Dunedin house consents double in November

Dunedin building consents doubled in November. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin building consents doubled in November. Photo: Gregor Richardson
New dwelling consents issued in Dunedin during November were more than double those given out  in October, Statistics New Zealand figures confirmed yesterday.

Sixty consents were issued in the city in November compared with 28 in October, in line with a substantial rise in consents issued throughout the country.

ASB senior economist Jane Turner said house building demand was apparently less affected  by the change in government than expected.

In the second half of the year, election uncertainty, capacity constraints, credit conditions and a slowing housing market  constrained house building demand.

"Looking ahead over the next few months, additional uncertainty, as developers await further details of the proposed KiwiBuild plan, may hurt construction demand but this should be a short-lived dip."

ASB expected further growth in Wellington housing construction in the coming year and for Auckland activity to  hold up at very high levels, she said.

Statistics NZ figures showed consents issued in Central Otago fell to 29 in November from 33 in October and in Queenstown-Lakes, consents fell from 108 to 98.

Overall, consents rose to 3262 in November from 2549, the highest total in New Zealand since at least November 2016, when 3005 consents were issued.

Underlying the increase in consent issuance was firmness in Auckland, where there were 10,700 new dwellings consented in the year to November. Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said the November figure was up 5% on the previous year. Some of the rise was due to retirement developments. However, there was also a 23% rise in apartment consents in Auckland over the past year.

"Importantly, if Auckland can sustain the pace we’ve seen in recent months, it will finally start eating into its significant shortfall of housing — albeit, very gradually."

Dwelling consent issuance had also lifted in other parts of the country, including Wellington and Otago, he said.

Consent issued in Canterbury had slowed since the peak of the rebuild. However, it had flattened off at quite healthy levels.

Residential building activity was expected to remain elevated for some time, Mr Ranchhod said.

"However, we continue to expect that building activity will increase at a gradual pace over the next few years.

"As we’ve highlighted for some time, rising costs, as well as difficulties sourcing skilled labour and credit, have provided a brake on activity."

Consents issued in Invercargill rose to 12 in November from eight in October.

Looking at regions, Otago had 198 consents issued in November compared with 186 in October but the value of those consents fell to $76million from $80million.

In November 2016, Otago had 161 consents issued at a value of $70million.

Southland had 24 consents issued in November at a value of $9million. In November 2016, Southland had 49 consents issued at a value of $11million.

Statistics NZ reported Auckland housing consents were at a 15-year high in November and the second-highest level on record in November. November was a seasonally-strong month for consents.

According to ASB’s seasonally-adjusted estimates, Auckland residential building consents were strong in November but well below the high level of consents issued in October 2002 and during late 2003 and early 2004.

Non-residential building consents were volatile on a monthly basis but remained elevated. The lift in the consents had been broad-based across the country.

There were many demand supports for the sector including pressure on accommodation capacity, low vacancy rates for office buildings, strong demand for commercial and industrial properties and earthquake-related works.


At a glance

• New dwelling building consents in November among highest on record

• Consents in Dunedin more than double in November

• Construction may be held back by worker shortage

Non-residential building consents remain elevated

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