Cantabrians marking the second anniversary of the deadly 2011 earthquake today can reflect on a city that has changed forever and is still evolving.
Residents have endured more than 10,528 aftershocks since the first quake struck in the early hours of September 4, 2010 - the most violent of which was the 6.3 magnitude killer that claimed 185 lives on February 22, 2011.
More than 900 commercial buildings have been demolished in the CBD, with almost 500 private dwellings torn down in the red zone suburbs.
Housing prices have soared in a tight property market and rents have climbed sharply as displaced people seek temporary accommodation and workers flock to the city for the rebuild.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee officially announced the start of the $30 billion rebuild this month, saying the focus was now on development rather than recovery and demolition.
Subdivisions are rising in Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn to cater for a huge demand for new housing.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand regional director Tony McPherson said the quakes dramatically altered the city's property market dynamics.
He said values were soaring, fuelled mainly by a "tight supply'' of available homes, with buyers looking for houses in potentially safer northern and western suburbs that escaped with little damage.
Mr McPherson said there was "very strong demand'' from red-zoned property owners, people relocating to Christchurch to work on the rebuild and first-home buyers looking to get into the market.
Latest figures from property valuation company Quotable Value show Christchurch values have risen 7.1 per cent in the last 12 months, with the average property value reaching $404,004.
Mr McPherson said buyers initially flocked to the least affected areas of the city and out to the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts following the quakes.
"We're now seeing sales occurring right across throughout Christchurch including enclaves in some of the more affected areas,'' he said.
"A lot of red zoners are preferring to stay close to those areas because of school and family ties, and sales are returning.''
But the most popular suburbs were in the north and west of the city with a "strong market'' in Halswell, Prebbleton, Hornby, Hei Hei, Avonhead, Burnside, Bishopdale, Harewood, Papanui and Northwood.
"Demand is currently outstripping supply.''
Early talk of the city losing as much as 10 per cent of its population hadn't eventuated, Mr McPherson said.
Rev Mike Colman, who represents many of the hardest hit eastern suburbs residents with housing, welfare and insurance issues through the Wider Earthquake Community Action Network, said he would spend the day in "quiet reflection''.
"I'm feeling a lot of empathy with those who lost loved ones two years ago in a surreal and traumatic day for everyone''.
He acknowledged the results of a recent Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority survey this week showing 70 per cent of Cantabrians were happy with their lot.
But he said that indicated 30 per cent of the population - some 120,000 people - were still struggling to come to terms with the huge disruption forced on their lives.
"There's still a lot more work to do - more than people think.''
Top 10 shakes:
Sept 4, 2010 4.35am
11km deep, magnitude 7.10
June 13, 2011 2.20pm
6.9km deep, magnitude 6.41
Feb 22, 2011 12.51pm
6km deep, magnitude 6.34
Dec 23, 2011 3.18pm
7km deep, magnitude 6.00
Feb 22, 2011 2.50pm
6.6km deep, magnitude 5.91
June 13, 2011 1pm
8.9km deep, magnitude 5.89
Sept 9, 2010 4.44am
5km deep, magnitude 5.87
Sept 4, 2010 4.37am
10km deep, magnitude 5.85
Dec 12, 2011 1.58pm
9.6km deep, magnitude 5.85
Feb 22, 2011 1.04pm
5.9km deep, magnitude 5.84
Source: Canterbury Quake Live
- 7000 over cap (major repair or rebuild) claims in greater Christchurch
- 20,000 non-EQC claims
- 22 per cent of over cap claims completed
- 22 per cent of non-EQC claims completed or settled
- 30 per cent of over cap claims in construction
- 73 per cent of business interruption claims settled
- 57 per cent of commercial material damage claims settled
- 125 new homes built
- Major repairs completed on 50 homes
- 588 new homes and 824 major repair at some stage of construction
- 275 "active" TC3 claims
- 400 geotechnical assessment completed on TC3 properties
By the numbers:
- 941 demolitions completed in CBD
- 483 completed in suburbs
- 6659 residential red zone owners signed sale agreements with Government
- 5479 residential owners settled with Crown
- 350 properties sought by Crown for Christchurch Central Recovery Plan
- 27 property owners signed purchase contracts for CCRP
- Another 20 property owners given agreement in principle
- 215 properties under negotiation
- $602.5 million in building work under way as at September 2012 -- 45.6 per cent up on same time in 2010
Source: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
Red Cross assistance:
- $128 million raised
- $82 million distributed in grants
- 95,708 grant recipients
- $6 million spent on recovery programmes
- $4 million committed to recovery programmes
- $14 million for new grants and programmes
- 3141 outreach contacts
- 5163 door-knocks
- 42,640 torch radiosdistributed
- 4500 winter warmer packs distributed.
- 91 volunteers
Source: Red Cross