30 Jun 2016

Developers wait for Auckland plan to be finalised

5:04 pm on 30 June 2016

Building consents for houses and apartments are higher than a year ago, but there has been little growth in recent months, according to Statistics New Zealand.

"The trend for new stand-alone houses is increasing, but for all dwellings is flat," business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said.

"Fluctuations in apartments, townhouses, and other dwelling types offset steady growth in stand-alone houses."

A builder installing polystyrene used for insulation and foundation footings on a new home in Upper Hutt.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

In May, 2520 new dwellings were consented, including 1956 new stand-alone houses.

This is the highest monthly number of new houses since August 2007.

Permits eased a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in May, following a 6.8 percent rise in April.

On an annual basis, consents rose up 13 percent to an 11 year high to 28,387, compared with 25,114 in the previous May year.

Most of the growth has been in Auckland and surrounding regions, while Canterbury fell.

Westpac Bank calculates consents in the country's biggest city are running at an annual rate of between 9300 and 9600.

The industry economist at Westpac, David Norman, said that was bad news for a city with a housing shortage.

"But it appears to be the result of developers waiting for the Auckland Unitary Plan to be finalised before proceeding with development," Mr Norman said.

"This hesitancy highlights the need for a speedy finalisation of the plan and clear direction to be provided with regard to development, if the upward trajectory in residential building is to resume soon in the city."

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