Whangarei’s population growth is booming and an increasing housing shortage is threatening…


If you don’t want to wade through the arguments below, what I am predicting is, as the Whangarei District is discovered by Aucklanders, there is going to increasing pressure on our prices from a shortage of properties. New housing is not keeping up with growing population demand and Auckland’s housing shortage is about to move up here.

The last census figures done in 2013 tell us that the Whangarei District has a population of 74,463 (Whangarei City 54,400). We are ranked 13th in size of all the districts in New Zealand and equate to 1.8% of the total New Zealand population. Basically we are a very small part of the country’s population.

However the census always undercounts the actual population because people are either overseas or don’t fill in a census. The tested figure for this undercount is 8.7%. So our actual real population in 2013 is around 83,000. The W.D.C. estimates that our population rises by around 1.0 % per annum. (830 more people per year). Therefore we should currently have an existing district population of around 84,500 people as of 2015

However a senior health official, who tracks the district population very closely, has provided information that shows the district population has grown by around 1000 persons in the last three months. (April to June this year.) That’s over a years’ worth of growth in three months. This indicates faster growth for the district than expected. From the sales evidence we would confirm this growth. A large part of this growth is retirement aged people.

The 2013 census also tells us that we have 28,149 occupied dwellings. The WDC have this figure at 30,204 occupied dwellings. There has been a lot of building activity since then so let’s take a guess (supported by WDC building consent figures) that the current level of occupied dwellings is around 31,000. Statistics NZ say the average number of people in each occupied Whangarei household is 2.5 people per household. WDC has a higher figure of 2.77 as they have factored in the empty holiday homes. 84,500 divided by 2.77 people is 30,505 dwellings required and 84,500 divided by 2.5 people per household is 33,800 dwelling required. Based on these two calculations, we are either currently keeping up with demand or we could be around 2,500 dwellings short. If we support the WDC figures (and I do) then we are currently sitting about right. However if we see the kind of growth rate that is being suggested by the Hospital research, then we are facing a looming housing shortage starting about now. We need 361 new houses per 1000 new people and residential resource consents for new homes are running at about 350 per year (WDC resource consent monitoring 2014). Inadvertently these Aucklanders may be driving their housing shortage north to our sunny shores . Its great news for builders. Of concern the same report says there was a large drop off in resource consents for subdivisions so it looks like sections are going to be harder to find as they are not many on the drawing board.

Talking to the rental team they are not experiencing a shortfall of houses. They are in the midst of the traditional winter slow down . This is cyclical and involves people moving out of drafty, uninsulated homes into warmer properties. It happens every year over winter. But the indicators are we heading into a shortfall and this should show in the rental market in about 4-6 months.

Harcourts Just Rentals… 

Are just about to secure a luxury $1,000,000 plus house coming up for rent in Mangatapere for $650 per week. Great if you work at the hospital and want that executive lifestyle. Call Mel on 021347355 for details!


The Cheapest Rates in the country! 

The new district council plan has an interesting graph on it’s page 24. It’s a breakdown of how our rates compare to similar councils across New Zealand. The table shows a sample of Districts and city councils with a population of over 30,000. We come out very well with the only District to have average rates of under $1,500. The next nearest is Christchurch and Napier at around $1,700. The national average is just over $2,000 and the worst two are our cousin in the Far North and the Western Bay of Plenty with an average of over $3,000 per annum. I think the council have been a bit selective in their figures, as when I tried to find the original research I came across an article from the Timaru Herald claiming they had the cheapest rates in the country.

But never the less our rates are a credit to past councils going back to Stan Semmenoff and the Progress team who first introduced the concept of Councils actually living within their means . A rare concept in these days of Super Cities. The effect this group had flows through to today’s low rates compared to other councils. I do hope the current councillors keep this in mind.

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