Housing Consents Wobble On

30 April 2013
Consents for new homes nationally slipped in March from Statistics NZ’s revised February figure and were 5.4% below the level a year ago. Statistics NZ’s trend graph was at a standstill after 2 months of bare movement, which followed a steady rise over the previous 21 months.

What’s next, up or down? Canterbury hit a monthly high with 444 consents, the best in 6 years. The Waimakariri & Selwyn districts recorded their highest monthly tallies since this statistical series began in 1990. The post-quake rebuild – now costed at $40 billion, up $10 billion from the previous estimate – would tell you Canterbury consents should continue at a high level.

Auckland consents looked like settling above 430/month from last September, but have slipped well below that level twice (January you’d expect, March might have been affected by Easter). The 393 March consents were 4 below the unadjusted monthly average for the last year, and well below the 511 in March last year.

However, for all the people who believe Auckland should hit a 30-year average build rate of 13,300 new homes/year in the first year out of a recession, so it can supply 400,000 homes for an anticipated million extra residents in 2041, the news is slightly good.

In the March 2013 year Auckland recorded 4764 consents for new homes (not starts or completions, and not net of demolitions or removals), up 20% from the previous year’s 3976 consents. The Auckland trend, therefore, is upward if a little wobbly.

Elsewhere around the country, consents were mostly down this March compared to a year ago.

The apartment sector had its quietest month since February 2010, recording only 16 consents in March. However, the annual tally of apartments was stronger than in the previous 2 years – 1540 consents, up 13% from 1362 the previous year and up 50% from the 1028 in the March 2011 year.

Nationally, there were 1475 consents for new homes in March, down from the revised tally of 1542 in February and the 1559 in March last year. For the March year, consents were up 19%, from 2 years of totals around 14,600 to a total this time of 17,397.

Around the regions, Northland fell to 54 for the month (66 in March 2012), Waikato was up by 6 to 168, Bay of Plenty fell to 69 (90), Wellington fell to 91 (136) and the South Island outside Canterbury fell to 153 (185).

Around Auckland on the old boundaries, Rodney was up at 88 (71), North Shore was down at 49 (82), Waitakere was down at 61 (69), Auckland City was down at 70 (132), Manukau was down at 66 (112), Papakura was up at 31 (25) and Franklin was up at 28 (19).

The value of all residential construction was up 5% for the month from a year ago to $573 million, and up 24.6% for the year to $6.46 billion ($5.19 billion the previous year).

Consents for non-residential buildings were up 20.4% by value for the month to $365 million, and up 4.1% ($151 million) for the year to $3.87 billion.

The total value of all consents climbed over the $10 billion/year mark last October and was up 14.8% ($1.37 billion) to $10.66 billion for the March year.


bob dey

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