Bruce ward leads charge in housing rush


The Clutha district is in the middle of a housing boom, as many wards are experiencing a resurgence in new dwellings being built.

Clutha District Council figures show the trend has swung towards positive growth for many of the wards.

A total of 241 dwellings were built in the district over the past five years.

Bruce ward is leading the charge, based on strong demand for housing in Waihola and Milton.

The ward had 93 new dwellings built in the five-year period.

Balclutha had 50 new dwellings built during the same period.

In 2015, only five houses were built in Balclutha but building there surged in 2017 and again in 2019 to 14 and 17 new dwellings respectively.

Bruce ward finished 2015 with 15 built, had a small dip of 11 in 2016 and in 2019 had 27 new dwellings built.

Clinton ward had the smallest growth figures with an average of only two new dwellings per year over the five-year period.

In comparison, by the end of 2015 a total of 36 were built in the entire district, then by the end of 2019 the number had doubled to 75.

District mayor Bryan Cadogan said the building statistics were a clear indication of the momentum in the region’s economy.

house prices in the district, many are now seeing it as a more viable option to build rather than buy,” Mr Cadogan said.

“Clutha is seeing the number of new houses grow exponentially and I am sure the next 12 months will see building at an unprecedented rate for a generation.”

The most recent population data available from the council, dated June 2017, showed Bruce then had a population of 4135 and Balclutha 4910.

However, Mayor Cadogan said that despite the increase in house building, the district would still be “woefully behind” the pace required to keep up with demand.

The task of attracting staff would remain the greatest inhibitor to the district’s economic growth.

“It is crucial that we continue to work towards opening up new subdivisions throughout the district if we are going to replenish our population and revitalise our ageing housing stock,

S&S Builders Ltd co-proprietor Sarah Van Asperen believes the opening up of more new subdivisions in Balclutha and in other areas is the key to the growth of the district.

“Just a few years ago when there were almost no sections available in Balclutha to build on, we were buying existing old properties, knocking them down and building two smaller units on them,” Mrs Van Asperen said.

“These multi-dwellings increased the rateable density but didn’t address the shortage of sections in the town.

“Since then the council has been working hard to release more land, which gives buyers the choice of building new.”

For example, Plantation Heights had 64 new sections, and multiple subdivisions, such as in Waihola, had been quickly snapped up, she said.

“It all means positive growth and work for locals.

The strong demand for existing houses had pushed prices up, providing home buyers with the option of looking to buy existing and renovate or build new as the price differential was so close now, Mrs Van Asperen said.

“Many people are opting for a new build because the cost of buying an older place, then getting the consents to renovate it to meet all the latest building codes and then the amount of work needed, coupled with the uncertainty of what’s behind the next wall, is balanced against building new where you can get everything you want new, usually in one package.”