11 Jan 2019

Drop in new home building consents

2:25 pm on 11 January 2019

The number of new homes consented in November dipped following a rise in October.

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Close to 33,000 homes were consented in the year to November 2018. Photo: Wikimedia commons

Stats NZ figures show building consents for the month dropped a seasonally adjusted 2 percent compared to the month before.

The drop erases the 1.4 percent of gains made in October, and then some.

Looking at national trends, close to 33,000 homes were consented in the year to November 2018, up 5.3 percent on the previous year.

Stats NZ construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said activity in Auckland remained the main driver.

"We saw a sustained increase in apartments, as well as townhouses, flats, and units, particularly in Auckland."

However, stand-alone houses still account for nearly two-thirds of new homes consented over the year, she said.

Consents numbers in Auckland for the preceding 12 months slipped back from October's record highs, to just below 13,000.

Westpac Chief Economist, Dominick Stephens.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens Photo: Wespac Bank

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said volatility in the numbers was not something to be concerned about.

"It's very much concentrated in the multiple dwelling so things like apartments and townhouse and concentrated in Auckland. Look these can be quite lumpy and volatile month to month."

Commenting on the year to November figures, Mr Stephens said it had been a bumper year for consents for apartments and townhouses in Auckland and that would lead to higher building activity levels in early 2019.

"Beyond that though I'd expect growth in the construction sector to tail off, population growth in New Zealand is slowing and building work has really ramped up. What we're doing now really is building enough houses to keep up with population growth."

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