Housing demand is directly related to population trends and characteristics. The size, composition and expected growth of the housing market influences the range and types of housing supplied and the timing of such supply.

Good quality housing

The average lifespan of a house in New Zealand is approximately 80 years. Over time, housing materials deteriorate, and house designs become less effective in meeting modern needs. The combination of these two factors leads to homes that are less effective in meeting modern housing needs, creating substandard housing that causes health, amenity and safety issues for occupants.

Key points

  • Post-earthquake, overall housing satisfaction in Christchurch has seen small decreases, whilst the number of people who are dissatisfied has close to doubled.
  • The satisfaction with CCC Social Housing declined from 69% to 64% between 2016 and 2017. 
  • Unsurprisingly, the proportion of social housing in the city that is habitable declined significantly following the earthquake. The proportion of habitable CCC housing reached a low of 82.6 per cent in 2013 before levelling off at 84 per cent in 2014.
  • The amount spent on domestic energy has remained relatively consistent, accounting for around 40% of total household expenditure since 2007.
  • After peaking in the initial years following the earthquakes, it appears the number of residential noise complaints are beginning to decrease, declining by 16% between 2013 and 2014.

Housing Satisfaction in Canterbury











Source: Statistics NZ, General Social Survey(external link)

Satisfaction with Council Social Housing











Source: CCC Residents Survey

Household Expenditure on Domestic Energy











Source: Stastistics NZ, Household Energy Survey(external link)

More detail and information

Quality of Life Project(external link): The key purpose of the project is to provide information to decision-makers to improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas.

A range of housing types

The population and demographic composition of Christchurch is evolving over time, and consequently so too are the preferred housing types. In general, housing preferences are determined by a person or groups lifestyle aspirations. Our overall housing needs are likely to change in coming years with significant growth in 1 and 2 person households.

Key points

  • Currently, the most significant proportion of the city's housing stock consists of separate, standalone houses.
  • Although 3 bedroom homes are the most common dwelling size (40% of the occupied housing stock), the number of 4 or more bedroom homes has doubled since 1991. 
  • The number of rental properties in the city has increased by two thirds since 1991 to around 35% of dwellings. 
  •  Around 80% of rental properties in Christchurch are owned by private landlords.  

Private Occupied Dwellings by Type











Source: Statistics NZ, Census of Population & Dwellings(external link)

Housing by Bedroom Range











Source: Statistics NZ, Census of Population & Dwellings(external link)

Tenure Over Time











Source: Statistics NZ, Census of Population & Dwellings(external link)

Sector of Landlord











Source: Statistics NZ, Census of Population & Dwellings(external link)

More detail and information

Housing Statistics(external link): Statistics about housing give you information on physical dwellings, such as size and affordability, and the people who live in them, including their level of satisfaction with their house.

Affordable housing options

Since the 1990's there has been an overall trend of decreasing home ownership rates and affordability. This is due to house prices increasing faster than household incomes and housing rents, making it relatively more expensive to own a home.

Key points

  • Historically, Canterbury had the most affordable housing of New Zealand's main centres.  In 2016, housing affordability has increased since a post-earthquake peak in 2015. 
  • Between September 2010 and June 2016, the median house price in Christchurch has increased by 33%, and is now consistently higher than it has ever been.
  • Similar to the housing affordability index, rental affordability has become less affordable in Canterbury since the earthquakes.  Rental affordability is beginning to decrease in 2015, now just below the National average.  
  • Between 2010 and 2015, mean rent prices in Christchurch increased by 44%; however in the last year, prices have begun to decline again.

Housing Affordability











Source: Massey University Affordability Index

Median House Sales











Source: REINZ, Housing Facts

Rental Affordability











Source: MBIE Rental Data

Mean Rent











Source: MBIE Rental Data

More detail and information

The General Social Survey(external link): The New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) provides information on the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over.

Housing in Greater Christchurch After the Earthquakes:(external link) Information on the changes that have occurred in housing and the effects of housing changes on the population in the greater Christchurch area as a result of the Canterbury earthquake sequence that began in September 2010.

Residential Property Data(external link): Snapshots of the state of the residential property market for all of New Zealand

Sufficient housing to accommodate residents

Christchurch's population is becoming larger, and more diverse, which means that there are both short and long term factors influencing demand for housing in the city. A fundamental concern associated with housing supply is the relationship between the total number and types of housing units within the city, and the number of households wishing to occupy those housing units. 

Key points

  • Between 2006 and 2013, the number of households in Christchurch decreased by around 3%.
  • However, it is anticipated that the number of households will increase by 1200 per year until 2016. By 2041 the number of households will be approximately 30% higher than that recorded in the 2013 census.
  • In addition to more people coming into the city, housing demand is also driven by the decreasing size of households from 2.5 in 2015 to 2.4 in 2028.
  • Since the earthquake, there has been 8700 new houses built, and 6900 houses rebuilt due to earthquake damage.
  • In 2013 there were 4500 dwellings in Christchurch that were considered crowded (i.e. need 1 or 2 additional bedrooms); however there are 138,500 spare bedrooms in houses throughout the city. 
  • There appears to be continual demand for social housing in Christchurch. Housing New Zealand waiting lists continue to grow, however CCC waiting lists are begining to level off.

Household Projections











Source: Statistics NZ, Subnational Household & Family Projections(external link)

New and Replacement Housing











Source: Statistics New Zealand, Building Consent Record(external link)

Household Crowding











Source: Christchurch City Council, 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings(external link)

More detail and information

Canterbury Wellbeing Index(external link): The Canterbury Council and territorial authority areas in New Zealand. Wellbeing Index tracks the progress of social recovery using indicators to identify emerging social trends and issues.

Housing Pressures in Christchurch(external link): Recent earthquakes in the greater Christchurch area have raised concerns about housing availability for people resident in the area.

Christchurch Housing Accord: The Christchurch Housing Accord is an agreement between the Council and the Government to work together to address housing supply and affordability issues in Christchurch.