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NZ Apartments Rise, Dwelling size falls

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

The trends show increasing average Gross Floor Area from 2000 to 2010 then decreasing average Gross Floor Area. A closer look at the type of housing consented from 2013 to 2018 provides one reason why the average dwelling size is FALLING.


In 2013, 80% of residences consented were houses and 20% Apartments, Retirement units, Town houses and Units. Residences consented since the GFC the number of consents for dwellings has grown 50% predominantly with additional Apartments, Retirement units, Town houses and Units, rather than houses, lifting the annual share of Residential units for Apartments, Retirement units, Town houses and Units from 20% in 2013 to 36% in 2018.

 Overall Apartments, Retirement units, Town houses and Units tend to be smaller dwellings than standalone houses. We are starting to become an apartment / Small dwelling unit nation.

The Headwinds that drive the market towards smaller units are: a growing older population of elderly singles and couples, smaller families forming with parents older than the generation before. The economics of rising house prices and the added burden of clearing a student debt for first time buyers have contributed to this, delaying entry to the market. A smaller budgets leads to smaller buildings. We are learning to live in less real-estate.


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