Building stats go big, houses go small in Hamilton

Building stats go big, houses go small in Hamilton2 Sep 2015

Hamiltonians had better get used to more people living on smaller sections as the city creeps closer to an even split between infill housing and Greenfields development.

The growing swing to apart-style living comes as new figures show July building consents were up 40 per cent on the same time last year in the Waikato.

Hamilton contributed to 129 consented builds according to Statistics New Zealand - a fraction of the homes needed as the city grapples with where to fit another 60,000 people, or a town the size to Rotorua, over the next 30 years.

Village Quarter developer Andrew Yeoman
outside the 4000 square metre mixed-use retail
and housing complex, on the corner of Lake Rd
and Hall Street
Hamilton City Council mayor Julie Hardaker said the city was currently tracking at 43 per cent infill development, but aimed to reach percent 50 percent in the future.

"And what that means is it creates higher density areas around the city. Those areas are identified in our plans about where we would like to see that, close to services, existing infrastructure, schools, shopping centres.

"One of the things we have noticed is an increase in that activity, which is positive, and secondly those are usually townhouses or apartment style living and that's an important aspect of managing the city scope as well."

Resource consent was recently granted for a 150 residential development in the north-end of Ruakura and Hardaker said those were smaller, medium density lots.

The Frankton Railway development was another example of compact housing, Hardaker said, and had proved to be popular with buyers.

"From the city's point of few, offering different ranges of housing is important. Higher density offers that choice for people."

Hamilton developer Andrew Yeoman, who was behind the Queen Park land and house packages, welcomed the official opening of his latest project Village Quarter on Wednesday night.

The 4000 square metre mixed-use retail and housing complex, on the corner of Lake Rd and Hall Street, consisted of four buildings with 43 apartments as well as offices and retail space.

The first two buildings were officially opened with a ribbon cutting by Hardaker. Construction of the third and fourth building were still in progress.

Yeoman said it was exciting. "It's great to see tenants moved in and using the cafe and just enjoying their surroundings."

Buildings one to three were sold out, he said, and the fourth and final building was due to be marketed shortly.

He was pleased with the its popularity with buyers, but not surprised by it.

City council building control manager Cory Lang said Hamilton had seen a substantial growth in residential consents since the beginning of the year.

"Houses, stand-alone residential dwellings have certainly increased since the start of the year but certainly the townhouses and apartments have also risen in consent numbers."

A number of factors could be driving the increase of townhouses, he said, such as the District Plan, land availability, affordability and personal interest.

Building control was busy but it was exciting to see the city grow as consents increased month by month.

"Residential is taking off but across the board consent numbers have increased through from commercial activity right through to residential and industrial."

Hardaker said Hamilton's population was projected to grow by 3,000 people per year and 60,000 over the coming 30 years.

"And what we know is people want housing choices, so not everyone wants a section, a stand alone section, some people prefer apartment living."

According to, housing market across the country were already busy before spring.

CoreLogic NZ director of research Jonno Ingerson said Hamilton values appeared to be benefiting from the increased wealth of Auckland property owners.

New Auckland loan-to-value restrictions had pushed investors south in a bid to avoid tough lending rules, he said.

"The unintended consequence of the Government and Reserve Bank's crack down on the Auckland market may simply be to push the problem elsewhere. Clearly this is one to watch closely."

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