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NZ building consents lift in February

NZ building consents lift in February, led by new townhouses, flats and units

By Rebecca Howard

March 29 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential building consents lifted in February bolstered by consents for new townhouses, flats, units, and apartments.

Seasonally adjusted consents increased 5.7 percent on the month in February to 2,587, with new permits for houses rising 2 percent to 1,765, Statistics New Zealand said.

In the year to the end of February, the figures show new permits for residential property rose 3.6 percent to 31,245, led by a 29 percent gain in apartment consents to 3,166 and a 12 percent gain in townhouses, flats and units to 5,077. Retirement units were up 5.3 percent versus the prior year to 1,950 while new housing permits shrank 1.3 percent to 21,052 in the 12-month period.

"Growth in the last 12 months has been driven by multi-unit dwellings, such as apartments and townhouses," construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. According to the statistics agency, building consents for new townhouses, flats, and units were at a 23-year high in the year ended February.

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 strong population growth.

That has spurred property prices to record highs, although Reserve Bank restrictions on highly-leveraged mortgage lending and the prospect of government intervention helped curb demand.

In the 12 months to February, the annual floor area consented for residential buildings rose 0.6 percent to 5.51 million square metres, while the value of new dwellings permitted climbed 10 percent on the year to $11.7 billion.

The floor space of non-residential building consents rose 13 percent to 3 million square meters in the year to February while the value gained 11 percent to $20.4 billion.



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