Smith confident in Auckland housing turn-around

Smith confident in Auckland housing turn-around

Housing Minister Nick Smith says he can cut Auckland's housing shortfall by the next election.

That figure is currently 32,000 thousand, but in its latest report the Productivity Commission expects it to grow to 60,000 by 2020.

Dr Smith is in confident mood, telling The Nation Auckland housing is a challenge not a crisis – a challenge not affected by foreign investors.

"All the advice that we are getting from whether it be the Treasury, whether it be the Reserve Bank, whether it be the Productivity Commission or whether it be my own ministry, is that they're not having a significant effect," says Dr Smith.

Begging the question: If the figure of 30 percent based on that Labour Party list of surnames of homebuyers minus the number of Chinese living in Auckland is not accurate, what is the real figure?

"There are 25,000 out of New Zealand, non-residents claiming either deductions from renting a house or income from renting houses. So that's about 1.2 percent of the total housing stock."

Thirty percent to 1.2 percent, the IRD will begin to narrow it down when it collects the data through bank details in October. Only, don't tell Dr Smith that amounts to a register.

"I'm saying the legislation that we provided for in the Budget, that makes sure that people who are investing in property is paying their fair tax. No, it's not a register.

But this morning an iwi leader called for another solution – a total ban on foreigners buying land here.

"If there's an issue with foreign ownership then change the policy, change the policy," says Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon. "If I go to China, can I buy land? No. I think we should [change the policy]."

The Housing Minister accepts the Auckland housing market is overheated. After all, prices are going up by $3000 a week. But, based on success in homebuilding in Christchurch, Dr Smith appears confident supply in Auckland will outstrip demand within the next two years.

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