What the new online dashboard means for councils

A new Government online dashboard aims to give councils better insight into housing affordability by flagging supply and demand issues.

The ministry of business innovation and employment’s (MBIE) “Urban Development Capacity Dashboard” collates property rent and sale prices, the number of building consents relative to population growth, and the new Housing Affordability Measure.

It’s vital that councils plan to provide enough space for future residents and businesses, Di Anorpong, manager of construction and housing policy, says in the MBIE announcement.

“The dashboard will help councils monitor how they are progressing as part of a larger work programme that MBIE has been working on with the ministry for the environment to help our high-and-medium-growth councils deliver better urban planning,” Ms Anorpong says.

Government’s policy on urban development

new builds on rise in New Zealand in 2017

The ministry’s interactive tool supports the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.

The policy is designed to inform local authorities about the demand for housing and business development, urban development and outcomes. In order to do this, local authorities are required to monitor a range of measures on a quarterly basis, including:

  • Prices and rents for housing, residential land and business land by location and type; and changes in these prices and rents over time.
  • The number of resource consents and building consents granted for urban development relative to the growth in population; and
  • Indicators of housing affordability.

Local authorities are encouraged to publish the results of their monitoring.

Being able to see up-to-date land prices and development costs across a council area will give council planners a more realistic picture about whether a property development is likely to go ahead or not, Ms Anorpong says.

Councils have been trialing the online dashboard prior to the public release.

Property council welcomes new tool

Property council chief executive Connal Townsend believes the new Government tool will help provide national direction and leadership around land supply and intensification.

“New Zealand needs to work smarter in accommodating growth,” Mr Townsend says in a media release.

“The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity is essentially an active move by central Government to force councils to release land, and plan and manage their urban growth.”

“The release of land is one part of planning for growth, of equal importance is how we fund and provide the infrastructure like transport, schools and parks to create prosperous communities and cities,” he says.

Mr Townsend takes a swipe at Auckland regional council, saying its lack of growth planning is responsible for much of the city’s current housing crisis.

“We can’t have this situation repeated in other New Zealand cities that need to house a growing population,” he says.

Councils need to be proactive about population growth by understanding the supply and demand pressures, and respond by planning accordingly, Mr Townsend says.

Auckland house prices do appear to be easing – the Reserve Bank of New Zealand believes recent lending restrictions are a major contributing factor.

However, many New Zealanders have also said they are holding off buying property until the general elections on 23 September, according to a recent survey.

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