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May Building Consents Third Highest In Three Years

The increasing number of consents issued for new homes - May's figure was the third highest in the past three years - shows the extremely high level of consumer confidence in the economy, says Registered Master Builders' Federation chief executive Trevor Allsebrook.

"We are currently seeing monthly figures not seen since 1997, when the economy was extremely strong but subsequently slipped a little," he says, "We've now had a year of interest rates of around 6 percent, and those sustained low rates are really encouraging people to make the investment in new homes - usually the biggest investment in a person's life.

"People don't lay out that sort of money unless they are confident of the general well-being of the country, and they obviously are."

May figures from Statistics New Zealand show that 2,377 consents were issued for new dwellings. Apartments were a major contributor - 373 of them. The May figure compares with 1,637 in May 1998 and, apart from the 2,400 consents issued in March, is the highest monthly total since September 1997, and the third highest in the past three years.

Mr Allsebrook says the May figures also go against the tendency for consent numbers to drop as winter approaches.

"People often hunker down over winter, waiting until the warmer months before getting into new home building. The latest figures, therefore, show just how vibrant the economy - and public confidence in it - is these days."

ENDS....

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