Insider, August 7, 2023, America, take note: New Zealand has figured out a simple way to bring down home prices
Home prices in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, doubled between 2009 and 2016 and prices across the rest of the country followed close behind. People even began to pay hundreds of dollars a month to rent garages in Auckland without bathrooms or kitchens.
In the face of this growing problem, the city decided to act. A law passed in 2016 allowed for “gentle density” — making it legal to build duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes on single-home lots. The policy tripled the city’s housing capacity. Between 2015 and 2020, researchers found that new housing units permitted in the city grew from 6,000 to more than 14,300. Auckland went from mostly single-family homes to a much denser mix of multiunit homes and attached single-unit buildings. In a 2021 research paper, Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy, the director of the Economic Policy Center at the University of Auckland, found that Auckland’s policy succeeded in its twin goals of boosting supply and increasing density.