Buying guide

How much does it cost to subdivide property in NZ?

Subdividing could be a great way to profit from your property, but getting it done is not cheap.

Last updated: 9 February 2024

If you’re lucky enough to own a large section with extra land, subdividing can be a great way to turn it into cash. It’s also a smart way for property investors to turn a profit - but unfortunately both investors and homeowners need a chunk of cash to get the job done. It takes money to make money…

To help you get started we’ve taken a closer look at how much it costs to subdivide property in Aotearoa New Zealand and the rules and regulations that you need to know.

How much it costs to subdivide property in NZ

The cost to subdivide your property can vary considerably depending on several factors, but the average cost is $153,075, according to Vista Homes. This will depend on how the land is zoned, so if you’re subdividing an urban piece of land into two residential sites or a rural property for commercial use. It will also depend on your local council’s charges and the complexity of the subdivision. Factors that can affect the total cost of subdivision include:

  • The level of complexity of surveying required.
  • The cost of adding services and access such as water, power and a driveway.
  • The specialist reports and services required from engineers, planners, lawyers and geotechnical surveyors.
  • The cost of surveying, which varies from $7,000-$15,000 according to Green Homes.
  • The cost of council consent and fees which vary according to the scale, complexity and location of the subdivision. Expect to pay on average $35,000 in Auckland, according to Vista Homes.
  • Project management fees, if you’re engaging a professional to help.
  • The intended land use and the scale of subdivision (i.e. there may be some economies of scale if you’re subdividing a large piece of land into several sections).

It’s important to have a realistic estimate of costs when figuring out whether or not subdividing is a good idea. You should also keep in mind that subdividing will most likely decrease the value of your remaining section.

To get a rough estimate of how much your new section and your existing section and/or home will be worth after subdivision it’s a great idea to look at recent sales of similar sized sections and/or similar homes. That way you can go into your subdivision knowing that your efforts and expenses will be worthwhile.

Talk to an expert early in the process to ensure you're on the right track.

Can I subdivide my property?

Whether or not you can subdivide your property depends on countless factors. That includes:

  • The zoning of your property. For example, in Christchurch character areas sections must be a minimum of 600 sqm in RS zones and 400 sqm in RSDT and RMD zones. In single housing zones in Auckland, all sections must also be 600 sqm minimum, but they can be as small as 300 sqm in mixed housing urban zones. Keep in mind that in order to be subdividable, your property must be at least double the minimum section size in its zone. Visit your council’s website to find out your property’s zoning.
  • Whether the building platform on the subdivided section is suitable for a new home (i.e. if it’s prone to flooding or has stability issues).
  • Whether it’s possible for the new section to be connected to services such as power, water, stormwater and wastewater.
  • If it’s possible for vehicles to access the new subdivision.

If you’re serious about subdividing, the best first step is to find the zone of your property and figure out whether your section is big enough. Next, it’s a great idea to engage a licensed surveyor in your area, who can tell you whether or not subdivision is feasible and what the next steps are.

While subdivision is a lot more difficult and expensive than most realise, it can be a great way to turn a profit or build a nest egg if the numbers add up. If you’re keen to subdivide, take great care to ensure that the expense will pay off in the end and consult qualified professionals who can help you make smart decisions, from surveyors and lawyers to financial advisors with subdivision experience.

*We hope this article has provided some helpful information. It's based on our experience and is not intended as a complete guide. Of course, it doesn’t consider your individual needs or situation and it is not financial advice. If you are considering a subdivision make sure you speak to a qualified expert for advice first.


Ben Tutty
Ben Tutty

Ben Tutty is a regular contributor for Trade Me and he's also contributed to Stuff and the Informed Investor. He's got 10+ years experience as both a journalist and website copywriter, specialising in real estate, finance and tourism. Ben lives in Wānaka with his partner and his best mate (Finnegan the whippet).