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Mini Cities: Auckland’s Housing Boom

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Auckland’s red-hot property market continues to grow. New Zealand’s largest city is getting ready for a new housing boom, that will see suburban towns like Kumeu, Warkworth and Pukekohe, become mini cities in their own right. As housing values rise across Auckland’s inner city, buyers are now heading to the rural fringes.

These suburban areas are in need of proper infrastructure, not just to house more people, but to allow residents to live and work in their own area, and avoid having to rely entirely on their proximity to the busy city centre. Auckland Council have considered a report to allow 120,000 new homes to be built in the north, north-west and south of the city. A 30-year plan has been laid out, which includes new transport facilities, parks and community facilities. Some of the infrastructure will be built on ‘greenfield’ sites, which means rural land will be turned into housing. These developments are all part of The Unitary Plan, which has increased land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha.

The overall goal is to ensure there is enough space for residential development, as well as other infrastructure, such as schools and transport. In Kumeu and Huapai, the council plans to build 1,400 new homes and potentially run diesel trains to Huapai, as an alternative to having to travel on the state highway 16. These plans are great news for the rural towns, as the new infrastructure will help grow their communities and keep up with the big cities, like Hamilton and Tauranga, which have experienced rapid growth in recent years, at almost double the rate of Auckland. Also, with the new housing and infrastructure, it will attract more residents to the towns and people who might want to invest in the facilities there. 

The council also plans to build new homes in any many small community settlements, like Hatfields Beach, Maraetai and Albany Village. But before the infrastructure can be built, efficient wastewater solutions need to be developed. An example of this is a new wastewater plant planned to be built at Snells Beach, which will service Warkworth North. The development is expected to take around five-to-six years. There is also expected to be road upgrades and motorway development, to ensure for better connection to the town centre. There is a strong need for greater efficiency and convenience, which these rural towns currently lack. So, wastewater infrastructure will be able to provide better service to the living areas when new homes are built. Areas such as Maraetai and Algies Bay are also due for wastewater upgrades to be able to properly accommodate growth from the new housing.

With all the issue surrounding Auckland’s housing situation, the new plans and developments for its rural areas will provide some welcome relief. As the city’s population continues to grow, it makes sense to start looking at what we can do in the rural towns and settlements to not only sustain the capacity, but to lessen the intensity of the so-called housing bubble. In the end, many areas have been brought forward for new housing, and while they won’t all be developed on simultaneously, we can expect to see these new mini, satellite cities play a huge part in the changing residential landscape here in New Zealand.

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