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Building consents fall 1.5% in October, Canterbury permits rise

New Zealand building consents fell 1.5% in October, ending four monthly gains, with Canterbury and apartments underpinning new permits and issuance up markedly on the previous year.

The number of new dwellings consented fell to a seasonally adjusted 1519 in October from 1543 a month earlier, Statistics New Zealand says. Stripping out apartment issuance, which tends to vary from month to month, new permits fell 2% to 1315.

However, today's figures show new dwelling consents climbed 32% from October 2011, with an 89% spike in the number of new apartment permits issued. The value of residential consents rose 29% to $593 million in October from the same month a year earlier.

Building intentions have been on the up in recent months as the Canterbury rebuild and bubbling Auckland property market foster demand for new residential housing, even as politicians make noises about improving home affordability.

Canterbury residential building consents rose 58% in the month from a year earlier, with $25 million of future work recorded as earthquake related. A further $26 million earmarked for commercial construction work was also quake-related.

Since the September 2010 quake, some 3200 consents have been identified, with a total value of $689 million, Statistics NZ says.

The value of non-residential building consents jumped 42% to $392 million from October 2011, led by consents for storage buildings, office and administration buildings and hotels and boarding houses.

The value of commercial consents rose an annual 5.2% to $3.89 billion, while residential consents jumped 24% to $6 billion.