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Statistics NZ: Estimate Of New Dwelling Units

Estimate of New Dwelling Units: January 2000

Fall in Number of New Dwellings Statistics New Zealand reported today that the estimated number of new dwelling units authorised for construction in January was 1,492, the lowest monthly total since October 1998.

January is traditionally a low month for new dwelling consents, partly due to council offices being closed throughout the new year period. However, the January 2000 total is the lowest January total since 1994. The latest figure is a sharp decline on monthly totals recorded throughout 1999, when low interest rates and high consumer conficence pushed the number of new dwelling units authorised to above 2,000 in all but three months.

The underlying trend has been declining for six months following an 11-month period of positive movement. The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings also fell 4.6 per cent in January 2000.

A number of territorial authorities recorded their lowest monthly totals in several years. These include Christchurch City with 63 new dwellings, Nelson City with just 2 new dwellings and Wellington City with 41 new dwellings authorised. Uncertainty about rising interest rates may be a contributing factor to the low total in January. Reports of a downturn in the real estate market may also be influencing the level of consents for new dwellings. According to Real Estate Institute figures the number of houses sold in December was at its lowest in eight years. Against the downward trend for the estimated number of new dwellings authorised are North Shore and Waitakere, which both recorded fairly strong totals.

Ian Ewing
Deputy Government Statistician

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