Tasman signs housing accord

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Housing in the Tasman district should become more affordable after Building and Housing Minister and Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith and Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne signed a housing accord at Olive Estate in Richmond on Friday.

“The problems in Tasman with housing affordability and ownership are not as acute as Auckland but still require action,” Nick says. “Tasman is growing, with young families and retirees moving into the area and requiring quality, affordable homes.

“Home ownership has declined from 76.4 per cent in 2001, to 75.8 per cent in 2006, and now down to 75 per cent. The standard international housing affordability measure is the ratio of house price to income.

“In Tasman it is currently 7.7 – more than double the definition of affordable at 3. This problem is long-standing and needs a long-term solution to make housing affordable for the average family,” Nick says.

“The government and the council agree that Tasman requires a tailored solution, and a collaborative approach is needed to improve the district’s housing challenge.

“The Accord signed today provides the basis for the government and Tasman District Council to work together to clear the red tape for developers and to free up land faster, so that we can see more affordable houses being built at a quicker pace. The Accord sets a target of an additional 620 homes and 260 sections over the next two years, an increase of 17 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.”

The Accord documents the government and council’s shared commitment to enable a mix of housing types, including more affordable homes and encourage developers to prepare their land and build houses at pace. It also increases developer confidence in the council to encourage a more collaborative approach between the two parties that results in a commitment to bring a continuous supply of land and houses to the market over the long term.

“I commend the Tasman District Council on the work that has gone into the Accord agreed today. This is an important step forward in improving housing supply and affordability in the region and I look forward to seeing the progress over the coming months,” Nick says.

“This Accord continues the progress the Government is making on addressing New Zealand’s housing challenge. It is the seventh Accord we have agreed with local councils to date, after Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty and Queenstown Lakes.

“A key goal is increasing the affordability of homes and this is to be achieved by both facilitating easier consenting and growing demand. This Accord needs to be considered alongside the new HomeStart scheme, which provides grants of up to $20,000 for a new home priced under $450,000.

Nick says 850 HomeStart grants are expected to be available in Tasman over the next five years.”

Nick says work on concluding a parallel Accord with the Nelson City Council is advancing well and would be announced next month.

“The next steps in our programme of work include our planned second phase of reforms to the Resource Management Act and the Building Act to reduce the compliance costs in developing new housing.”