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NZ home building consents drop 4 percent in June, quarterly growth still at 5-year high

Tuesday 30th July 2013

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New Zealand new home building consents fell in June though the decline wasn't enough to prevent growth in the second quarter from reaching a five-year high, government figures show.

New dwelling consents fell 4 percent, seasonally adjusted, in June from May, when they gained 1 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand. The latest two months followed a 21 percent surge in April, which accounted for the strong quarterly showing. In the 12 months ended June 30, consents were up 25.5 percent from a year earlier.

This month Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler linked the heated housing and construction market with the timing of interest rate hikes, saying his response would "depend largely on the degree to which the growing momentum in the housing market and construction sector spills over into inflation pressures." More imminent will be the release of central bank constraints on high loan-to-value mortgages, part of its enlarged toolkit for tackling bubbles in the economy.

In the June quarter, there were 5,213 new dwellings consented including apartments, the highest since the second quarter of 2008. Excluding apartments, there were 4,620 new dwellings consented, the highest since March 2008.

The government statistician's trend series for new homes including apartments has increased for 27 straight months.

Excluding apartments, which can be a volatile part of the data series, new dwelling consents fell a seasonally adjusted 4.5 percent in June from May.

Auckland and Canterbury retained their dominance of the national data, at 822 new dwellings last month, or 55 percent of the national total. In Auckland, consents jumped by 189 to 453 in June from the same month last year, though they were down 28 percent compared to May this year. In Canterbury the number rose 73 from a year earlier to 369.

The value of total residential building consents was $531 million in June, down from $726 million in May. Non-residential consents were worth $269 million, down from $434 million in May.

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