Could modular apartments ease the housing crisis?

An artist's impression of what the Citiblox apartment complexes might look like (Supplied)
An artist's impression of what the Citiblox apartment complexes might look like (Supplied)

A Wellington property developer's talking to the Government about his possible solution to the housing crisis - re-locatable apartments.

The modular, two-bedroom Citiblox apartments will be made in a local factory, taken to the site and bolted together, three units high.

The 72 square metre units can also be detached and moved, which means they can be put on vacant Crown land or any other land unavailable for permanent structures.

It's The Wellington Company's director Ian Cassels' $75 million idea to help solve the "chronic shortage" of social and affordable homes.

"There is a shortage of well-priced land for building houses in New Zealand's cities, so this is about using land in a different way."

The first development is slated for a former carpark near Porirua's train station, with six units on site and ready to live in and rented out by mid-2017. The rent for each would range between $300 and $400 a week.

Mr Cassels says he's in talks with the Government about potentially placing 2000 of his Citiblox apartments on vacant Crown land in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

He says the Government is sitting on "massive amounts of land" earmarked for use - possibly decades away.

"If you can use that land in a temporary way, it becomes feasible to put housing on it. While you have to accept that you may have to move them one day, that shouldn't stop you if the units are easy to move.

"It's a quick fix that will lower the cost of living in cities."

The company's been working on the concept for around five years, with a prototype built three years ago.

Construction on a new version is set to be completed in the next three months.

It has nationwide approval by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and speeds up planning development because only land use consents are needed.

Last week, the Government announced it's pop-up solution to the housing crisis to be built on Crown land in Otahuhu. It expects the homes to be ready by February. 

Citiblox units feature: