exploring solutions… www.PerformanceUrbanPlanning.org
Performance Urban Planning

This website is dedicated
to the memory of
“The fathers of affordable housing”



Former Fellow - Urban Development Institute of Australia

Former President –
Southern Division – Property Council of New Zealand

Co author – Annual
Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey


+64 3 343 9944
Christchurch, New Zealand

The Housing Bubble:
The Planner’s Role and Lessons Learned
| Planetizen

New Zealand Planners Support Demographia

Harvard JCHR Median Multiple Tables 1984 - 2006
(open … click tab … bottom page)


Planet of Cities by Shlomo (Solly) Angel

Housing Policy Matters
A Global Analysis

(Google Book Version)
Professor Shlomo (Solly) Angel

Sprawl - A Compact History(Google Book Version)
Professor Robert Bruegmann

The City: A Global History (Planetizen Podcast Review)
Joel Kotkin

Edge City:
Life on the New Frontier

Joel Garreau

Levittown: Expanding the American Dream
(Google Book Version) -

Parkinsons Law
C. Northcote Parkinson

The Freedoms of Suburbia Paul Barker

Generation Rent
Shamubeel & Selena Eaqub

Time Magazine - 1950

The Levitt Story

Planetizen: Planning and Development Network

The New City - Australia

Save Our Suburbs - New South Wales, Australia

Houston Strategies

New Geography

Frontier Centre for Public Policy Canada

MacroBusiness Australia

Levitt & Beyond

Levittown - Pennsylvania

William J Levitt – Wikipedia

Angus Maddison Historical GDP Tables 1 - 2008 AD (excel)

Angus Maddison - Homepage

Order without Design - Alain Bertaud | The MIT Press Release October 2018

The 1980s Texas housing bubble myth by Leith van Onselen



Municipal Utility Districts – An Introduction

Texas MUDs by Joe Allen & David Oliver

MUDs - National Public Finance Guarantee Paper

Spillette: What's not being said about MUSs - Houston Chronicle

Texas housing: A conversation with economist Dr James Gaines - Dallas Federal Reserve


Archive - Cantabrians Unite website - front page



Productivity Commission

Statistics New Zealand

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

The Treasury

Housing Foundation

The New Zealand Initiative

Infrastructure New Zealand






General update - February 2019



Welcome to Performance Urban Planning

As a long term commercial development practitioner and former industry leader in New Zealand, I was approached by colleagues back in late 2004, expressing concern that the public was not being provided with sound structural information on the state of the urban housing markets within Australia and New Zealand. [more]

The Fathers of Affordable Housing

Following World War 11, after decades of earlier failed attempts by themselves and others, the Levitt brothers Bill and Alfred with their entrepreneurial genius, created the modern production construction industry we know today.

Levitt & Sons provided young single earner American families with annual household incomes of $US3,800, new starter homes for $US8,000 — 2.1 times annual household incomes. The mortgage required was 18% of the single earner annual household income.

We have paid a huge price for forgetting this history.

All involved with urban land use issues need to relearn it.

HOUSING: Up from the Potato Fields -Time 1950 Cover Story


For metropolitan areas to rate as 'affordable' and ensure that housing bubbles are not triggered, housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household earnings. To allow this to occur, new starter housing of an acceptable quality to the purchasers, with associated commercial and industrial development, must be allowed to be provided on the urban fringes at 2.5 times the gross annual median household income of that urban market (refer Demographia Survey Schedules for guidance).

The critically important Development Ratios for this new fringe starter housing, should be 17 - 23% serviced lot / section cost - to balance the actual housing construction.

Ideally through a normal building cycle, the Median Multiple should move from a Floor Multiple of 2.3, through a Swing Multiple of 2.5 to a Ceiling Multiple of 2.7 - to ensure maximum stability and optimal medium and long term performance of the residential construction sector.

…November 2017…The new New Zealand Governments programme…

It's official: The Government is promising to remove Auckland's urban growth boundary as part of the legislative programme for this term…[read more]

Remove barriers that are stopping Auckland growing up and out Labour will remove the Auckland urban growth boundary and free up density controls. This will give Auckland more options to grow, as well as stopping landbankers profiteering and holding up development. New developments, both in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand, will be funded through innovative infrastructure bonds…[read more]

…March 2017…New Zealand's Planning Law (Resource Management Act) Amendments…then Opposition Paties cooperation…with extract Newsroom report by Bernard Hickey…

It is important too to understand the significance of the opposition political parties working together within the MMP environment…as illustrated with the RMA amendment legislation back in March (much the same with the HASHA legislation September 2016)…reported by Bernard Hickey of Newsroom soon after…[read more]

Just in case you missed it…

One curious coda to the RMA debate that concluded last week was that the Opposition parties plus ACT and United Future all voted again during the third reading debate for amendments that would have abolished Rural Urban Growth Boundaries and allowed the financing of infrastructure bonds paid for with targeted rates.

The amendments were defeated by National and the Maori Party.

The irony of a Government that has railed against restrictions on land development by councils voting against removing those restrictions should be noted. And also that the proposal for infrastructure bonds was backed by the right-leaning New Zealand Initiative and voted for by the Greens and Labour. Strange times indeed.

…May 2016…Previous Government then Housing Minister Nick Smith…

The new position by the Labour opposition calling for an abolition of city limits has been welcomed by Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith.

"This is a welcome repositioning by Labour. Tight city limits and not allowing intensification is at the core of Auckland's housing problems. It is limiting new housing developments, driving up section and house prices and encouraging land banking…[read more]

…November 2017…following New Zealand…housing affordability becoming dominant political issue in Australia…IPSOS poll…report by Matt Wade of The Sydney Morning Herald…

…The latest Ipsos Issues Monitor, which asks respondents to select the three most important issues facing the community, shows housing has jumped from sixth place in Victoria to second place since 2014.

In NSW, housing has topped the list of concerns for the past three quarters. Half of NSW respondents now rate housing as one of the nation's most important challenges compared with less than a third in 2014.

Other polls have drawn attention to the growing public unease about housing costs. An Essential Vision survey that asks respondents nationally to nominate the "three most important issues for government" shows housing affordability climbed from sixth ranking to second between 2014 and 2017…[read more]


Media Release

Demographia In The News

Hugh Pavletich In The News

Access IPSOS New Zealand Issues Monitors


The KiwiBuild failure should galvanise urgent action on NZ's housing disaster – EDITORIAL - The Listener


New Zealand Vowed 100,000 New Homes to Ease Crunch. So Far It Has Built 47. - The New York Times


Lack of land, infrastructure blamed for rising Tauranga house prices … Newshub


Government needs to act quickly to fix housing market … Hugh Pavletich discusses with Mike Yardley … NewstalkZB


Housing in all main NZ markets now 'severely unaffordable' … Hugh Pavletich discusses with Morning Reports Susie Ferguson … Radio New Zealand


Labour will lose in 2020 without more progress on housing affordability: Pavletich - NZ Herald


Young Kiwis demand affordable housing … with the vege patch, fruit trees and chook shed … Jo McCarroll … Stuff NZ


Entrepreneurs and businesses see benefits of working on the (South Island) West Coast | Joanne Carroll | Stuff.co.nz


Priced out: Home buyers who can't afford provincial cities are heading to these hot spots | Catherine Harris | Stuff co nz


REINZ welcomes Tindall’s comments on housing affordability | Scoop News

New Zealand housing crisis: just 47 'affordable' homes built in six months | Eleanor Ainge Roy | World news | The Guardian

The Kiwi dream: Cty-weary New Zealanders flock to the regions | Eleanor Ainge Roy | Cities | The Guardian

… The political direction is clear …

 New Zealaned Housing Minister Phil Twyfords speech to the New Zealand Initiative Members Retreat late March … New Zealand Government / Beehive

… extract … 

… In our view there are three big challenges that have to be addressed:

1. A broken system for financing infrastructure

2. A planning system based on urban containment

3. The failure of governments until now, both local and central, to actively work with the private sector to enable urban growth and expansion. 

… concluding … 

… I talked about the land banking and speculative economy, and the pressure cooker that has given us some of the most obscenely expensive housing in the world. 

These moves are designed to change that. … 

… If we do these things we can truly flood the market with development opportunities. We can break the land banking economy, and drive down the cost of urban land. 

We can achieve more competitive urban land markets. And industry that is more focused on development and building places of enduring value instead of land banking and speculation.

That is the pathway to more affordable housing, and a systemic fix of the crisis that has caused so much hardship, and sucked so much of our national wealth into residential property instead of the productive economy.

… read more via hyperlink above …

Don Brash praises Phil Twyford's housing speech | Newshub 

Oliver Hartwich says the rest of Phil Twyford's housing policy is sufficiently ambitious and radical to solve NZ's housing problems without recourse to KiwiBuild | interest.co.nz

Housing Minister's concern as report reveals New Zealand cities 'performing poorly' | Newshub

Estimated population up in all regions … 22 October 2019… Statistics NZ

Greater Christchurch (ChCh,; Waimak; Selwyn) growth 2.0%
Auckland growth 1.5%
. further example of the accelerating 'flight to affordability' .
. for households and businesses

Christchurch City councillors in line for 11 per cent pay rise … Tina Law … The Press

Top (Christchurch) council staff 'manipulated' reports to hide bad news from councillors and public … Tina Law & Dominic Harris … The Press

Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference … Hon Phil Twyford … MZ Govt / Beehive

Ipsos NZ Issues Monitor November 2019

Survey finds Kiwis' backyard dream still alive and well (Westpac Bank) … Scoop New Zealand

New stand-alone houses (consents / approvals) pick up October … Statistics New Zealand

The 'New Zealand Dream' is still alive … Wendell Cox … New Geography

Labour New Zealand poll result lowest in two years, National-ACT could form Govt - 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll … TVNZ

It's time to make Dallas a premier engine of upward mobility … (Comment) Cullum Clark … Dallas Business Journal

Californians Flock To Texas As Corporations Seek Cheaper Pastures … Zerohedge

Kiwis' obsession for building bespoke houses is costing them a fortune | OPINION Julien Leys, CE of the NZ Building Industry Federation | Stuff.co.nz

The average home price in every American state - and what you get for your money | Marissa Perino | Stuff.co.nz

How D.R. Horton, late in the cycle, lifted home closings 13%: 'It's all about price' | Commentary | Mitchell Schnurman | Dallas News

… extract … 

… But take some comfort in the latest results from D.R. Horton, the nation's largest homebuilder. On Wednesday, the Arlington company reported that home closings soared 13% in the latest quarter, extending a streak of double-digit gains that started in 2012.

Horton is on pace to close almost 57,000 homes this fiscal year, finally topping its previous peak in 2006, just before the housing crash.

Its stock price has roared back, too. Horton's market value tops $17 billion, up from $2.9 billion eight years ago. And last week, the company's board authorized $1 billion in stock buybacks.…

One key to its run: Horton has ramped up construction of lower-priced homes, appealing to first-time buyers and empty-nesters looking for more affordable options. . 

Its stock price has roared back, too. Horton's market value tops $17 billion, up from $2.9 billion eight years ago. And last week, the company's board authorized $1 billion in stock buybacks.…

. "The demand is there, if you can position and drive a price that they can buy," Auld said.

Horton has a deep supply of land - 300,000 lots either owned or controlled. And it operates in 87 markets in 29 states.

… read more via hyperlink above …

Horton's edge on price.

Average selling price for select builders' homes in second quarter of 2019, in thousands:

D.R. Horton $294
KB Home $368
NVR Inc $372
Meritage $382
Hovnanian $406
Lennar $408
PulteGroup $430
M.D.C. Holdings $484
Toll Brothers $826


Lot Values Hit Record Highs…Natalia Sineavskaia… U.S National Association of Home Builders


According to NAHB's analysis of the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC) data, median single-family lot prices outpaced inflation once again (4.4% vs 2.4%) and reached new record high in 2018, with half of the lots selling at or above $49,500. The most dramatic rise in lot values is observed in the West South Central division where median lot values more than doubled since the housing boom years.…

… read more via hyperlink above …

4 out of 5 Americans say there is a housing affordability crisis (NAHB Survey)… Mortgage Professionals of America Magazine

Watch again: "MPs are servants of the people" Boris Johnson gives speech in North East… UK Telegraph / Youtube

Ipsos MORI Issues Index United Kingdom September 2019: Lack of faith in politics reaches new high

Boris Johnson plans radical overhaul of civil service to guarantee 'people's Brexit'… Edward Malnick … UK Telegraph

Now for the Boris Johnson revolution: PM to reshape Britain…Tim Shipman…The UK Sunday times / The Australian

A closer look at Phil Twyford's much-anticipated Bill that will give central government the power to fast-track large urban development projects… Jenee Tibshraeny … Interest Co NZ

New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster… Hon Phil Twyford … NZ Government

New Infrastructure Funding Tool … The Treasury … NZ Government

National proposes introducing congestion charges and charging all motorists based on how much they travel; It reaffirms its commitment to scrapping Auckland's fuel tax and not hiking the petrol excise duty in its first term … Jenee Tib

National doesn't propose doing anything radically different to address NZ's housing shortage; RMA reform remains central to its policy … Jenee Tibshraeny … Interest Co NZ

Building NZ: RMA Reform & Housing Discussion Paper … Hon Judith Collins … New Zeal;and National Party

Demographia In The News
Demographia Surveys - All Editions
Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (Media Release) | Scoop News

Introduction Section - Message from Hugh Pavletich .

'My home country New Zealand is the global leader in dealing with political impediments, so that the supply of new affordable housing is restored.

The public conversation to restore affordable housing began in earnest early 2005, with the release of the 1st Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Back in 2007, then Opposition Leader (now Sir) John Key made it clear within this interview that lack of land supply was the major problem.

This has been a near 14 year process of evolutionary change, with the engagement of the public and responsible media.

In turn this has pressured politicians to respond.

Public opinion is the driver, as increasing numbers of New Zealanders better understand the true costs of unnecessary politically induced housing inflation to themselves and their wider families.

The initial advocacy phase ran through to October 2012, with the major Government announcement to focus on land supply, infrastructure financing, process and construction costs.

Over recent years broader consensus ( more , more ) has taken place.

To illustrate further, just prior to Christmas 2017, Stephen Sellwood of Infrastructure New Zealand and Bill Evans of major builder Flatcher Living repeated again, that the focus must be on land supply and the appropriate debt financing of infrastructure.

We are now moving to the implementation phase, with a recent change to a centre - left Labour led reformist government.

Historically in New Zealand, Labour has been the political party of reform.

More extensive information is available at my archival website Performance Urban Planning. Note in particular the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern / Housing Minister Phil Twyford section near the top of the=is website, to better understand the new governments proposals to restore housing affordability.'

Inaugural New Zealand IPSOS Survey…

A recent survey on key issues concerning New Zealanders has shown that housing accessibility and affordability are at the forefront of people's minds.

The first of the quarterly New Zealand Issues Monitor reports, run by global market research company Ipsos, interviewed 610 respondents over the age of 16.

It sought to track what New Zealanders were concerned about, who is worried about what and which political parties are seen to be best able to improve matters. … [read more]

The Salvation Army's casting doubts on the ability of government departments to deliver on the Kiwibuild affordable housing programme and is calling for establishment of an expert group to deliver the required houses.

A media statement from the Salvation Army said that "growing uncertainty" over whether Kiwibuild can "reignite the Kiwi dream" of homeownership needs to be countered.

"Recent reports from Treasury and The Chief Executive of New Zealand Certified Builders indicating the programme may not be able to deliver the housing required creates uncertainty for families who see Kiwibuild as their path to homeownership," the statement said…[read more]

Lessons from Greater Christchurch .

* Rolleston: Time to take it seriously
* Christchurch's $600 million motorways
* Christchurch's next problem: bringing residents back into the CBD
* Government 'locked in' to contract for delay-riddled east frame

… incorporating readers survey below …

What should a 'median' house cost? (2.2k Votes)

No more than three times median household income 33%
Up to four times median household income 29%
Five times is acceptable 18%
Six or more is okay in this day and age 9%
Not sure 11%

…so that today…different forms of dwellings should be about or below these Median Multiples to rate as 'affordable'…

  1. Standard detached housing should not cost any more than 3.0 times annual household incomes of specific metros ( refer Annual Demographia Surveys ; recent Glaeser & Gyourko paper ; Recent Reserve Bank of Australia paper ); Harvard JCHR Median Multiple Tables (accessible top left column front page this website).
  2. New fringe starter house and land packages should cost around 2.5 times…at development ratios of 20% serviced lot and the balance construction ( Definition of an affordable housing market www.PerformanceUrbanPlanning.org
  3. Apartment / townhouses should be around 2.0 times ( about 70% of detached…to illustrate refer Houston Association of Realtors Monthly Report ).
  4. Fringe manufactured house (prefab) and land packages should be around 1.5 times ( refer Leaky Homes And An Architect's Musing's | Scoop News March 2010 published Interest Co NZ as 'Houston: We have a housing affordability problem'

Why are NZ homes so pricey? It has nothing to do with avocados | Charlie Gates | Stuff.co.nz

The Houston example shows a (NZ)$300,000 ( circa US$ 200,000 ) home is more than feasible.

The (New Zealand) delegation comprised 42 delegates from across the public and private sector and took place between April 2 and April 13.

Where the delegation went.

The delegation visited four growing US cities: Portland, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston - defined in this report by their metropolitan or regional areas, rather than by their municipal boundaries…[read more]

Extract…Page 47…Fig 17…

…above provided by…

…New Zealand Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford points out a few realities to the Environmental Defence Society (EDS)…Richard Harman explains…


…Attendees probably left last night with more questions than when they arrived as Ministers, who in Opposition had seemed sympathetic to environmental issues were left qualifying and modifying their stance on major issues.

This was starkly evident in an exchange between Urban Development Minister, Phil Twyford, and the EDS CEO, Gary Taylor over urban sprawl.

Twyford had set out an impassioned description of the impact of high house prices in Auckland and advocated the linking together of transport and other infrastructure and new housing developments.

But he also advocated the scrapping or urban-rural limits.

"We believe that we have to manage growth on the fringes of the city," he said.

"If we do not allow new land to come into the supply we will never ever fix the problem of absurdly expensive urban land.

"With good investment in infrastructure and transport, with more planning, not less to create the future urban environment that we want, setting aside areas of special value and open spaces, acquiring land for transport and other infrastructure, if we then allow the city to grow we will bring down urban land prices and it is absolutely critical that we do," he said.

Twyford had proposed this when he was in Opposition but, even so, any suggestion that more rural land was going to be absorbed for housing was going to be controversial at an environmental conference.

And Taylor was quick to respond.

"Everything makes sense except I worry about why you need to do away with rural-urban boundaries altogether," said Taylor.

He said that giving free reign to developers seemed inconsistent with Twyford's overall objective of having a compact city.

Twyford replied that it was a question of values.

"This is for us, for Labour, for our coalition government, this is fundamentally a social justice issue.

"Our objective is not to build a Copenhagen of the South Pacific.

"We could build a beautiful city with a whole lot of the policies we have talked about.

"We could build a Vancouver of the South Pacific; beautiful but utterly unaffordable.

"I'm interested in us fixing this totally dysfunctional urban land economy.

"If we don't deal with affordability we will have completely wasted the opportunity that has been given to our generation."

Twyford said the only way to deal with the affordability issue was to deal with the land price issue and that meant dealing with the artificial scarcity of land caused by the planning system and the availability of finance for infrastructure.

However he didn't dispute that the Auckland region was going to become more heavily built up.

"You know what," he said. "In two or three generations this is going to become a tri-city conurbation between Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland whether we like it or not."…[read more]

…essential reading…

…extensive video interview 'Newshub Nation' included…

…November 2017…

…2 plus years ago . May 2016…

…Hugh Pavletich in the news . google search…