Wellington City approves record number of dwellings

1 August 2018

Wellington City is on the right track to cope with a population boom after approving a record number of new dwellings, says Mayor Justin Lester.

Sunset through scaffolding.
Wellington City Council consented a record 1136 new homes in the year to the end of June 2018, up 31 percent compared with the June 2017 year, according to Statistics New Zealand. 

Across the Wellington region, 2781 new homes were consented – 7.3 percent more than the previous peak of 2632 in the August 2003 year.

About two-fifths of the new homes were in Wellington city, including 461 apartments and 451 townhouses.

Councillor Brian Dawson, who holds the housing portfolio, says it’s great news in terms of housing supply.

“Every new build helps to lift those numbers. Obviously we don’t know how these break down in terms of affordability and that’s an area we have to keep working on. 

“What these figures also show is strong confidence in Wellington and what’s happening here. 

“Less than two years ago we had a significant earthquake that might have slowed building growth considerably but in fact the opposite has happened. That’s a really positive vote for our city.”

It is estimated the capital will need another 30,000 new dwellings by 2043 to cope with the expected population increase.

Mayor Justin Lester says the numbers are heading in the right direction.

“We generally do about 800 consents a year, but that’s got to increase to more than 1000 to meet that demand,” the Mayor said.

“We need to continue to approve and build different forms of housing in these quantities to meet the demands of current and expected population increases.

“A lot of work has gone into identifying new housing opportunities for Wellington. There are obviously a lot of greenfield sites on the outskirts but we are also trying to be innovative and smart with opportunities for apartment conversions and better designs for townhouses.

It is the second year in a row there has been a jump in Wellington city’s new dwelling consents (there were 869 in the 2016-17 year, according to Statistics NZ).

It is difficult to know exactly the reasons why dwelling consents have gone above 1000 this year but there are a few potential explanations:

  • There is clearly a confidence in the market in Wellington for people to be investing in housing for their own purposes and for investment.
  • People are seeing the benefits that Wellington has to offer including the lifestyle and business/employment/study opportunities. Wellington is more affordable than Auckland and people are clearly seeing the relative value for money.
  • The NZ economy continues to be positive and there is continued international migration. These factors impact positively on housing approvals and construction.