Since the 2011 earthquakes, Christchurch has experienced a construction boom in the residential sector. The majority of this activity has taken place in greenfield areas of the city, with the largest growth rates occurring in parts of Wigram and Prestons.

Residential housing construction has been profoundly influenced by the earthquakes. Since 2011, the location and type of housing being built in the city has shifted dramatically.



Key findings

Greenfield vs infill development Fluctuating trend

Following the earthquakes, the amount of net new housing within new greenfield areas has outnumbered that within established infill areas.

2018 marked the first year since the earthquakes that a higher proportion of development took place in infill areas (59%). Further information.

Net new dwellings by location Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

Since the earthquakes, most greenfield development has been located in Wigram, Prestons and Halswell West.

The majority of infill development has occurred centrally within Avon Loop area unit, in Linwood and St Albans East. Further information.

Replacement dwellings by location Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

Since 2011, almost 6500 replacement houses have been built in Christchurch. Further information.

Greenfield and infill development

In 2018, of the City's net new housing consents, 1160 (59%) were located in infill areas, compared with 800 (41%) in greenfield areas.

2018 marked the first year since the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Series that net new housing development in established infill areas outnumbered development in greenfield areas.

The housing shortage created by the earthquakes resulted in significant land rezoning, and the fast tracking of the release of greenfield sections to accelerate residential development.

In the early 2000s, development was fairly evenly spread between greenfield and infill areas, with slightly more occurring in greenfield areas. Annual development in greenfield areas averaged 55% between 2001 and 2005, compared with 45% for infill areas.

In the late 2000s, slightly more development occurred within infill areas, averaging 56% annually between 2006 and 2010.

Following the earthquakes, the majority of net new residential development was located within greenfield areas, averaging 64% per year between 2011 and 2017. This peaked in 2013, when almost three quarters (73%) was located within greenfield areas. 

The following dashboard shows the number of net new housing across the nine different monitoring sectors in Christchurch. Hover over the monitoring areas in this dashboard to explore the data and better understand how household location has changed since 2000.  

Location of net new housing

The three area units with the largest amount of net new housing since 2011 are Wigram (2170), Prestons (1470) and Halswell West (1250). All of these area units are located in priority high growth areas in the greenfield areas of the city. 

Although net new growth has not been as strong in infill and central areas compared to greenfield areas, established area units such as Avon Loop (539), Linwood (290) and St Albans East (256) have also experienced strong growth since 2011.

In 2018, the greenfield area unit with the highest amount of net new housing was Wigram, with 210 consents. Prestons area unit was next with 144, followed by Halswell West (86) and Highfield Park (60). 

In 2018, the established infill area unit with the highest amount of net new housing was Upper Riccarton, with 141 consents. This was followed by Avon Loop (90), Middleton (79) and Richmond South (78).

With the development of large scale projects such as the East Frame and Welles Street housing developments, further infill growth (particularly in the Central City) can be expected in the future.

Replacement housing by location

Since 2011, there have been around 6,500 dwellings which have been rebuilt following the earthquakes, which is known as replacement housing.

The geographic distribution of replacement housing by area unit follows a different pattern to net new housing. Coastal and hillside suburbs, along with older suburbs which were established by early settlers, have had the highest amount of rebuilds. Mt Pleasant (264), Rawhiti (259) and St Martins (211) have had the most replacement housing since 2011. 

It is interesting to note that the balance between net new and replacement housing construction in central and infill areas is relatively even, with between 50 to 60% of total housing development in these areas being net new. 

In comparison, the balance between net new and replacement housing shifts noticeably in the greenfield areas. In Wigram, Preston and Halswell West area units, around 80% of the houses being built are net new. This gives a good indication of where the residential growth in Christchurch is currently being focused.  


Further information

Please email for further information.

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