Rebuild gathering speed, but consent delays a challenge

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 12:09 29/11/2013

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House building in Canterbury is gathering speed, with approvals for new homes jumping 70 per cent in a year.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show 572 new homes got building consent from the region's councils during October, up from 333 in the previous October.

The department's industry and labour statistics manager, Blair Cardno, said approvals in Canterbury had been ''ramping up'' in recent months and now accounted for 30 per cent of the nation's consents.

Auckland was second busiest with 25 per cent.

One Canterbury house builder said business was very brisk, but getting consents and sign-offs was still taking too long.

Horncastle Homes' marketing and sales manager, Simon Davis, said they were seeing demand in all price ranges and last month's restrictions on low-deposit mortgages had had little impact on sales.

''It's hard work getting consents, and its taking too long to get the code of compliance. You can get the house finished but you can't hand it over for up to two weeks.''

The company had doubled its staff in the past year to meet demand. They had plenty of tradespeople, but were struggling to get enough project managers and designers, he said.

The company was seeing a lot of overseas buyers opting for homes in the upper price brackets, especially migrants from China, Davis said.

Nationally, Statistics New Zealand reported building consents worth $1.18 billion were issued for construction in October, of which $739 million was for residential work and $443m for non-residential work.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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