New Zealand seeing increasing number of new homes being built

Building consents for new dwellings are at a higher level in New Zealand than last year, up 12% in April compared with the same month in 2015.

In seasonally adjusted terms the number increased by 6.6% but growth has eased in recent months, according to the data from Statistics New Zealand.

However, the annual total is still at an 11 year high although most of the growth has been in Auckland and nearby regions, while Canterbury has decreased.

The apartments component has been virtually unchanged over the past year, following strong increases during the previous three years. Houses, town houses, and retirement village units have continued to increase.

The data also shows that the seasonally adjusted value of residential building work in Auckland grew 13% in the first quarter of 2016 quarter compared with the final quarter of 2015.

‘Auckland residential construction topped $1 billion for the first time in the March 2016 quarter, with another half-billion of non-residential work. Every week this quarter about $120 million worth of building work was put in place in Auckland,’ said business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said the country has seen the longest and strongest period of growth in residential construction in its history with four consecutive years of 10% plus growth nationally and 15% plus growth in Auckland.

‘This is important because supply is at the core of New Zealand’s challenges around affordable, social and emergency housing,’ he added.

The value of residential and commercial building work for the year to April of $17.6 billion is an all-time high and 14% up on the previous year.

The sector is on schedule for 85,000 new homes to be built across New Zealand in this term of Parliament, up from 60,000 last term and for an all-time record of 36,000 homes being built in Auckland, which would be the largest in any Parliamentary term.

The figures show a dramatic growth in building activity in the regions. This building boom began in Christchurch in 2012, spread to Auckland in 2014 and is now flowing to centres such as Whangarei, up 53%, Palmerston North up 57%, Queenstown Lakes up 40%.

Activity is also up by 26% in Tauranga and in Hamilton while Auckland has seen growth of 15% but Christchurch is down 9%.

‘We are going to need to maintain this strong growth in building activity to keep up with New Zealand’s population growth, which is the result of record numbers of Kiwis coming home,’ said Smith.

‘We intend to continue to roll out a consistent and considered plan to improve housing supply and affordability,’ he added.