Canterbury and Auckland drive housing increase

The Canterbury rebuild boosted consents for new dwellings during 2013 by 26% and residential and commercial spending was up 20%, to more than $12 billion, during the year.

The 21,300 new dwelling consents during 2013 was a six-year high, according to data released by Statistics New Zealand yesterday.

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith welcomed the consent figures of 21,300 new houses during the year, especially in Auckland where housing supply was under the most pressure.

The Auckland Housing Accord signed in October set a target of 9000 new houses consented in its first year and 1959 consents, or 22% of the target, was achieved in the first quarter to December, he said.

''As the earthquake rebuild gains momentum, building consents in Christchurch, at 2542 for the 2013 year, are at their highest level in six years.

This will help to return Christchurch's housing stock to pre-earthquake levels and ease pressure on its rental and temporary accommodation markets,'' Dr Smith said in a statement.

During the year, all building work was up 20%, to $12.08 billion. Residential was up 28% at $7.9 billion and non-residential up 6.9% to $4.17 billion.

New dwelling consents rose in nine of the 16 regions, including Otago which rose from just below 1000 in 2012, to about 1100.

However, Otago and Taranaki featured in the data for having the two largest decreases in non-residential consents of the 16 regions, both down by $29 million each, or 16% in Otago to $147 million and 27% down in Taranaki to $77 million.

Canterbury earthquake-related consents reached $1.4 billion, including 1321 new dwellings.

ASB economist Christina Leung said the strong 47.4% increase in nationwide dwelling consent issuance during 2013 was concentrated in Auckland and Canterbury.

''To the extent the housing supply shortages are particularly acute in Auckland and Canterbury, the continued improvement in dwelling consent issuance in these regions is encouraging,'' she said.

She said dwelling consents continued to rise, as higher house prices encouraged house building demand, but that would raise Reserve Bank concerns about inflation pressure, she said.

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive Warwick Quinn said the overall result was ''certainly a positive one'', showing the Canterbury rebuild was under way and there was momentum in the response to Auckland housing shortages.



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