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NZ home building consents fall in Oct in first month of loan restrictions

The appetite for building new homes slowed in October, the first month the Reserve Bank's restrictions on low deposit mortgage lending kicked in.

New dwelling consents, including apartments, fell to a seasonally adjusted 1,751 in October from 1,762 a month earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand. Stripping out apartments, which can cause monthly volatility, consents fell 2.3 percent to 1,588 from September. That's the biggest monthly decline since July last year.

Unadjusted, residential building permits excluding apartments were up 20 percent to 1,758 in October from the same month a year earlier, and were up 25 percent on an annual basis to 18,323. Consents to build apartments were down 21 percent to 133 in October from a year earlier, and fell 1.2 percent annually to 1,714.

The building intentions figures suggest the Reserve Bank's restrictions on mortgage lending with less than 20 percent of a deposit are already affecting housing supply, as feared by the Registered Master Builders Federation.

The central bank has been concerned about rapid house price rises in Auckland and Christchurch, where a lack of supply has seen growing numbers of bidders drive up sale prices.

Today's figures showed the value of new non-residential building consents rose 13 percent to $443 million in October from the same month a year earlier, and was up 9.4 percent to $4.26 billion on an annual basis.

The value of all building permits climbed 20 percent to $1.18 billion from a year ago, and was up an annual 19 percent to $11.81 billion.