Nel­son land in a few hands

Nelson Mail - - News - Cherie Sivi­gnon cherie.sivi­[email protected]

Just 10 peo­ple or com­pa­nies own al­most two-thirds of the un­de­vel­oped res­i­den­tial-zoned land in the Nel­son-Rich­mond area, a gov­ern­ment in­di­ca­tor re­veals.

The land own­er­ship con­cen­tra­tion in­di­ca­tor from the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment (MBIE) shows that those 10 peo­ple or com­pa­nies own close to 65 per cent of the un­de­vel­oped res­i­den­tial-zoned land in the ‘‘Nel­son Ur­ban Area’’, which in­cludes most of Nel­son city, Rich­mond, Aniseed Hill, Bell Is­land, Best Is­land, Hope and Ran­zau.

‘‘[It] is some­thing that we have sus­pected for some time,’’ Tas­man District Coun­cil pol­icy plan­ner Jac­qui Deans last week told the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment and plan­ning com­mit­tee.

In a re­port, Deans says the Nel­son Ur­ban Area is in the top three ar­eas na­tion­ally for the amount of land be­ing held by a small num­ber of own­ers, along with Napier and Hamil­ton.

The in­di­ca­tor is an at­tempt to de­scribe how close to a monopoly a par­tic­u­lar area op­er­ates in with re­gard to the own­er­ship of un­de­vel­oped land, Deans says.

A ta­ble on the MBIE web­site shows that of the 10 big­gest land own­er­ships, the largest hold­ing is 99.3ha, or 20.3 per cent of the mar­ket share. The ta­ble lists the con­trol­ling en­tity as K B Quar­ries Ltd. The New Zealand Com­pa­nies Of­fice web­site on Wed­nes­day listed Kevin Richard Blair and Ju­dith Ann Blair, of Christchurch, as the di­rec­tors and share­hold­ers of K B Quar­ries Ltd.

The MBIE ta­ble has Nel­son City Coun­cil as the con­trol­ling en­tity for the third-largest hold­ing of un­de­vel­oped res­i­den­tially zoned land, at 35.1ha, or 7.2 per cent of the mar­ket share.

The small­est of the top 10 is 11.6ha, or 2.4 per cent of the mar­ket share, with the con­trol­ling en­tity listed as St Leger Group Ltd.

In her re­port, Deans says the source data shows that the top nine landown­ers are in Nel­son, with just the 10th-ranked par­cel in Rich­mond.

‘‘Pre­sum­ably the other large landown­ers in Rich­mond do not own res­i­den­tially-zoned un­de­vel­oped land that is large enough to fea­ture in this top-10 rank­ing,’’ she says.

The in­for­ma­tion is con­tained in the Nel­son-Tas­man mon­i­tor­ing re­port for April to June un­der the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment on Ur­ban Devel­op­ment Ca­pac­ity. It is the fifth such mon­i­tor­ing re­port, and was pro­duced jointly by the Tas­man district and Nel­son city coun­cils.

The mon­i­tor­ing re­port says that since 2016, con­sents for new dwellings in Nel­son do not ap­pear to have been keep­ing up with house­hold growth.

‘‘De­spite Tas­man’s in­crease in new dwellings ex­ceed­ing house­hold growth in the re­gion . . . an ap­par­ent over­all un­der­sup­ply in the com­bined Nel­son-Tas­man mar­ket could be one con­trib­u­tor to the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in house prices in the last two years,’’ the re­port says.

The ap­par­ent short­age of new hous­ing in Nel­son is de­spite an es­ti­mated nine years’ worth of avail­able dwelling ca­pac­ity. ‘‘This is land that is zoned, ser­viced or planned to be ser­viced, and fea­si­ble for res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment,’’ the re­port says.

It goes on to out­line ‘‘mar­ket dy­nam­ics’’ that af­fect the sup­ply of af­ford­able hous­ing, in­clud­ing the cost of in­fra­struc­ture, fi­nance pack­ages for low-in­come home own­ers, the mar­ket’s lim­ited pro­vi­sion of smaller hous­ing, build­ing costs, and the tim­ing of the re­lease of land by de­vel­op­ers and own­ers.

The me­dian sale price for the year ended June 2018 was $503,250 in Nel­son and $556,500 in Tas­man. Prices were in­creas­ing, but not as steeply as they were in 2016-17, Deans told coun­cil­lors.

The me­dian sale price for the year ended June 2017 was $457,777 in Nel­son and $519,753 in Tas­man, ac­cord­ing to an ear­lier mon­i­tor­ing re­port.

‘‘Poor hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity con­tin­ues to be a theme for both Nel­son and Tas­man, still the third-least af­ford­able re­gion in the coun­try,’’ Deans says in her re­port.

The Massey Home Af­ford­abil­ity In­dex, up­dated in June 2018, shows a 1.7 per cent de­cline in af­ford­abil­ity in the past three months.

Cr Dana Wens­ley said there were prob­lems with land bank­ing.

An­other MBIE in­di­ca­tor, the price-cost ra­tio, shows the gap be­tween house prices and con­struc­tion costs for stand-alone dwellings – the cost of the land. The price-cost ra­tio is 1.5 when the cost of a sec­tion is one-third of the house price, and that ra­tio is used as a bench­mark for as­sess­ment. If suf­fi­cient devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist, the ra­tio should be be­low 1.5 most of the time.

The lat­est 2017 ra­tio for the Nel­son Ur­ban Area of 1.55 puts it just above the ‘‘ac­cept­able’’ thresh­old for sup­ply of land.

‘‘How­ever, it is also noted that the ra­tio has risen dur­ing a time which co­in­cides with na­tion­ally high house prices, and de­mand for hous­ing.

‘‘The fact that the ra­tio is in­creas­ing may ex­plain why de­vel­op­ers and/or build­ing com­pa­nies are build­ing rel­a­tively large, ex­pen­sive homes –since the land value is in­creas­ing, the cap­i­tal value has to also be rel­a­tively high to make the devel­op­ment vi­able for the de­vel­oper,’’ the mon­i­tor­ing re­port says.

The Nel­son Ur­ban Area is in the top three ar­eas na­tion­ally for the amount of land be­ing held by a small num­ber of own­ers, along with Napier and Hamil­ton.

MAR­TIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

There’s an ap­par­ent un­der­sup­ply of new homes in the over­all com­bined Nel­son-Tas­man mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

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