Could New Zealand’s radical new housing law help Canada curb its skyrocketing real estate prices?
A radical new law intended to reduce New Zealand’s infamous housing crunch could well be a model for how Canada could curb its ever-skyrocketing real estate prices, according to experts contacted by the National Post.
This week, in a rare bipartisan action, the New Zealand government introduced measures to quash “overly restrictive planning rules” that hinder development in urban cores.
New Zealanders may now develop up to 50 per cent of their land — and build up to three storeys — without requiring consent from municipal authorities. The reforms also unleash landowners to build up to three homes per lot in areas that previously restricted those lots to one or two homes.
While the measures do not mandate development of existing homes, they mean that New Zealanders now have much more freedom to build on their land without butting up against municipal planning laws. A similar law applied to Vancouver and Toronto, for instance, would automatically free builders from the need to seek local approval for a laneway house.
A government-commissioned analysis by Pricewaterhouse Coopers has estimated that the new measures will spur a building boom expected to add between 48,200 and 105,500 new units of housing in New Zealand by the end of the decade.
“I think reforms like this would likely help increase Canadian housing stock quite a bit,” Nathanael Lauster, a housing density researcher at the University of British Columbia, told the Post.