Wellington region running out of room
Wellington could run out of land to build houses in about 12 years, despite numerous residential developments underway in the region.
Wellington region’s population, including the Hutt Valley and Porirua, will increase from 413,400 to 459,200 over the next 25 years, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Wellington City Council district plan manager John McSweeney said there was about 290 hectares of greenfield land left to develop in the region – enough for about 3500 houses, based on existing residential subdivision plans which allows up to 12 houses per hectare.
McSweeney said it was likely that the council would have to encourage developers to build more houses closer together.
The council was looking at options in some of the northern suburbs where land could be rezoned from rural to residential, McSweeney said.
That could create enough residential land for another 10 years of housing developments.
Bayleys Wellington general manager Grant Henderson said the thousands of sections set to come on market was not enough.
‘‘For Wellington to continue to keep up, it has to keep developing greenfields. It’s crucial we do the developments.’’
The latest residential development is earmarked for Plimmerton Farm, which was sold to Upper Hutt developer Malcolm Gillies and his business partner Kevin Melville.
The duo plan to create more than 1500 sections and 60 lifestyle blocks on the site, with some lots expected to hit the market in late 2020.
Up to 100 sites a year would be devel- oped, meaning it would take about 20 years to complete.
By then, the regions population will have grown by 45,800.
Henderson said there was a lot of residential land yet to be unlocked in Wellington.
‘‘There are huge opportunities, and the sooner we get some supply into the marketplace, the better.’’
Wellington City Council councillor Andy Foster, who is in charge of urban development, said about 40,000 houses needed to be built in Wellington to cater for population growth over the next 30 years.
This did not include growth in the wider Wellington region, he said.
The council has commissioned research to establish how much space was left to develop and if the city could hold another 40,000 houses, he said.
‘‘Most likely we can’t, and we are very much expecting that. So then we have to say, ‘Well where are they going to go? What do we need to change to accommodate growth?’’’
There was a need to densify further. However, it was unclear which parts of the city were best suited for that, Foster said.
‘‘This is going to be a really challenging conversation, and it’s going to be a really big one.’’