29 Nov 2018
Infill housing: how it affects your property value

Are you up to speed with what’s affecting your residential property value? 

As many cities and towns across New Zealand experience housing shortages, we’re seeing an increase of infill housing which can directly affect the value of your property.

So what exactly is infill housing? This is defined as the construction of additional dwellings onto an existing residential site.

For example, a one-storey residential home being turned into a two-storey block of townhouses. Also known as subdivision and infill developments, infill housing is a way of maximising a residential property’s capacity.

The growth of infill developments in New Zealand

The current housing crisis has seen many cities in New Zealand push for more development of infill housing. According to Statistics NZ, in September 2018, over 32,000 new dwellings were given resource consent, a 5.4% increase from the year before. Auckland alone saw an increase of 25%.

Across many of the country’s major cities, councils are encouraging more intensive development to alleviate the housing shortage. Last year, Wellington’s city council announced a new housing reform with the goal of fixing Wellington’s housing shortage issues.

Among the solutions laid out in the reform plan were:

  • Increasing building heights
  • Allowing more site coverage
  • Incentivising affordable housing developments
  • Simplifying resource consents

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester strongly announced his support for major housing developments, saying “we’re going to be setting better standards and looking at changes to rating, procurement and development policies to incentivise more development.”

With cities like Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga facing similar situations, it’s clear that many residential property owners will be facing major changes happening around them.

What ways can infill housing affect your property?

This increase in residential developments affects everyone. As the demand for housing continues to increase, councils are responding by lowering the bar and making the consent process easier.

And as land becomes scarcer, the common solution is to build up. Many councils, such as Wellington, have increased the height of building restrictions, allowing for more two to three storey buildings in city suburbs.

As a residential property owner, neighbouring developments can directly affect the value of your home. In fact, valuers look at potential future developments as well as what’s currently neighbouring when valuing a property.

So what are some ways infill developments can affect the value of your property?

  • View obstruction. With many councils like Wellington now allowing for increased heights, many two and three storey developments in city suburbs are becoming more and more common. With higher buildings comes the reality that neighbouring properties’ views may be blocked or obstructed. Views can often be the selling point of a property so a loss of view can affect the value of a property.
  • Shading. The amount of sunlight that reaches your home can affect the value of your property. In fact, a recent study found that an extra daily hour of sunlight exposure is associated with a 2.4% increase in house sale price. As more residential developments continue to build up, surrounding properties could see their exposure to sunlight reduced.
  • Less parking. As more high-density housing developments are built, available street parking is likely to reduce. For example, resource consent was given for a new development in Mt Cook which featured four townhouses but only one car park. Just a few years ago, this kind of consent might not have been allowed.
  • Increased noise. If residential developments are being built around you, there is bound to be noise and disruption. While that may be temporary, there is the element of long-term noise increases from the road as more people live and drive in the area.

What can you do?

Land in New Zealand is becoming more and more of a commodity and developers are paying top dollar to secure a development site. As we’ve seen with Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton, residential developments are showing no signs of slowing down so it’s important to be aware of the changes that could happen around your property.

All things considered, it can be a confusing time and many homeowners may struggle to know where they stand.

If you’re worried about the value of your property being affected, the first step is to get informed. That way, you can know what your options are.

You might be able to dispute a nearby development, negotiate for a compromise or make changes to improve the value of your own property.

Here are two steps to help you find the right information:

1. Talk to a valuer. Property valuers not only offer advice and experience, but will be up to date with the latest changes that are affecting the property market and which may potentially impact the value of your property or the property you are contemplating buying.

The best thing you can do is talk to your local residential valuer. They can give you honest and independent assessments of property value as well as advise you on your options for maximising your property’s value.

2. Check your district plan. It’s worth reading over your local council’s district plan (such as Auckland Council’s) to find out what current and future developments could be happening around you. These provide information around zoning, planned developments and resource management.

It’s important to note that while there is a lot of information out there, it can often be hard to decipher for the average property owner. A qualified property valuer can provide an expert opinion so you can know where you stand and what your options are.

If you’re concerned about infill housing and how it may affect your property, or just want to know your options, talk to your local TelferYoung valuer today.