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The Dunedin City Council released the data yesterday, saying it showed the city was in good economic health.
It comes after construction companies said last week a building boom in Dunedin, led by the University of Otago, and across Otago was making it hard to source skilled employees.
The data showed the council processed 2717 building consents worth $402.5 million last year.
This was a highest number and value in the past six years.
Council community services general manager Simon Pickford said staff issued 18% more building consents than in 2015.
Of the 2717 consents, 403 were for new residential dwellings, totalling $135.6 million.
"The building services team has done an amazing job keeping us within statutory processing timeframes since October, despite such a high number of applications.''
Consents issued included some high-profile developments, such as the university's dental school redevelopment, restoration work on the Dunedin Courthouse and Otago Polytechnic's student accommodation village.
Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie hailed the figures as good news for the city.
"These figures are a real sign of confidence in the market.
"Investment on this scale in Dunedin shows businesses and consumers feel positive about the city and its future.
"The fact that some of this growth is in housing shows people are moving into the city.''
The university last week said construction work on its campuses would provide more than 1000 jobs this year alone.