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The number of new dwellings consented in April rose almost 30% on a year ago, but Otago and Southland were relatively flat in both numbers and value.
Based on Statistics New Zealand actual consented numbers, not seasonally adjusted, nationwide house numbers rose 29.6% from 2106 last year to 2729 and overall values were up 19.7% from $795 million to $952 million.
Infometrics economist Mieke Welvaert said the ''whopping'' almost 30% increase was partly due to the timing of Easter, but the consent growth had been strong across both March and April at 16%, against the same two months last year.
''This lift improves on the meager single digit increases we've seen during the previous 12-months,'' she said in a statement.
Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes moved only slightly, the former down to 27 consents and latter up at 78. Dunedin rose from 30 to 44 consents.
The value of Otago consents rose 4.6% from $64 million to $67 million, while Southland dipped from $5 million to $4 million.
Ms Welvaert said the 29.6% gain was the largest annual increase in almost five years.
She said around the South Island most regions saw consent numbers fall, compared with March-April last year.
The post-rebuild drop in Canterbury saw consents over March-April decline 2.5%. Levels in Otago, the West Coast and Nelson fell between 20% and 53%.
While the combined results of March-April were a positive surprise, Ms Welvaert cautioned that credit restriction and land constraints would limit consent growth during the year ahead.
Across the South Island, consent numbers rose from 578 to 629 and values were up from $214 million to $221 million.