News & Research

Building Consents: Where we’re at

09 April 2018

The number of building consents issued in Auckland remains strong. Despite a minor drop in the monthly trend series, the annual pace of growth has accelerated to 15%.

At first glance, these are pleasingly high - but the shortfall of housing currently facing NZ’s largest city will take several years to be eroded. Controversy continues to swirl around the government’s KiwiBuild initiative and it remains to be seen how much of a true net boost it will provide to Auckland’s housing stock. 

After all, KiwiBuild will absorb labour resources that would otherwise have been available to build private sector-funded houses: which, for an industry already running at capacity, is a potential issue. 

Post-Earthquake, construction workers flooded into Canterbury. If they haven’t already done so, perhaps those same workers will be considering a shift North? Certainly, Christchurch has subdued market activity levels and soft housing values (the quarterly change was essentially zero in February, and values have dipped by 1% compared with a year ago).

In fact, the number of new residential building consents in Christchurch over the past 12 months (2,493) has been 21% lower than the previous year. Although there are signs that Christchurch’s ‘new norm’ for residential construction is higher than it was pre-2011, that’s still a sharp decline in activity. And it’s not alone: the easing in building consents elsewhere around NZ could be Auckland’s win: freeing up some much needed construction force.

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