Overview of building consents for residential, commercial and industrial development, and take-up of vacant land.

As a result of the 2010/2011 earthquakes, the Greater Christchurch region lost a significant number of houses and business premises, including some 7,100 houses within the residential red zone. The Land Use Recovery Plan (external link) (LURP) provides for new households and businesses in greenfield areas as well as opportunities for intensification and infill within existing areas. LURP monitoring indicators (covering land availability, residential and business consents, intensification and business activity) can be found here (external link) .

Residential Building Activity

Building activity information provides an indication of the rate and nature of residential development in Christchurch City.

Total new housing and net new housing

In the year ending June 2016, building consents were issued for 3,630 new dwelling units in Christchurch City. Around half of these were rebuilds (i.e. demolition and subsequent rebuild on the same site). In order to measure changes to the city’s housing stock, it is necessary to focus on net new housing, which excludes replacement housing.

In the year ending 30 June 2016, there was a net 2,280 new dwellings units consented for, which was similar to 2015.

The total number of all residential consents (including rebuilds) peaked in 2015, when there were consents issued for 4,340 new dwellings and units. Around half of these were rebuilds (on the same site) meaning the net amount of new housing added to the city’s stock in 2015 was 2,260 dwellings and units.

In the time series beginning 2001, the highest number of net new housing in the city occurred in the year ending June 2004, when there were 2,350 net new dwelling units added to the city stock. Following this, there was a general decline in the number of net new dwelling units prior to the 2010/11 earthquakes, which reflected the local and global recession.

Following the earthquake series, for the two years ending June 2012, there was the lowest amount of net new housing in the time series while the earthquakes were still active and insurance decisions were taking place. Since July 2012, there has been a large increase in the number of consents for both replacement housing and new housing– a reflection of insurance claims being settled, increased demand for housing, and increased migration.

Net new housing and rebuilds since 2001

Net new housing and rebuilds since 2001

Table 2: New Housing by Type since 2001
Year to June   New Units  New Dwellings Total New Dwelling Units Demolitions & Rebuilds (Replacement)  Net New Housing
2001   324   867   1,191  83  1,108
2002   449  996  1,445  94  1,351
2003   326  2,014  2,340  86  2,254
2004   859  1,559  2,418 71  2,347
2005   771  1,417  2,188  76  2,112
2006  773  1,170   1,943 101  1,842
2007   1,191  1,067  2,258  92  2,166
2008   797  885  1,682  95  1,587
2009   389  634  1,023  64  959
2010   300  1,132  1,432  65  1,367
2011   303  765  1,068  154  914
2012   294  698  992  97  895
2013   402  1,282  1,684  472  1,212
2014   711  3,047  3,758  1,635  2,123
2015  1,045  3,295  4,340  2,080  2,260
2016 1,364 2,270 3,634 1,350 2,284

Infill vs Greenfield

As a result of the earthquakes, large areas of existing residential land were red-zoned as the land was considered unsuitable for residential purposes (without substantial remediation). The shift towards increased greenfield development post-earthquakes can be explained by the requirement for replacement residential land, and the availability and appeal of greenfield land for development.

Since the 2010/11 earthquakes, there have been more new residential housing consents issued for greenfield sites than for existing infill sites, although this is starting to ease after peaking at nearly 70% in 2013. In the year to June 2016, 60% (1,260) of net new housing was located within greenfield sites, compared with 39% (890) for infill residential sites. A further 20 consents (<1%) were issued in Banks Peninsula.

Location of building consents since 2001: infill and greenfield

Location of building consents since 2005: infill and greenfield


Area unit location

Five of the top six areas units which have had the highest number of net new housing consents since 2012 include large greenfield areas: Wigram (1,640 consents), Halswell West (940), Prestons (910), Aidanfield (310) and Mairehau North (260). The other area unit in the top six was Avon Loop, located centrally within the Four Avenues, which had 350 net new consents for the four years to June 2016.

For the year ending 30 June 2016, Wigram area unit had the highest net number of consented new housing units at 519, followed by Prestons (325), Halswell West (220), Cathedral Square (100) and Avon Loop (80).

Net new residential housing by area unit, 2016 (year to June)

Net new residential housing by area unit, 2016 (year to June)

Commercial and Industrial Building Activity

The earthquakes resulted in substantial loss of commercial and industrial building stock in Christchurch, particularly in the central city. Around 80% of all commercial buildings in the CBD were demolished.

New Consents and Floorspace

New commercial and industrial building consents had been declining in both number and amount of new floorspace added in the three years prior to the 2010/2011 earthquake series. The year of the February 2011 earthquake resulted in the the lowest level of commercial building activity in the last 15 years.

Since the earthquakes, there has been substantial commercial and industrial development throughout the city as insurance claims are settled and the city's recovery continues. For the five years ending 30 June 2016, there were 1,500 consents for new commercial buildings, with a combined amount of floorspace of nearly 2.15 million square metres. Both the number of commerical consents and the amount of new commercial floorspace peaked in the 12 months ending June 2015.

For the year ending 30 June 2016, there were 210 commercial building consents, adding 387,300 square metres of floorspace.

Commercial Consents since 2001

Commercial consents since 2001


Location

The majority of post-earthquake activity has taken place in the suburban industrial zones and the central city commercial zones. Since 1 July 2012, the following number of buildings and amounts of new floorspace have been consented in the commercial and industrial zone groups listed below:

  • Central City Commercial: 225 buildings added 556,000 square metres of new floorspace. 
  • Central Industrial: 85 buildings added 77,000 square meters of new floorspace.
  • Suburban Commercial: 160 buildings added 136,500 square meters of new floorspace. 
  • Suburban Industrial: 450 buildings added 745,000 square metres of new floorspace.
New commercial floorspace by commercial zone

New commercial floorspace by commercial zone

Commercial consents by commercial zone

Commercial consents by commercial zone


Central City Location

For the year ending June 2016, the largest central city commercial developments were located south of Cathedral Square, between Hereford and Cashel Streets.

Central City Commercial Floorspace, 2016

Central City Commercial Floorspace, 2016

Residential Vacant Land

The Christchurch City Council’s Vacant Land Register documents the amount of vacant residential land available for development.

Residential vacant land overview

At the end of June 2016, there were around 1880 hectares of vacant residential land in metropolitan Christchurch, down 100 hectares from twelve months earlier at June 2015. The types of vacant land most likely to be ready for take-up include 10 hectares of redeveloped land (where existing buildings have been demolished) and around 440 hectares of subdivided land.

The remainder of land includes 1200 hectares of undeveloped land (that has not been subdivided), around 100 hectares classed as having potential, and around 130 hectares of land subjected to deferred or under appeal zoning decisions.

For the year ending 30 June 2016, around 11 percent of the city's vacant residential land was located in the Marshland area unit, the highest of all area units. This was followed by Belfast (8%), Wigram (8%), Kennedys Bush (7%) and Moncks Bay (5%). 


Residential vacant land take-up

In the financial year to June 2016, around 25 hectares of vacant residential land were taken up for new residential developments in metropolitan Christchurch, compared with 20 hectares taken up in the previous twelve months to June 2015.

Take up occurs when a new building consent, a resource consent for a new building, a public works designation, or a parks and reserves contribution is lodged against a parcel of vacant land.

The area unit with the largest amount of take up in the year ending 30 June 2016 was Marshland (5 hectares), followed by Wigram, Sawyers Arms, Halswell West, and Styx area units.

Commercial Vacant Land

The Christchurch City Council’s Vacant Land Register documents the amount of vacant commercial land available for development.

Commercial vacant land overview

At the end of June 2016, there were around 90 hectares of vacant commercial land in Christchurch, a slight increase from 85 hectares twelve months earlier at June 2015.

For the year ending 30 June 2016, half of the city's vacant commercial land was located in the Cathedral Square area unit (external link) . This was followed by Belfast (10%), Avon Loop (7%) and Sydenham (3%). 


Commercial vacant land take-up

In the financial year to June 2016, around 1.8 hectares of vacant commercial land were taken up for new commercial developments in Christchurch, compared with 0.9 hectares taken up in the previous twelve months to June 2015.

Take up occurs when a new building consent, a resource consent for a new building, a public works designation, or a parks and reserves contribution is lodged against a parcel of vacant land.

Industrial Vacant Land

The Christchurch City Council’s Vacant Land Register documents the amount of vacant industrial land available for industrial development, to ensure there is sufficient and suitable industrial land to meet future demand.

Industrial land is classified as vacant if no industrial buildings are present or partially vacant if sufficient land remains to construct additional industrial buildings.

Industrial vacant land overview

In the year ending June 2016, there were 638 hectares of vacant industrial land available throughout the city. This was a slight increase from the 634 hectares available twelve months earlier at June 2015.

Over half of the city's vacant industrial land was located in the Masham area unit (which includes the Specific Purpose Airport Zone) and the Islington area unit. 


Industrial vacant land take-up

Take-up occurs when a new building consent, a resource consent for a new building, a public works designation, or a parks and reserves contribution is lodged against a parcel of vacant industrial land. It reflects the amount of vacant industrial land in Christchurch that has been taken up by new industrial development.

At the end of June 2016, around 6 hectares of vacant industrial land were taken up for new industrial developments in Christchurch City, down from the 13 hectares taken up in the previous twelve months to June 2015.

Much of the take-up of industrial vacant land for the year ending June 2016 was occurred in the Islington, Sawyers Arms, Wigram, Sydenham and Yaldhurst area units.

Information about data used

Building Consents:

New construction information is extracted from residential building consents. The gross figure of new housing units will contain a number of replacement housing units where demolitions have occurred. The majority of building consents that are issued are completed, however there is a small proportion of consents that are not completed. It is assumed the general trends shown in this measure are not significantly affected by uncompleted consents. 

Source: Christchurch City Council, Building Consents Data Warehouse

Commercial Floorspace:

New floorspace is extracted from commercial building consents issued for new buildings and additions to existing buildings. The majority of building consents that are issued are completed, however there is a small proportion of consents that are not ompleted. It is assumed the general floorspace trends shown in this measure are not significantly affected by these uncompleted consents. This data is based on floorspace estimations and devlopment plans registered with Christchurch City Council building consent applications; the planned floorspace may differ to the 'as built' figures.

Source: Christchurch City Council, Commercial Building Consent Records

Vacant Residential Land

Defined in the District Plan as undeveloped areas on which potential future development is allowed. It is classified as:
- Subdivided/Redeveloped (these are smaller lots of vacant land with access and which are ready to be built on); 
- Undeveloped (large parcels of land which are completely vacant, or, land parcels larger than one hectare with an existing dwelling);
- Potential (land parcels between 0.4 and 1 hectares in size that have a single existing dwelling, but could be subdivided at the discretion of the owner, subject to applicable zoning rules); 
- Deferred Zoning, land which is currently subject to deferred zoning decisions, i.e. land that is earmarked for future growth but is deferred to allow for strategic timing around market supply and infrastructure provision.

If a residential zoned land area is identified in the vacant land register, it may not necessarily be available for construction. Development is dependent on land/housing market factors, and individual property owner decisions.

Source: Christchurch City Council, Vacant Land Register

Vacant Industrial Land

Vacant Industrial land is based on the Council's land parcel and commercial building consent information. There are a small proportion of issued building consents , where construction is not completed. In these cases the land would be removed from the vacant land register, although it would remain vacant. These errors in take-up are identified when the vacant land register is audited as new aerial photographs of the City become available. It is assumed that these cases do not have a significant impact on rates of take-up, and vacant land availability.

Post 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes, the industrial vacant land summary from does not include zoned land that has been left vacant as a result of earthquake destruction or post quake demolitions since Sep 2010; it is assumed that most land in this state will be redeveloped by the owner, however, this may be added to the register as part of the aerial audit process if it remains vacant.

Source: Christchurch City Council, Vacant Land Register