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NZ building consents rose last month, while apartment approvals sank to lowest since 1995

Tuesday 30th March 2010

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New Zealand’s residential-building consents rose 5.9% to 1,375 units in February from the previous month, in a month characterised by the weakest number of apartments authorized since July 1995.

Apartment numbers typically vary considerably from month to month, but only 13 apartment units were approved in February according to Statistics New Zealand’s building consents issued summary. Apartments contributed 0.9% to the number of new dwellings in February 2010, compared with a monthly average of 10% for the previous 12 months.

The value of residential building consents was $484 million in February, 35% higher than in the same month of 2009. The trend has increased since March 2009, following falls that began in July 2007, and is at levels similar to mid-2008.

“Today’s report should reinforce the RBNZ’s relatively upbeat outlook for residential building activity,” said Darren Gibbs, chief economist at Deutsche Bank. “There is no sign of the recent slowdown in existing home sales impacting the construction sector at this stage.”

Non-residential building consents values were $317 million in February, a 17% decrease compared with February 2009. The largest increase in the 11 building types recorded was in education buildings which jumped $31 million in February compared to Feb. 2009.

For the year ended February 2010 compared with the year ended Feb. 2009 the total value of consents issued for all buildings was $9,616, down $737 million or 7.1%. This was made up of residential buildings at $5,295, down $471 million (8.2%) and non-residential buildings at $4,321 million, down $266 million (5.8%).

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