Government legislation permitting more urban housing density is causing controversy on the Hibiscus Coast.
However, while people might imagine local real estate agents would be over the moon at the thought of more property to sell, that is not necessarily the case.
Barfoot & Thompson Whangaparāoa manager, Mark Holliday, says that, in his opinion, the new zoning designations will not be a change for the better in the long term, for Whangaparāoa Peninsula and its residents.
“High density housing works when purpose designed from scratch in new developments,” Holliday says. “However, infill housing of this density overlaid into the existing housing areas is fraught with negative outcomes for the amenity, character and desirability of the neighbourhoods.”
He says there will be undesirable effects on privacy, sunlight, noise, vehicle movements, and property values when higher density housing is built next door.
“There will obviously be some short term beneficiaries of this, whereby property owners can develop their front and backyards with additional buildings, or redevelop the entire site into even higher density by removing the existing house. The financial gains that they may extract ultimately come at the expense of the neighbouring properties, until they also develop in a similar fashion.”
Holliday says government needs to review this proposal with more emphasis on appropriate town planning.
“Obviously, this new zoning takes no account of this area’s already overloaded infrastructure and roading. How will our suburbs and lifestyles look like in the years ahead?”
Meanwhile, real estate Janne Adams of Bayleys is more optimistic. She points out that the zone changes by themselves will not cause an overnight transformation of neighbourhoods, but to expect pockets of development over time.
“Intensification would need a property to be owned by someone who is willing to undertake development, which Bayleys believes will only be a small portion of owners,” she says.