Building and Construction

Annual residential building consents hold at over 30,000 in May

Tuesday July 04, 2017 Hugh Dixon

The 12-month running total for residential building consents stood at 30,571 in May 2017.  Year-on-year, residential building consents were up eight percent with consents for residential housing in Wellington, Auckland, Otago and Waikato leading the way.  Canterbury and Gisborne saw a slowdown, with consents down in May 2017 compared to May 2016.  Annualised totals, as shown in the figure below, indicate that consents could potentially hit the 31,000 mark in June 2017, and are well ahead of the 29,100 consents witnessed in the 12 months to June 2016


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The current level of residential consents will need to be maintained across a sustained period to allow the residential housing numbers to catch up from the very low activity seen in 2009, 2012 and 2011. 


The figure below shows that Auckland new house consents have been increasing at a fairly steady pace since May 2011.  At the same time Canterbury which had been steady increasing its new house consents since May 2011, has been in decline since February 2015.  The rest of New Zealand has seen a rapid increase in housing consents over the last two years.



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It is likely that the pace of residential building consents will pick up in Auckland across the next year as the Auckland Unitary Plan takes full effect.  This plan allows for much larger scale of subdivision among existing housing stocks, compared to the previous Auckland zoning plans, which could lead to a large rush in building consents. 


The 12-month running totals for non-residential building consents has held steady, as shown in the figure below.  In the 12-months to May 2017, 11,133 new consents were issued, up very slightly from the 11,058 consents issued in the 12-months to May 2016.  Hotels and other short-term accommodation lead the way in building consent growth, followed by farm buildings and storage buildings.  Hostels, boarding houses, and shops, restaurants, and taverns lead the decline in building consents across the last 12 months. 


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Farm buildings annual growth to May 2017 for the number of consents was almost six percent, at the same time the total floor area of these consents declined by 13.5 percent, as shown in the figure below.  In total the floor area of consented farm buildings has been declining since March 2015, when annual consents hit 1.1 million square meters of floor area.  In the last 12 months just 690,000 square meters of farm buildings were consented.   


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