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New Zealand building consents extend gains in August

Friday 30th September 2011

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New Zealand building consents rose for a fourth month, boosted by a boom in applications for temporary structures to house Christchurch residents made homeless by the February earthquake.

The number of new dwellings excluding apartments authorised in the month rose 16% to a 1,210 on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to July, according to Statistics New Zealand.

That was bolstered by 57 earthquake related consents, 50 of which were for relocatable dwelling units, although the department said the data now suggests that an upward trend in the series has formed albeit off a very low base.

Once the volatile apartment category is factored in, building consents rose 12.5% to 1,357 in August, with 179 apartment units approved in the month, including 102 assisted living apartments at retirement village complexes.

"These increasing trends follow some of the lowest levels of new dwellings authorised since these series began," said government statistician Geoff Bascand in a statement today. "Also the variable numbers for apartments and earthquake-related dwellings in recent months have resulted in a less than stable trend than normal."

Compared to the same month a year ago, the number of new dwellings excluding apartments rose 11% to 1,330 in August, while 179 new apartments were approved, up 25%.

The bulk of that was accounted for by the South Island, with 141 units approved in the month, representing a gain of 38% on the same month a year ago, while 138 units were approved on the North Island, up 16%.

The value of non-residential building consents was $277 million for the year ending August 31, down 6.2% on the previous year, with social, cultural and religious buildings accounting for the biggest decline, down $18 million in the year.

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