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The population for the city council area is projected to exceed 142,000 in 2034 before a slower growth rate takes the population to more than 145,500 in 2054.
It means a medium-growth scenario for the decade to 2034 will probably be discarded by the Otago Regional Council tomorrow, because a high-growth scenario will be needed to plan for housing capacity.
It will also have implications for the Dunedin City Council as it formulates its draft 2024-34 long-term plan.
The two councils have joint responsibility for completing a housing and business capacity assessment every three years as both prepare their long-term plans.
Higher-than-expected migration numbers are behind the revision.
"Since December 2022, when Stats NZ released projected population growth and demographic changes for Dunedin, New Zealand has experienced much higher migration rates than expected," a report for the regional council said.
The revised scenario — high growth followed by medium growth — should ensure the city has enough land for housing capacity from short term to long term.
The city council has already endorsed that approach.
It commented in September risks of underestimating growth included inadequate provision of council services and "a potential follow-on impact on the attractiveness of Dunedin to new residents and visitors".
An Infometrics report for the quarter to September commented on data from Statistics NZ, which showed Dunedin’s population grew 1.1% in the year to June this year — the city’s fastest since 2017.
"Strong internal and international net migration boosted population growth this year, enabling strong employment growth."
Dunedin’s economy had grown by 2% in the 12 months to September, outpacing national growth of 1.7%, Infometrics concluded from provisional GDP estimates.
Employment of Dunedin residents grew 2% in the year to September.
The city had been buoyed by growth in public administration, health, manufacturing and transport, Infometrics said.
The firm observed "Dunedin’s housing market appears to be approaching a floor", as there had been a slowing in a decline of estimated value of houses.
"House sale volumes have stabilised at just over 400 per quarter.
"Consents are coming off recent highs, but the 125 new dwellings consented in the September 2023 quarter are still above the city’s long-term average."
A forecasting assumption by the city council included expectations construction would continue of Dunedin’s new hospital and ACC offices, and renewal of infrastructure would be needed.
Over the next decade, coastal Otago was expected to have at least $3.3 billion put into construction projects.
Source: Dunedin City Council