New Home Consents Down From 45-year High
The number of new homes consented in the March 2020 year was 37,606, down slightly from 37,882 in the February 2020 year, Stats NZ said today.
The March 2020 year figure is nearly 9 percent higher than that for the year to March 2019.
On a monthly basis, the number of new homes consented fell 8.7 percent in March 2020 compared with March 2019.
“The drop in new homes consented for March may partly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and some councils had difficulties issuing consents at the end of March,” acting construction indicators manager Dave Adair said.
Two councils were unable to provide all their consents in time to be included in this release. The effect is small (less than 1 percent) and the series will be revised in the April release. The effect of COVID-19 on building consents will be clearer in future releases.
Broader insights into the implications of COVID-19 on the construction industry will be provided by 'Value of building work put in place' results in the coming quarters. This may include insights into project delays, cancellations, and the total value of work put in place.
Seasonally adjusted number of new homes consented falls
The seasonally adjusted number of new homes consented in March 2020 fell 21 percent, the biggest drop since October 2008. This follows a strong February month, which rose 5.7 percent from January.
Seasonally adjusted figures aim to remove the effects of seasonality, although they can be significantly affected by the timing of large multi-unit projects, such as townhouses and apartment buildings. This often leads to volatility in the series, and results should be interpreted with caution.