NZ residential building consents edge up in January, led by new housing, apartment permits
By Paul McBeth
March 2 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential building consents edged higher in January as permits for new houses, apartments and townhouses made up for a decline in retirement unit applications.
Seasonally adjusted consents increased 0.2 percent in January to 2,445, with new permits for houses rising 3.7 percent to 1,715 and snapping five months of declines, Statistics New Zealand said.
"Stand-alone houses drove the small growth in new home consents in January," construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement. "Home consents have been volatile in recent months but overall, consent numbers are fairly flat, and levels remain below both recent and historic peaks."
New Zealand's residential construction pipeline has been bolstered by a shortfall of housing in the country's biggest city, where a lack of building in the wake of the local finance sector collapse was exacerbated by unexpectedly strong population growth.
That's spurred property prices to record highs, although Reserve Bank restrictions on highly-leveraged mortgage lending and the prospect of government interventions helped curb demand.
Today's figures show new permits for residential property rose 3.7 percent in the year ended Jan. 31 to 31,251, led by a 34 percent gain in apartment consents and a 9.8 percent gain in townhouses, flats and units. New housing permits shrank 0.6 percent in the year to 21,149, accounting for 67.7 percent of all consents, compared to 81.8 percent of all permits five years earlier.
The annual floor area consented rose 0.8 percent to 5.52 million square metres, while the value of new dwellings permitted climbed 9.4 percent to $11.63 billion.
January residential housing permits rose 10 percent to 1,380 from the same month a year earlier, apartments rose 16 percent to 135 and townhouses, flats and units climbed 24 percent to 352, offsetting a 50 percent drop in retirement units to 49.
The floor space of non-residential building consents rose 40 percent to 180,000 square metres in January from a year earlier, while the value gained 42 percent to $479 million. On an annual basis, non-residential floor space consented rose 9.1 percent to 2.0 million square metres for a 9.8 percent increase in value to $6.64 billion.