Residential building consents rise 1.3% in March to six-and-a-half year high

Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac

New Zealand building consents for residential housing, excluding apartments, rose to a six-and-a-half year high in March, snapping two months of decline.

Excluding apartments and units, which are typically volatile from month to month, seasonally adjusted consents rose 1.3 percent to 1,813 units in March, the most since November 2007, according to Statistics New Zealand. Including apartments, seasonally adjusted new dwelling consents rose 8.3 percent to 1,999.

Annual residential issuance rose 30 percent to 22,366 from a year earlier. Stripping out apartments, annual permits for new building rose 25 percent to 19,768.

"The building industry is well positioned for strong growth in quake-related activity in Canterbury this year, and to a lesser degree, a lift from depressed levels in the Auckland market," Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac said in a note.

Issuance of new building permits has been on the rise as the Canterbury rebuild and a housing shortage in Auckland fuel demand for property. Increased construction activity is seen as one of the major drivers of accelerating economic growth this year.

Today's figures showed new dwelling consents in Auckland rose to 561 in March from 393 a year earlier, while new Christchurch permits to 342 from 126.

The value of non-residential building consents rose 13 percent to $4.4 billion in the year ended March while the value for residential buildings gained 32 percent to $6.9 billion. The value of all building consents rose 23 percent to $13.1 billion.

(BusinessDesk)

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