Subdividing properties

Subdividing a property is a great way to instantly add value, but it’s expensive.

Councils will see you as a way to cover their budget shortfall with a “development contribution.”  These fees average around $20,000 per dwelling.  Councils will also sting you with a bunch of compliance-related costs.  In Auckland, for example, you’ll pay about $7,000 per dwelling just to connect the water.

What’s involved?

To subdivide a property, first you need to:

  • understand what you can and cannot do according to council zoning rules
  • do a land survey.


When looking at a property you could subdivide, consider:

  • How steep is the section?
  • Is the section in the front or back? If it’s on a back section, how long is the drive?
  • Is the place you’ll have to dig on rock or soil?
  • Is there already drainage, water, storm water and power nearby?

Land values – keep note of town planning rules

Town planning rules artificially drive land values, so it’s worth understanding them and keeping up to date. For example, under the current Auckland plan, land that has changed from commercial or residential to mixed-use can significantly change the value of land.

Zone   Land Size Height
1 Heritage buildings 400sqm 8m
2A Heritage landscapes 10m
5 8m
6A 375sqm 8m
6B 300sqm 10m
7A,B,C 150sqm 10m,12.5m,20m


If you’re seriously thinking about doing a subdivision, read about our experiences with relocation and subdivision in Mount Albert, Auckland:

Lessons on relocatable houses and subdividing land

subdivision Auckland