Types of medium-density housing

Medium-density housing includes a range of possible development options, from infill housing through to more comprehensive site redevelopment. The density of these of developments varies significantly and can include:

  • stand-alone dwellings
  • semi-detached or duplex dwellings
  • terraced housing
  • apartments.

Developments can be between one and three storeys with low-maintenance sections. The range of sizes and types of houses give people choices that suit their needs.

This is an example of medium-density housing and some common key features. 

A 3D model of three storey medium-density housing.

Source: McIndoe Urban & Clare Bush Architects, Palmerston North City Council


Successful medium-density development criteria

The proposed suburbs for medium-density residential areas have features that support successful development. These are:

  • a town centre with shopping, services and local employment
  • good access to public transport networks
  • good access to community facilities, schools and open spaces
  • room for new residential development
  • options for developers.

Any new development will fit in with the surrounding neighbourhood, and the local community will have a role in the way it’s managed.


The benefits

Medium-density housing developments have several benefits. They provide:

  • options for new home buyers that suit their needs, such as low-maintenance one- or two-person homes, family homes, or places to retire
  • ownership options for both investors and homeowners
  • a better use of limited land near the town centre
  • compact development that is energy efficient.

There are many ways to build medium-density housing, and each development would respond to the site’s opportunities, restrictions and surroundings.


Medium-density housing in Wellington

There are many examples of high-quality medium-density developments throughout Wellington.

khandallah terraced houses

Terraced housing in Khandallah

rintoul street terrace

Terraced housing in Rintoul Street, Newtown

Regent Park

Townhouses in the Regent Park development on Owen Street, Newtown


Medium-density residential area redevelopments

Semi-detached, terraced and town houses are likely to be a common form of medium-density housing in Wellington.

Semi-detached houses

Semi-detached houses consist of pairs of houses built side by side, sharing one wall. Usually each house is a mirror image of its twin. They often have yards to the front, rear and one side.

Terraced houses

Terraced houses are attached side by side to form a row. They often have front gardens and a private open space to the back. They look the same and share walls on either side. 

Town houses houses

Town houses are attached to side by side. They are sometimes laid out around a courtyard or shared space.

Medium-density housing examples

These images show what medium-density housing could look like. The high-quality houses have low-maintenance sections and are no more than two storeys high.

12 mixed units

  • Two storey homes facing the street
  • Open car parkings hidden behind buildings
  • Variety of building materials used to create unique features
  • Shared surfaces that provide access for pedestrians and vehicles

tawa 24 18 cambridge st


Detached houses in a laneway

  • Two storey houses that blend into the neighbourhood
  • Front house on the section facing the street
  • One shared driveway and onsite parking for each unit
  • Good flow to outdoor areas
  • Privacy between units

laneway detached homes


Detached houses

  • Two storey detached homes facing the street
  • Front yard with planting, a low fence, front path, driveway and carparks that mark the space between the house and the street
  • Low level fences encourage interaction with people passing by on the street
  • Variety of building materials to create visual interest

detached houses


Case studies