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Using valuable inner-city land for car parking? In a housing crisis, that just doesn’t add up

By Timothy Welch, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning, University of Auckland
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When I first moved to New Zealand – even after living in some of the highest-priced US property markets – I was taken aback by house prices. My shock was reinforced by the condition of the houses, many of which lack sufficient insulation, adequate heating or cooling, or double-glazed windows.

I wondered why I’d pay so much for a house that needed so much attention. Then I overheard someone quip, “In New Zealand, you pay for the land and the house comes for free.” Suddenly things made a lot more sense.

Unlike in the US, where land is valued at a small fraction of the “improvements”…

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