Building consents for new homes raced up almost 10 per cent in January, with more new houses planned in Wellington, Auckland and Bay of Plenty.
In the Wellington region, there were 92 consents issued in January, up 51 per cent on the same month last year.
Since the middle of last year, consents in the Wellington region have been running at about 100 a month or better, with 115 issued in December. The value of January consents was $25m for Wellington.
Nationally, the trend for new houses consented has risen 50 per cent since early 2011, Statistics NZ said.
Throughout the country, consents were issued for 1312 new homes, including apartments in January, led by Auckland and Canterbury where housing shortages are most severe.
There were consents for just 58 apartments for the month, though apartment consents tend to jump around sharply from month to month.
Statistics NZ said that seasonally adjusted house consents, excluding apartments were up 9.6 per cent in January, compared with December. But including the weak apartment consents, overall consents were down fractionally, by 0.4 per cent.
House consents, excluding apartments, are back to their highest levels since 2008.
Consents are rising in Auckland where there has been a period of under-building compared with population growth, especially since the 2008-09 recession, Westpac Bank economists said.
"We've seen continuous steady growth in the trend for the number of new houses consented since March 2011. Over 22 months, the trend has increased by 50 per cent," Statistics NZ industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said.
"All of the growth in January 2013, compared with 12 months ago, was from the North Island, with increases in Auckland, Wellington, and Bay of Plenty regions," said Mr Cardno.
Together, Auckland and Canterbury regions continued to contribute over half of all new housing consents, as they have done almost every month since January 2012.
Compared with January a year ago, the 1312 new homes and apartments were up 19 per cent. Excluding apartments, new homes alone were up 39 per cent to 1254. There were 58 new apartment consented in January, down from 198 in January last year.
There were 372 consents issued in Auckland in January, up 140 from January last year. But in Canterbury, the 378 consents were down 1 from the same month last year.
- The Dominion Post
If you had a choice, which would you prefer on Christmas day?Related story: Sun takes a Christmas holiday