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Occupied and unoccupied dwellings

Growth in occupied dwellings slows

There were 1,570,695 occupied dwellings at the time of the 2013 Census – an increase of 91,986 dwellings (6.2 percent) since 2006.

Average annual growth between 2006 and 2013 for occupied dwellings was 0.9 percent – lower than in any other period between censuses from 1981 onwards.

Change in occupied dwellings
1981–2013 Censuses
Census Number of occupied dwellings Percentage change since previous census Average annual growth rate since previous census
1981 1,011,882  ...
1986 1,095,747 8.3 1.6
1991 1,185,396 8.2 1.6
1996 1,283,994 8.3 1.6
2001 1,368,204 6.6 1.3
2006 1,478,709 8.1 1.6 
2013 1,570,695 6.2 0.9
Symbol: ... not applicable
Source: Statistics New Zealand

The vast majority of occupied dwellings were private (99.4 percent or 1,561,959 dwellings). There were 8,739 occupied non-private dwellings (eg hotels and hospitals).

Auckland region

Between 2006 and 2013, the number of occupied private dwellings in the Auckland region increased 7.6 percent (up 33,432 dwellings). There were:

  • 472,041 in 2013
  • 438,609 in 2006.

This was an average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent – half the growth rate of 2001–06 (2.2 percent).

Wellington region

Between 2006 and 2013, the number of occupied private dwellings in the Wellington region increased 4.9 percent (up 8,313 dwellings). There were:

  • 177,162 in 2013
  • 168,849 in 2006.

This was an average annual growth rate of 0.7 percent – half the growth rate of 2001–06 (1.4 percent).

Canterbury region

Between 2006 and 2013, the number of occupied private dwellings in the Canterbury region increased 2.6 percent (up 5,256 dwellings). There were:

  • 206,916 in 2013
  • 201,660 in 2006.

This was an average annual growth rate of 0.4 percent – quarter the growth rate of 2001–06 (1.6 percent). This was related to the earthquakes in this region in 2010 and 2011, which caused considerable damage to, and loss of, private dwellings.

Selwyn district has highest growth in occupied private dwellings

The territorial authority areas (cities and districts) with the highest percentage increases in occupied private dwellings between 2006 and 2013 were:

  • Selwyn district – up 31.0 percent (3,588 dwellings)
  • Queenstown-Lakes district – up 23.1 percent (2,103 dwellings).

Of the Auckland local board areas, growth in occupied private dwellings was highest in Upper Harbour, with a 20.7 percent increase (2,937 dwellings) since 2006.

The territorial authority area with the biggest decrease in the number of occupied private dwellings was Christchurch city, with 4,299 fewer dwellings (down 3.2 percent) than in 2006. This was related to the 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes.

More unoccupied dwellings

The number of unoccupied dwellings rose 16.4 percent between 2006 and 2013. There were:

  • 185,448 in 2013
  • 159,276 in 2006.

In 2013, 1 in 10 dwellings were unoccupied. Nearly one-quarter were classified as unoccupied because all the occupants were temporarily away at the time of the census, but about three-quarters had no occupants at all.

Every region had more unoccupied dwellings than at the last census, although there was little change in the Auckland region. The largest percentage increase was in the Canterbury region, which had 28,317 unoccupied dwellings in 2013, up from 18,117 in 2006. This was a 56.3 percent increase, and was related to the 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes.

Graph, Increase in unoccupied dwellings, by regional council area, 2006–2013 Censuses.  

Canterbury has more dwellings under construction

The number of dwellings under construction has fluctuated across censuses. Nationally, there were 9,756 dwellings under construction at the time of the 2013 Census, down from 13,560 dwellings in 2006. This was a drop of 28.1 percent.

Canterbury was the only region in which the number of dwellings under construction increased, at 1,920 in 2013, up from 1,794 in 2006.

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