Auckland has a new “cost of growth” study with a new name – the Cost of residential servicing study – and it won’t satisfy the critics who want to be able to say compact is definitely more expensive than sprawl, or vice versa.
The study findings will go to Auckland Council’s Auckland development committee on Thursday.
The study has figures, but they’re from case studies, so the authors have pointed out that they can’t be taken as gospel for pricing in a particular category, although there are averages for different parts of the region.
Those geographic averages show developments in the north are the most expensive to service, costing around $40,374/dwelling. The south’s average was $38,736, the central area $30,967 and those in the west cost $29,496.
Cost differences between sites reflect a number of different factors. For the greenfield areas the costs are typically driven by the need to expand network infrastructure, water, wastewater & transport.
In brownfield areas, the network infrastructure is generally already in place and, where there is spare capacity in the network, the marginal cost of providing infrastructure to an additional household in these locations is found to be comparatively low.
However, the average cost of expanding the network to cater for growth in these locations may well be higher than in greenfield sites. Consequently, it is important that there is a good level of understanding about the level of excess capacity in the existing networks when planning the location of future developments.
A breakdown of the infrastructure costs by development type, from the case study analysis, showed the low density developments were, on average, the most expensive to service, costing an average of $33,890/dwelling, while the high density developments cost an average of $28,077/dwelling. However, there was a considerable variation in costs between sites of a similar density.
The study was prepared in response to action 15 of Auckland Council’s housing action plan, adopted in December 2012.
The council commissioned CIE (the Centre for International Economics, Australia) & engineering consultancy Arup to undertake the Cost of residential servicing study in 2013. The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment cosponsored it. The purpose of the report was to undertake more thorough empirical research showing the true cost of servicing different types of development and assessing the impacts of location & typology.
The 12 case studies were a mix of residential developments completed & underway) in different areas and of varying scale & density. Infrastructure cost information was sought for water, wastewater, stormwater, transport, schools, community services & parklands.
Attribution: Council report.