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NZ residential building consents hit highest annual total in more than a decade

Friday 29th July 2016

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New Zealand residential building consents reached their highest annual total in more than a decade, driven by activity in Auckland and surrounding regions.

Seasonally adjusted consents increased 16 percent to 29,097 in the year through June, the highest total for a June year since 2004 and the highest annual total since the April 2005 year, Statistics New Zealand said. For the month of June, new home consents rose 16 percent from May and 35 percent from June last year, the agency said.

Record net migration has been putting pressure on the nation's housing market where a shortage of supply has pushed up prices in Auckland, the country's largest city, and is spreading to surrounding regions. A plan for Auckland housing released this week has proposed the city be more densely populated with a larger urban area and less prescriptive development rules, to help spur construction and ease the shortage.

"After relatively subdued growth over the first half of the year (particularly in Auckland), the number of consents surged in June," ASB Bank senior economist Jane Turner said in a note. "In Auckland, increased consent issuance for townhouses and apartments led the charge highlighting Auckland’s housing shortage needs to be addressed with higher density solutions. The proposed unitary plan could add further to building demand of this type, although any lift in activity will be gradual given capacity constraints already emerging in the building industry." 

In the June month, 12 of 16 regions recorded a rise in building consents issued compared with the year earlier month. Auckland led the increase, with an extra 217 consents, taking the total to 921. Wellington issued 213 extra consents, including 159 retirement village units, taking the total to 275. Waikato issued an extra 128 consents for a total 335, while Bay of Plenty had an additional 101 consents to total 246.

Canterbury consents fell by 77, taking the total to 467, as earthquake rebuilding activity winds down.

Today's figures show the value of building consents rose 42 percent to $1.82 billion in June from the year earlier month. The value of residential buildings increased 30 percent to $1.08 billion, while the value of non-residential buildings jumped 63 percent to $739 million, boosted by a $180 million consent for a new Acute Services Building at Christchurch Hospital.

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