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NZ building consents rise to five-year high in April, bolstered by apartments, retirement units

Thursday 30th May 2013

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New Zealand's new building consents rose to a five-year high last month as new apartments and retirement village units added to the weight of pending construction permits.

Building consents 43 percent to 1,755 in April from the same month a year earlier, the most in a month since April 2008, according to Statistics New Zealand. Seasonally adjusted, residential consents rose 19 percent to 1,779 last month. Stripping out the typically volatile apartment season, consents were still up a seasonally adjusted 13 percent to 1,603.

Consents were up across all of the major centres, with Hawke's Bay the only region to issue fewer new dwelling permits compared to April 2012.

Some 17,922 new dwellings have been issued building consents in the 12 months ended April 31, worth $6.66 billion. That's 21 percent more consents issued than a year earlier, at a 26 percent greater value.

The figures come after Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler gave the heating housing market another serve in a speech this morning as property values threaten to reach bubble-territory, putting the country's financial stability at risk.

Wheeler said the government's plans to speed up the consenting process should help Auckland supply issues, and "demand for housing could also be moderated by changing the tax treatment of housing to reduce its attractiveness as an investment to other assets."

The value of non-residential building consents rose 35 percent to $308 million in April from the same month a year earlier, and was 6.9 percent higher on an annual basis at $3.95 billion.

All building work, including residential, non-residential, alterations and additions, rose 41 percent to $954 million in April from the same month a year earlier, and was up 18 percent at $10.61 billion.

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