New building consents in New Zealand reach highest level since 2007

The annual number of new building consents in New Zealand increased by 26% in 2013 compared to the previous year, taking construction to its highest level since 2007.

The data from Statistics New Zealand shows that the rise was mainly driven by increases in Auckland and Canterbury.
Auckland saw an increase of 38%, Canterbury an increase of 43%, Waikato a rise of 24% and Wellington a rise of 27%. The total value of building work consented in 2013 was $12.1 billion, up 20% from 2012.

December also saw an increase which included a high number of apartments consented in Auckland and a high number of houses consented in Christchurch, according to labour statistics manager Clara Eatherley.

Excluding apartments, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings rose 11% month on month and including apartments the number rose 7.6%.

The trend for the number of new dwellings eased in the middle of 2013, but has been increasing since then.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Nick Smith has announced a new fast track process which has been trialled in a pilot scheme for the Tenancy Tribunal to cut the time taken to resolve rent disputes which will start in February.

‘This fast track initiative will hugely reduce the time it takes to resolve the rent arrears disputes that make up 76% of the 43,000 applications received by the Tenancy Tribunal each year,’ he said.

‘Fast track will allow landlords and tenants who have made a sustainable agreement about repayment of debt to have their agreement formalised by a confirmation conversation rather than a full mediation,’ he explained.

‘The time taken to resolve fast track applications was cut from 12 days to just 48 hours on average during a successful pilot late last year with three of the highest volume Tribunal service users,’ he added.

Smith pointed out that one of the highest volume users is Housing New Zealand (HNZC), which makes nearly 9,000 rent arrears related applications each year. Following the recent pilot, HNZC staff said fast track would save thousands of hours in staff time and significantly reduce case loads.

Over the coming months, fast track will be progressively rolled out to more high volume Tribunal service users, including large property management companies and Territorial Local Authority (TLA) housing providers, with the service eventually being available for all applicants.

‘Fast track will be rolled out nationally in a staged process. Once fully implemented, there will be widespread benefits for tenants and landlords from a more efficient and effective tenancy dispute resolution process,’ added Smith.