Quinn: Building consent activity remains steady

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The latest residential building consent figures show the demand for new residential properties continues to be steady at a monthly building consent rate of 1922 for the first five months of 2014.

Statistics New Zealand figures showed 2125 new dwelling and apartment consents issued in May 2014, compared with 2082 in April.

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive Warwick Quinn says the overall trend has stabilised after two years of strong growth.

Mr Quinn expects some 23,000 to 24,000 residential building consents to be issued in 2014, up from 21,300 in 2013 and 16,929 in 2012.

The two main centres of Auckland and Canterbury still make up nearly 60% of all activity, and this is expected to continue.

“Auckland’s growth over the past 12 months is 30% higher than the previous 12-month period, while Canterbury’s is 40% higher, mostly on the back of Christchurch City doubling the number of consents issued in the past year,” Mr Quinn says.

He says the rest of New Zealand continues to be steady, and the RMBA has yet to see any significant impact from the recent rises in the official cash rate and the consequential impact on mortgage interest rates.

Mr Quinn says the identification of special housing areas in Auckland, and more recently Wellington, have not yet manifested in any upturn in consenting levels.

“An immediate response was never likely given it takes time to work through the feasibility analysis and then the resource and building consent process, but the results should come.”

Reduced supply

He says over the past 20 years New Zealand’s residential construction rate has fallen from six builds per 1000 population to around four per 1000, resulting in reduced supply while population has continued to grow.

The non-availability of land is the key driver, and this needs to be corrected if overall property prices are to be contained, Mr Quinn says.