Room for lots more


Council boffin says there’s sections galore for new residents


If you think the Wakatipu’s over-developed you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s updated “dwelling capacity model” reveals there’s sufficient vacant land for housing to more than double the number of homes in the valley.

Over the entire QLDC district including Wanaka, 64.5 per cent of potential home sites remain untouched virgin land.

In the Wakatipu, QLDC policy boffin Daniel Wells estimates there’s enough spare dirt to soak up residential growth for more than 30 years – even if the population doubles in the next 20 years as predicted.

“It would be difficult to claim that the council has zoned inadequate land for residential development,” Wells states.

“I therefore doubt that [lack of zoned land for subdivisions] is a major cause of the very high house prices in the district.”

But Wells warns four factors could shrink future section supply to just 15 years.

He points out some large virgin land holdings are in single ownership – particularly Remarkables Park and most of Kelvin Heights – inferring their development potential for housing may not eventuate.

Only 95 from a possible 1800 dwellings have been built at Remarkables Park as owner Porter Group concentrates on shopping centre development.

And though Kelvin Heights, previously rated New Zealand’s richest subdivision, has 568 homes, there’s capacity for another 1842 houses – but only assuming Deer Park Heights owner Frank Mee sells off more chunks of his property.

Wells also points out that spare land may be gobbled up for non-residential use such as visitor accommodation.
And much of the spare capacity in isolated areas like “rural visitor zones” is unlikely to be developed for some time – for example, Waterfall Park near Lake Hayes is zoned for 100 homes yet none have gone up so far.

Finally, Well adds, “some development is on infill sites where people could build an extra house on their section” – but they might not do so. Remarkables Park and Kelvin Heights aside then, what else isn’t remotely full?

Jack’s Point – tipped as the Wakatipu’s major new subdivision in the next decade – is zoned for 1594 houses but so far has just 50.

“Queenstown Heights” above Frankton Road has zoning for 277 dwellings but has only four.

And the biggest spare capacity is in high-density land around Queenstown. Nearly 1300 dwellings occupy this zone with room for another 2710.

Little Glenorchy has only 108 homes with capacity for another 365, and there’s additional growth potential on the perimeter with lifestyle-zoned land able to accommodate another 303 houses, compared with today’s 23.

Other rural residential and lifestyle land in the Wakatipu can handle another 720 homes.

Millbrook Resort is zoned for 450 houses compared with the present 96 and the troubled Bendemeer subdivision near Lake Hayes has only one house built from its allowable 75. Against all this spare capacity, five cheaper urban areas are well over half-full.

Fernhill and Sunshine Bay have 1041 homes but room for only 334 more, Lake Hayes Estate has 254 homes and zoning for just 90 more, Quail Rise with 128 homes has space for only 77 new neighbours, and Frankton with 683 homes can squeeze in only another 142.

Arrowtown is also quite chocker. According to the capacity model, Arrowtown – once dubbed NZ’s fastest-growing town – has 1232 homes with zoning for just 206 more, which may explain why QLDC is entertaining a controversial private plan change for another 215 home sites there.