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November NZ building consents dwindle

Tuesday 10th January 2012

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New Zealand building consents issued dwindled in November as the number of approvals in the South Island almost halved from a year earlier.

The number of new dwellings approved, excluding volatile apartment consents, fell a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent to 1,095 in November compared to the same month a year earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. Including apartments, the number of issuances fell 6.4 percent to 1,187.

The decline was led by a 92 percent fall in South Island issuance to 419 new dwellings approved, and a 35 percent drop in consents issued in Wellington. Auckland approvals continued to rise, up 19 percent to 430 in November.

“Overall consent issuance remains very low and points to ongoing weakness in construction activity over the start of 2012,” said Jane Turner, economist at ASB. “We expect underlying demand for housing construction to pick up, reflecting the current tightness in the housing market (particularly in Auckland).”

The country’s biggest city has been a beacon for the property market, with improving demand for new housing. The number of house sales climbed 17 percent in November according to Real Estate Institute data, with buyers shrugging off the malaise that set in through most of 2011 and much of 2010.

The actual number of new dwellings approved has dropped 15 percent to 1,384 in the 12 months ended Nov. 30, and is down 17 percent to 1,275 if apartments are stripped out.

"Although housing trend numbers continue to rise, seasonally adjusted figures are still volatile," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said in a statement. "Figures dipped in November, the third change in direction in as many months."

The value of non-residential building consents sank 14 percent to $415 million in November compared to the same month a year earlier, led by a 65 percent fall in issuances for new factories and industrial buildings to $36 million. That’s down an annual 7.4 percent to $8.48 billion from a year earlier.

The value of total authorisations approved fell 7 percent to $954 million in the month of November, and is down 11 percent to $8.83 billion on an annual basis.

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