Building consents fall in October on fewer apartments

In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling consents fell 9.6% on the month in October adding to a 2.5% decline in September.

New Zealand residential building consents dropped in October, led by a slide in permits for apartments.

Some 2,549 new houses, apartments, townhouses, retirement village units, and flats were consented in October, down 9.6 percent from a year earlier. Of that total, 1,806 houses were consented, from 1,802 in October 2016, while consents for apartments fell 66 percent to 78 and consents for townhouses, flats and units rose 20 percent to 445. Retirement village unit consents rose 26 percent to 220.

Still, 30,866 dwellings were consented in the year ended Oct. 31, up 2 percent from the previous year, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"Apartments tend to be really volatile month to month," construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement. "October's figure is the lowest number we have seen since April 2016, although we know there are more apartments in the pipeline. We don't include dwellings in the consent statistics until the final stages of work are consented, when we get the highest value for the project."

In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling consents fell 9.6 percent on the month in October adding to a 2.5 percent decline in September.

New Zealand's housing market has been moderating after several years of rapid price gains, driven by a shortage of property and an expanding population stoking demand. That cooling prompted the Reserve Bank to yesterday announce it will ease restrictions on low-equity mortgage lending from next year.

Today's figures show monthly consents held up in Auckland, with increases for stand-alone houses, retirement village units and townhouses, particularly in Howick, Manukau, and North Shore, Stats NZ said. The gain in Auckland was more than offset by falls in Wellington, Bay of Plenty, and Northland in October 2017 from a year earlier.

Including alterations, $1.8 billion of new building work was consented in the month of October, Stats NZ said. That included $1.2 billion worth of residential buildings and $584 million for non-residential buildings.


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