New state houses will help Canterbury - minister

6:44 pm on 17 October 2012

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says building up to 350 new state houses in Canterbury will ease pressure on Christchurch's residential property market.

Housing New Zealand has confirmed it's moving forward with its plan to subdivide about 70 sections in order to build the new homes over the next 18 months.

Mr Heatley says the solution to the rising cost of housing in the region is to make more land and houses available. "We need more sections," he says, "and we need more houses built on those sections."

Housing New Zealand says about 2300 state houses, or 95% of its stock in the city and the Waimakariri district, were damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Asset development manager Sean Bignell says the initial target of having 212 homes fully repaired and back in use will be met by the end of the month.

Mr Heatley has also announced a trial programme looking at how a further 200 or so seriously damaged homes on TC3 land can be repaired cost-effectively.

Houses in technical category 3 - or TC3 - areas are on land so damaged from the quakes it's unclear what foundations are required for them.

Mr Bignell says the trial will start with 10 houses and may expand. He says a range of engineering solutions exist for the foundations of these homes, but builders are apprehensive about working on the land because of its problems.

Mr Bibnell says the trial results will be made public so all homeowners on TC3 land will benefit.