffic corridors rather than ‘urban sprawl.'"

"The Government should be taking more responsibility for more plentiful, cheaper housing," says Green housing spokesperson Sue Bradford. "A rapid increase in the number of social housing units with income-related rents would take some of the heat out of the rental sector and make social housing more than just the housing of last resort that it has become."

"The party also called for a restriction on house sales to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, a capital gains tax on investment properties, and a review of the tax rules surrounding LAQCs (loss attributing qualifying companies)."

Full Story: Unattainable housing prompts calls for intervention

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