Update from Alex

30 October 2015

Member newsletter – October 2015

Let's not ask 'why', but 'why not?'

The residential market is humming, and I have a big smile on my face.

The last few months have seen a leap in residential activity - both in terms of opportunities to develop and build, as well as access to information and resources to support doing it well.

Auckland Council's new development agency, Panuku Development Auckland, officially opened in early September – it was created by merging Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Property Ltd.

Community Housing Aotearoa, along with the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development and Auckland Council, has launched Making Affordable Homes Happen, a new web portal to bring together information relating to delivering affordable housing in Auckland. The Property Council has launched its Residential Development Council, combining leadership and advocacy to deliver 'sustainable' residential development and investment. (I'm tempted to highlight use of the word 'sustainable'.)

Although we take issue with some of its analysis and conclusions, the Productivity Commission has launched its final report Land for Housing - intensifying yet further the focus on New Zealand's many pressing housing issues.

And of course, on 12 November we will launch our updated Homestar v3 which has been adapted for apartments and multi-unit developments. We are immensely grateful to our two Homestar v3 sponsors, Willis Bond & Co and Ockham Residential – two leaders in sustainable residential development.

The information, resources and opportunities available to design and construct affordable sustainable housing are abundant. There is also a growing impetus to shift our collective thinking to plan more sustainable communities. (We've recently been asked for guidance on the plethora of communities tools and how to differentiate between them – but that's for another newsletter...)

And finally, the reason for my smile... At the end of 2014, we had around 550 dwellings on our books targeting a Homestar rating. I've just been informed the current figure is 2,534. That is a very concrete signal the market is at last shifting.

As one of our property developer members in Christchurch said last week, the question is no longer 'why?', but 'why not?'