The owners of 10,000 earthquake-damaged properties should know their fate in three months, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) says.
The announcement of a Government buyout package last month gave options to owners of the 5100 red-zone properties hit hardest by the quakes that have rocked Canterbury since September's magnitude-7.1 quake.
They were mainly riverside areas, including Bexley, Avonside, Dallington and Avondale, as well as Kairaki Beach.
But 10,500 owners in the orange zone were left in limbo, with their properties requiring further assessment. The areas included Kaiapoi, Pines Beach, Brooklands, Spencerville, Parklands and Queenspark.
Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said most engineering work should be completed over the next two to three months, unless there were further damaging aftershocks.
He said it was too early to give firm indications, but Cera would contact property owners this month with a clearer time frame.
"We'll be progressively informing homeowners with insurance in the various areas of the orange zone whether they have been reclassified into the green or red zone as this work is completed.
"Some properties in smaller clusters of orange- zone areas may need to be dealt with on an individual basis, so it may take a bit longer to inform them of the outcome of the reclassification in those cases."
Inner-city riverside residents, many of them in the orange zone, met Sutton on Monday night.
Christchurch Central Labour MP Brendon Burns said residents were keen to know if the central city Avon Loop might be an early area for remediation.
"The response was that he [Sutton] wants to release orange zones as the geotechnical decisions are made, followed by localised explanations by the engineers, rather than one grand announcement," he said.