The Unitary Plan - What does it mean for Aucklanders?
12 Oct 2016
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, spans across almost 500,000 hectares and is home to a third of the country’s population. As Auckland’s population heads towards 2 million, the growing demand for employment, services and housing will continue to rise, which is why the Unitary Plan is critical to the social and economic well-being of our people and communities.
The Unitary Plan is the new overall planning document for the Auckland region. It replaces the district plans of the eight old Auckland councils, and work started on it shortly after the super city was created in 2010. It will be the rule book for zoning, heritage protection, the metropolitan urban limit, the port, and protecting view shafts. This new housing plan for Auckland has at most, upheld the Auckland Council’s vision of a compact urban centre, that will for a majority of the proposed sections zoned for development, build up rather than out.
The NZ Government has on multiple occasions pointed towards poor urban planning, as the main reason for Auckland’s major housing shortage and the driving factor to why the Unitary Plan was recently passed. 60 – 70 percent of the development will be within the metropolitan urban limits and around transport hubs for easy access to the city. One of the main points of concern raised by the public is the transport issues which is already problematic throughout the urban centres.
With Auckland now having a single set of planning rules to manage the city’s future growth, the unitary plan will be able to provide solutions to these areas of concern and at the same time provide more housing and infrastructure that will be balanced with the protection of Auckland’s heritage and natural environments.
Key decisions made by the council means the new Auckland Unitary Plan will deliver for the following:
• More than 400,000 new residential homes to meet the demands of Auckland’s growth over the next 30 years.
• Expansion of the Rural Urban Boundary to open up more new land for development as the city grows, with flexibility to move the boundary.
• A more compact city with opportunities to build more homes in the existing urban area of two to three stories, and up to six stories close to town centres and transport hubs.
• A focus on high-quality urban design, including the requirement for a resource consent for more than three dwellings on a site that complies with urban design rules and a minimum size for apartments.
• Protection of our historic heritage with approximately 120 additional historic places scheduled, as well as the retention of protection of 74 volcanic view shafts.
• Managing our rural areas so that rural activity are the primary focus.
However, what does this really mean for Aucklanders?
The Unitary Plan basically gives Aucklanders the opportunity to afford housing in a market that has only grown in demand and has lacked for many years in supply.
For example, if you are renting, the Unitary Plan has now given you more opportunities to buy affordable homes in the future with the expansion of a more compact, apartment lifestyle living close to the central city. This opens the door to the property ladder by being able to afford a property, that is somewhat smaller but more centralised with close access to public transport in comparison to renting for longer to save for a bigger house deposit.
If you are an investor, then if you currently own land or are purchasing land, it could mean that new zoned expansion of the Rural Urban Boundary has opened up new regulations that you may benefit from in terms of development. The new zoning and regulations could allow land that was previously unable to be subdivided to the opportunity of selling off land to make more money for other investments.
And lastly, if you are already lucky enough to be a proud home owner here in Auckland, a subdivision may now be allowed if your property is zoned in the appropriate area, which can potentially drive up the value of your house.
The best way to analyse how the value of your property could be affected is to get an Automated Valuation of the property. myvalocity offers iVals, which are estimated valuations based on an algorithm consisting of comparable sales to your home in the local area at the time of valuation, recent sales, local sales and other variables, that help you gauge what your local market movement is and how much your property is estimated at, based on the computer-generated valuation.