Upper Hutt has completed the full review of the Housing and Business Capacity Assessment (HBA) in accordance with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD), released on 9 October 2023. This followed a refresh of the 2019 HBA in 2022, which focussed on providing an update to the housing assessment only.
The 2023 update was completed by the ten councils in the Wairarapa-Wellington-Horowhenua Region and assesses both the demand and capacity for housing and business development over the next 30 years. This assessment was undertaken to determine whether the region has sufficient capacity to meet demand in the short, medium, and long term. The assessment also assessed the capacity of infrastructure to be able to service this growth.
The 2023 HBA evaluates housing and business demand and capacity between 2021 and 2051 and identifies a demand for an additional 7,931 homes and a business land of 52 hectares over this 30-year period. The 2023 HBA has found there is sufficient capacity to accommodate housing demand in the long term, however business land, particularly industrial land, is more of an issue.
The 2023 update shows that population growth in Upper Hutt is expected to occur at a lower rate than the 2022 HBA refresh anticipated. This is largely due to COVID-19 and border restrictions continuing to affect migration levels into the Upper Hutt district. As population projections are also a driver for housing demand, lower dwelling projections are also anticipated compared to the 2022 update.
Links to the regional and district HBAs and supporting documentation are below.
Housing Assessment Summary
The 2023 HBA assesses housing demand using projected population growth as a basis for this assessment, it then evaluates the limit to which current and future growth areas can provide for housing under current development patterns and controls. The HBA first considers what is plan enabled, then identifies what is feasible from this plan enabled capacity, lastly it considers how much of the feasible capacity could be realistically built, applying controls related to risk and profit margins.
Upper Hutt’s population is expected to reach 65,700 in 2051, an increase of 18,200 people when compared to 2021, and identifies that 7,931 dwellings are expected to be needed to accommodate this growth. The 2023 HBA found that the realisable capacity across the five urban housing areas in Upper Hutt is 18,461, providing more than sufficient dwellings to meet the district’s housing needs in the short, medium and long term. It is anticipated that most of this growth will occur in Trentham and along transport corridors where there is better access to services, transport and amenities.
However, affordability of housing remains an issue and despite a drop in house prices following a peak in December 2021, first time buyer participation is dropping, largely due to external factors such as increasing interest rates and the cost of living. It is unknown how in the longer term, unaffordability will impact on tenure, but the increased capacity enabled by the district plan provisions may support improved affordability.
The housing assessment is provided in section 6.2 of the 2023 Upper Hutt HBA Chapter.
Business Assessment Summary
The 2023 HBA assessed the limit to which currently zoned business land can provide for forecasted business demand. The report shows an increase in demand for all sectors in the long term despite some short term decrease in need for education, healthcare and government land, and a medium term decrease in industrial land requirements.
The HBA evaluates both floorspace and land use requirements and for most business sectors land requirements will be higher than floorspace to account for servicing requirements such as parking and internal and external access. Industrial activities are expected to show the biggest need for land, accounting for over half of Upper Hutt’s business land demand. This is because of the projected increase being the highest of all the sectors, and industrial activity being more land intensive. There are opportunities under current controls to build higher, and it is expected that future business growth will take advantage of this opportunity, particularly commercial activity.
The assessment shows that existing zoned business land can provide for business growth in the short and medium term but not in the long term. Vacant land accounts for less than 5% of the development capacity in Upper Hutt, whilst infill accounts for around 50% of capacity. Since not all vacant and infill land will be developed, longer term capacity relies in part on greenfield sites but also significantly on redevelopment of existing land use activities.
Results both in Upper Hutt and across the region shows an issue for industrial land capacity, and HBA councils are progressing an industrial land study as a matter of urgency to determine how this might be addressed.
The business assessment is provided in section 6.3 of the 2023 Upper Hutt HBA Chapter.
Infrastructure Assessment Summary
The 2019 HBA assessed the adequacy of three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater), roading and ‘other infrastructure’ needed to facilitate development. Other infrastructure includes open space, public transport and education.
Reporting concluded that three waters infrastructure is one of the main obstacles to enabling growth. This remains valid with Wellington Water identifying that significant investment and new infrastructure will be required to enable the growth anticipated over the next 30 years.
The 2023 update notes that there have also been no significant changes to the roading network and transport options since the 2019 HBA. However, Council is responding to the transport challenges in the district through the development of an Integrated Transport Strategy, which will help direct future investment.
The infrastructure assessment is provided in section 6.4 of the 2023 Upper Hutt HBA Chapter.
As required by the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD), Upper Hutt City Council has undertaken a review of its 2019 housing capacity assessment with the 2022 Housing Update for the Wellington Region. The 2022 review noted that Upper Hutt continued to experience the pressures of housing demand through a high take-up of available housing stock, alongside continued increases in dwelling sale prices and rent prices. This trend was not just being felt in Upper Hutt, but across the wider Wellington Region. The refresh of the 2019 HBA was an opportunity to evaluate changes to Upper Hutt’s housing capacity through until 2051, prior to the preparation of the new, full HBA which was completed in 2023.
The updated population projections which informed the required housing delivery numbers for Upper Hutt and showed that from 2021 to 2051, Upper Hutt’s population was forecast to increase by 24,268 people. This was higher than the 2019 HBA predicted. To accommodate this population increase, there was a need to provide for 10,458 new dwellings. This was higher than the original number of houses that the 2019 HBA predicted that we needed to supply due to the increased difference in our population forecasting. The 2022 HBA update considered housing demand against feasibly developable land and infrastructure capacity to determine an overall development sufficiency in accordance with the NPS-UD.
The 2022 assessment, identified the District Plan provisions, enabled a feasible capacity for infill housing delivery to be 6,858 dwellings, with the realisable capacity being slightly lower at 5,928 dwellings. Therefore, with these realisable infill numbers, we expected that our medium term (2023-2030) housing requirement of 2,749 dwellings could be met, but the infill realisable figure fell short of the long term (2030-2051) requirement of 6,530 dwellings. Further housing was proposed to be delivered by the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) which was to be publicly notified in August 2022.
As part of this 2022 HBA update we also assessed the capacity of identified greenfield sites in Upper Hutt to deliver housing. Overall Upper Hutt’s identified greenfield sites were anticipated to provide for 5,433 new dwellings, all of which are feasible to develop. This figure, combined with the feasible infill capacity, means Upper Hutt had a feasible development capacity of 12,291 dwellings, which was sufficient capacity to meet the long-term housing requirement for the City.
The 2023 update notes that the IPI enabled a significant increase in capacity through high density zones and the Medium Density Residential Standards at the same time that the population projections were revised down. The IPI was made operative on 13 December 2023, and can be found by following this link: Intensification Planning Instrument
The 2019 Wellington Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) was completed regionally by the councils of Wellington’s major urban areas. This included Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Porirua City, and Kapiti Coast District Councils. The HBA is a requirement of the National Policy Statement for Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC).
The report was released in November 2019. The HBA evaluated housing and business demand over a 30-year period from 2017 - 2047. This demand is compared against land that is currently available or identified as a future growth area, in order to test whether each city can meet projected demand. The assessment also looked at the capacity of three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater), roading and other infrastructure required to service development.
The 2019 HBA showed that just over 5,600 dwellings were anticipated in urban Upper Hutt by 2047. The assessment estimated that the city could provide for about 3,500 homes (700 within existing urban areas and just over 2,800 in greenfield sites, including those identified in the Upper Hutt Land Use Strategy). This meant that without change to existing policies that control housing development, the city could be faced with a shortfall of up to 2,100 homes by 2047. Upper Hutt City Council responded to the results of the HBA through the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) to enable housing and commercial activities in the city.
Employment and business growth was expected to continue - a reflection of the growing economy, which is anticipated to reach $1 billion by 2035. The assessment identified that demand for industrial land was likely to increase in the short term but over time, demand was expected to shift to commercial land. It concluded that Upper Hutt would have ample land and floor space available to accommodate the expected business growth.
Links to the Wellington HBA document, the Upper Hutt Chapter and supporting documentation are provided below:
Chapter 1 - Regional Summary(PDF, 2MB)
Chapter 2 - Wellington City Council(PDF, 4MB)
Chapter 3 - Hutt City Council(PDF, 4MB)
Chapter 4 - Porirua City Council(PDF, 8MB)
Chapter 5 - Kapiti Coast District Council(PDF, 3MB)
Chapter 6 - Upper Hutt City Council(PDF, 4MB)
Chapter 7 - Appendices(PDF, 50MB)
The 2019 HBA assessed the limit to which the existing and future growth areas at that time could provide for housing under the development patterns and controls.
Upper Hutt’s population was expected to reach between 51,449 to 56,640 in 2047. Between 4,900 and 5,600 dwellings in the urban area would be needed to accommodate this growth.
The report found that the existing urban area could accommodate almost 700 dwellings with infill or redevelopment - made up of 681 standalone dwellings and 10 terraced houses. Future growth areas identified in the 2016 Land Use Strategy and larger zoned ‘greenfield’ sites were estimated to accommodate just over 2,800 dwellings, when using established development patterns.
This meant that without a change to existing policies that control development, the city could be faced with a shortfall of up to 2,100 homes by 2047.
Upper Hutt City Council responded to the results of the report through the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) which comprehensively reviewed the development controls in all residential zones of the city.
The 2019 HBA assessed the limit to which existing zoned business land at that time could provide for forecasted business demand.
The report found that demand for industrial land was anticipated to spike in the short term. Over time, demand was expected to transition from industrial to commercial land, in response to forecasted growth in service sectors across the region.
The assessment found that zoned business land could provide for business growth between 2017 and 2047.
80% of commercial land capacity was likely be in the CBD. The CBD was considered the most commercially viable location to establish and operate a business in Upper Hutt. There were opportunities under district plan controls at that time for development to build higher, and it is expected that future business growth will take advantage of this opportunity.
Results were also positive for industrial capacity, with a good supply of both infill and vacant land opportunities available throughout the city.
The 2019 HBA assessed the adequacy of three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater), roading and other infrastructure needed to facilitate development. Other infrastructure included open space, public transport and education.
Reporting concluded that three waters infrastructure was one of the main obstacles to enabling growth. Key issues included wastewater and drinking water storage over the 30 year period.
Roading and transport options also needed to be considered for any future growth areas because the State Highway network was at capacity and the viability of public transport depended on future urban form.