Providing homes for Wellingtonians

The Council plays an important role in Wellington’s housing – from planning and enabling residential development for Wellington’s long-term housing needs to providing housing for those who need support.

Rintoul Street development known as Altair.

Altair medium-density housing development in Rintoul Street, Newtown


We aim to direct urban growth where it will benefit the city most:

  • along the city's growth spine, between Johnsonville and the airport
  • in the central city 
  • around selected suburban centres that can support intensification
  • in greenfield areas north of the city, at Woodridge, Lincolnshire Farm and Stebbings Valley.

Our Wellington Urban Growth Plan explains the reasons and objectives in more detail.

Wellington’s housing for a growing population

Quality housing

We are working to make sure there is enough quality housing for the expected population growth and that the type of houses being built suit the city's changing demographics.

Over the last 10-15 years a lot of the residential development demand in the city has been met through high-density apartment developments in the central city. In recent years this has accounted for 40% of all new residential units in the city.

Range of options

We are also working to provide for a range of high-quality, low- and medium-density housing throughout the city. To support this residential development, our local town centres need to attract shoppers, businesses and residents.

Enabling residential development

To enable residential development, yet keep the characteristics that are so important to Wellington, we are exploring options to enable medium-density housing in suitable areas, encouraging investors and developers, and investing in infrastructure.

Medium density residential areas (MDRAs) 

We are exploring options to introduce MDRAs in Newlands, Tawa, Khandallah, Karori and Island Bay. This would enable medium-density housing to be built close to existing town centres and public transport. See our current projects in Newlands and Tawa.

To support population growth in our suburbs, we need to make sure that our town centres are attractive, accessible and convenient. We want to know what’s important to you about your town centre so we can use your ideas to prepare town centre plans. One example is our project in Tawa.

These consultations can take several years, from gathering your views to implementing the plan.

Encouraging investors and developers

We are encouraging investors and developers to start developing housing in special housing areas (SHAs) by offering a streamlined resource consenting path through the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act (HASHAA), and several development incentives. The special housing areas will, at times, be in the proposed medium-density housing areas.

Investing in infrastructure

We are supporting urban growth by investing in public transport, cycling and other transport networks as well as town centres, open spaces, community facilities and other infrastructure.

Population growth and household forecasts

The information we use for our planning is collected by ID the population experts who source information from diverse sources including Statistics New Zealand and councils.

Read more about Wellington City population forecasts.

Providing social housing

The Council is Wellington’s largest affordable rental housing provider. We’ve been doing this since the 1950s, and are committed to continuing and improving our services.

Read About the Council's social housing.

See Who can get Council housing.

Learn about our Housing upgrade programme.