Building consents for September took a strong jump up, rising almost 8 per cent, compared with August, supported by rebuilding in Canterbury after last year's earthquake.
In September 1,520 new homes and flats were consented nationally, including 186 apartments according to Statistics NZ. Of those 115 were retirement village units.
The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented, including apartments, increased 7.8 per cent. Excluding apartments, there was a 5.6 per cent increase in new homes.
Earthquake-related consents identified in Canterbury totalled $58 million, including 34 new homes.
ASB Bank economists said the recovery in house-building activity looked set to continue, underpinned by rebuilding activity in Canterbury, while the underlying trend was improving in other regions, too.
“However, recent activity indicators suggest some patchiness in rebuilding, with firms in the construction sector noting weak activity more recently,” ASB said.
Rebuilding in Canterbury was expected to gain more steam later this year and provide a boost to construction activity, which will likely lead to capacity pressures in the sector. But ASB said for now there was little urgency for the Reserve Bank to react, with official cash rates likely to remain on hold at 2.5 per cent till September 2013.
In August, 1513 houses and flats were consented, up 1.9 per cent on July, seasonally adjusted.
Consent numbers had been slowly rising since the middle of the year, after racing up in March, by almost 20 per cent, then falling back again in the following two months.
The house building sector is gradually recovering from a dire year in 2011, when just 13,000 homes and flats were consented- about half the levels seen in 2007.
Economists estimate New Zealand needs about 20,000 new homes a year to meet demand. But during the peak of the housing boom in 2003-2005, about 30,000 homes a year were consented.
The trend for building consent s rose during much of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, but has eased in recent months.
In September 2012 compared with September 2011:
- Canterbury and Auckland regions had the largest increases in the number of new dwellings consented, up 176 and 152, respectively.
- The value of residential building consents rose 45 per cent, to $577 million.
- The value of non-residential building consents fell 1.8 per cent, to $314 million.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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