Lack of land cutting down city builds

A lack of land is the cause of a lull in new building consents issued in Palmerston North, with home builders opting for outlying areas, experts say.

Residential and non-residential consents fell by 7.2 per cent in Palmerston North for the three months to June, according to data released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand.

The Manawatu District saw 5 per cent growth during the same period.

Palmerston North City Council economic policy adviser Peter Crawford said lack of land availability in the city could be the reason for the drop.

He said in the past several years there had been a trend where if Palmerston North consents had dropped, Manawatu District had risen, and vice versa.

Craig Seton, from Mortgage Link Manawatu, said he had seen a decline in clients looking to build in the city.

"We've seen a bit of a lull in enthusiasm for build at the moment."

He said the price of land could be the drawcard for home builders looking to go further afield.

Colin Duckett, of Duckett Architecture, said there had been an increase in clients building in places like Hawke's Bay and Levin.

Clients had previously been more keen to go with Palmerston North.

Nationally, building consents issued for new houses hit a five-year high in the June 2013 quarter.

A total of 5213 new houses, including apartments, were consented between April and June for the country - the most since the June 2008 quarter.

Looking at the monthly data, 1487 new houses, including apartments, were consented in June. Together, the Auckland and Canterbury regions consented 55 per cent of the national total.

Canterbury earthquake-related building consents were valued at $47 million in June, and included 53 new houses (for the June quarter, consents totalled $155m, including 166 new houses).

Data for building consents is obtained from all territorial authorities in New Zealand.

Manawatu Standard