West Auckland’s Rezoning

Despite the widespread fear in late March 2020 that the Covid 19 pandemic would result in a very cool real estate market, bankruptcies, job losses and mortgagee sales, the complete opposite has happened. Now there is a serious shortage of real estate listings available for sale across West Auckland and most of New Zealand. The net effect has been rapidly rising house prices and fierce competition at auctions, often between three types of groups: first home buyers, property investors and the developers.

The investors are snatching up existing residential dwellings, whilst also eyeballing the commercial sector due to heavy and costly obligations imposed on residential tenancies. The developers are not interested in your house. They want your flat-ish land. Preferably without any native trees on it. We all know our poor first home buyers are being left in the cold in every regard.

Affordable housing is an idea, not the reality. While on the one hand the government is heavily taxing property investors who sell under 10 years of ownership (the Brightline rule), the government’s plan for intensification under its National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development is aimed at high growth and encouraging private sector developers to buy up and rapidly develop land into high density housing via a relaxation of the building application and consent process and significant changes to Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan. Under the NPS, Auckland Council will be more responsive to developers wanting to add significant numbers of new homes near transport corridors. Homes and neighbourhoods can be rezoned to “apartment zones” (being blocks of at least six stories) and will be permitted in areas that are a 10-minute walk from every train station on the Western, Southern and Eastern rail line.

For us, that is the Swanson and Ranui stations and any land in short proximity of those stations. The value of land in these areas is set to become worth much more than today. Vendors would be wise not to sign up at the first knock on the door because the offer appears, on its face, to be a great one. Get it checked.

Let’s face it: all of this is rapidly changing the landscape of West Auckland - forever wiping out the fondly held “¼ acre” ideal of home ownership of a bygone era. While some are happy about this, of course others are not and fair enough. Progress is progress some say, but is it? Should the public be well informed of these changes and have knowledge of a due process, or should this happen without consultation?

Understandably more housing is needed in West Auckland, but not everyone wants to live in, or look at, a shoe box stacked high where orchards used to be. What about infrastructure such as parking and schools? As members of a strong local community, you do have a voice. Email the Editor if you are not happy and let’s talk about it. This article is the first in a series where we review the current situation, including changes to the sales techniques of real estate agents and what you can, and should, do before signing up an offer you receive from a door knocking buyer/agent; a review of the changes to the Unitary Plan and the potential for the development of very high-rise apartment blocks in our Swanson and Ranui neighbourhoods. Next time: why you shouldn’t take the first offer made by a door knocker and what to do before you sign up.

This article was written by Gina Jansen, Managing Director of Gina Jansen Lawyers Ltd, and was reproduced in the West Auckland publication “Window on Swanson” in August 2021. Disclaimer: the content is not to be reprinted without the express permission of the author, nor is it intended to be relied upon or quoted as legal advice. Contact Gina Jansen Lawyers for legal advice.

Gina Jansen Lawyers are based at 9C Moselle Ave, Henderson, West Auckland but provide nationwide legal services with offices by appointment in Raglan and Ngaruawahia in the Waikato. Gina Jansen is an Accredited Specialist of the Property Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society. The above article is not legal and/or financial advice and is intended as a guide only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Legal advice specific to your circumstances should always be obtained. Our legal services include: property, conveyancing, trusts, estate administration, wills and enduring powers of attorney, relationship property settlements, divorce, Inland Revenue tax debts and disputes, bankruptcy, liquidation, commercial and business law. We welcome enquiries by phone or email.  We can provide referrals to a highly recommended group of chartered accountants, insurance brokers, financial advisers, mortgage brokers. Contact us for details by phone on 09 8695820, 0800 544508,  or refer to our website