Building consents fell 5.2% in April due to public holidays

Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac
Building Consents Issued: April 2014 (Source: NZ Stats)

New Zealand building consents issued for residential housing, excluding apartments, fell 5.2 percent in April following strong gains the previous two months as activity slowed due to public holidays.

The number of consents for new houses, excluding apartments which can be volatile, fell to a seasonally adjusted 1,720 in April, following gains of 1,814 in March and 1,800 in February, according to Statistics New Zealand. Including apartments, seasonally adjusted new dwelling consents rose 1.5 percent to 2,123 from March. (See report attached)

"Activity data for April has been consistently on the soft side, reinforcing our prior view that the timing of Easter this year could have an unusually large negative impact," Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Michael Gordon said in a note. "With Easter Monday and Anzac Day falling in the same week, it appears that this three-day workweek may have become a week-long break for many people. We expect that the strong upward trend in homebuilding activity will reassert itself in the May numbers."

Building consent numbers have been on the rise, driven by the rebuilding of earthquake damaged Christchurch and a shortage of supply in Auckland. Eight of the 16 regions consented more new dwellings, including apartments, in April this year compared to the year earlier month, the Statistics department said. Consents in Auckland, including apartments, surged 62 percent to 697 in April from the same month a year earlier, while consents in Canterbury jumped 40 percent to 554.

The value of non-residential building consents fell 5 percent to $401 million in April from March, while the value of residential work dropped 7.6 percent to $739 million.


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