A big drop in applications to build new homes reflects a slowdown, says a senior economist, but the fall comes off a record peak.
Figures released by Stats NZ on Friday showed the number of new homes consented in 2023 fell by a quarter to 37,239.
The agency said 2022 was a record-setter, with nearly 50,000 new homes approved, the highest-ever number of consents for a calendar year.
But principal economist at Infometrics Brad Olsen said residential construction was still above pre-pandemic levels.
"Of course we have seen house prices have fallen from the highs they were previously, finance is harder to get because interest rates are higher and most importantly building costs are up significantly - it now costs 41 percent more now than it did pre-pandemic to build a residential house."
Olsen said it was becoming harder for builders to find future work.