1 Dec 2010

Slump in construction sector continues

5:54 am on 1 December 2010

Building consents for new houses fell for the fourth month in a row in October.

The 1070 consents issued was the lowest number for new houses since July last year, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

The pace of the decline is lessening, however, as the fall over the month of 1.1%, which excludes apartments, was the smallest drop in the past four months.

The slump in the market for apartments was again evident in consents issued.

Just 24 consents were given for new apartments across the country in October, down from the 60 issued in September, and 103 issued the same month a year ago.

Non-residential consents also fell in October, after three months of gains, rounding out a miserable month for builders.

Registered Master Builders chief executive Warwick Quinn says the sector should be worried, as the non-residential work held up well in the recession last year.

But he says some improvement is likely, because of rebuilding work following the earthquake in Canterbury, and the Government's weathertight funding package, which will kick in next year.