Value of building consents in Nelson at a high since 2008
Building is booming in Nelson with the building consents value the highest it's been since 2008 and builders are having to turn away work.
The value of issued building consents increased to $170.5 million in the year to June in Nelson. This compares to $108.1m for the 2015/2016 financial year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Residential building consents increased in value to $104.3m to June, up from $71.1m for the previous year.
New Zealand Certified Builders Nelson president Garry Nott said his members were "very busy".
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He said everyone was swamped with work and people should prepare to wait for a good builder.
"I think going forward it's going be hard to find good quality workers.
"We're committed to training [new builders] but we can only take on so many."
Nott said he thought building consent value hadn't seen its highest peak just yet.
"I think they're are going to get even higher."
He suggested people should involve builders early in the planning process rather than leaving it until last.
Nott is the co-owner of Tasman Homes co-owner and said business was "very good".
"We're sort of at that point where we've started to say to people ... we can't get to that until next year," he said.
"We're booked out for the next six months solid."
Nelson's Endeavour Homes co-director Kevin Satherley said there was a shortage of builders in Nelson and he "only just had enough" to meet the demand he was receiving to build new homes.
He said the impact of the building boom was only recently becoming apparent.
"In the last six months or so we've really start to feel it.
"There is just so much work on, all the builders are just so busy, our biggest problem is just the lack of sections.
"Everywhere you're looking sections are sold, you just wonder where all these people are coming from."
Satherley said the lack of affordable flat sections made it difficult for small building companies such as his own to compete with the larger companies in the region, which seemed to be "just snapping up everything".
Tasman District Council communications manager Chris Choat said its figures showed the value of building consents for new residential dwellings as well as commercial buildings in Tasman was down 19 per cent for the year to June to $153.7m, compared with $190.2m for the year before.
The value of residential building consents in Tasman year to June was down 18 per cent to $122m, compared with $149m the year before.
Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said a 58 per cent growth in building activity in Nelson was "huge and very challenging for our building industry".
"The unusual feature is that we have strong investment in residential buildings simultaneously with commercial building activity.
"We have had Nelson building capacity diverted to Christchurch to support the earthquakes, where we now have major companies pulling all their resources back to Nelson to support this growth."
Smith said increasing the supply of houses was "the number one solution" to making Nelson housing more affordable.
"The biggest concern as a local MP and minister of building and construction is the lack of affordable sections."
Smith said large building companies scooping up sections in bulk when they become available was something that "could never be completely controlled".
He said there had also been an "increasing amount of interest" from people in town houses and apartments closer to Nelson.
"That's a good thing, but they do tend to be quite pricey."
Smith said "the building boom" figures included building consents for existing buildings that required earthquake strengthening under the new Government laws.