Building consents rise 1.9% in August, third straight gain

Including apartments, consents for new dwellings rose 0.3% to 1513 from the same month last year.

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand consents to build new homes rose for a third straight month in August, driven by rebuilding activity in Christchurch.

Consents rose 1.9% last month, seasonally adjusted, from the previous month and were up 1.8% compared to August 2011, Statistics New Zealand says.

The building consents add to evidence the rebuild of Christchurch after its series of earthquakes is starting to stoke economic activity. Compared to the same month last year, the total number of new dwellings consented rose by 121 to 629 in the South Island, while those in the North Island dropped 116 to 884.

Consents in Canterbury deemed to be earthquake related were valued at $47 million last month, of which $24 million were residential. That is down from $59 million in July but still one of the largest months this year.

Including apartments, consents for new dwellings rose 0.3% to 1513 from the same month last year. Excluding apartments, the gain was 3.2% to 1373. Apartments fell to 140 from 179.

Total residential consents were up 13% to $548 million in August from a year earlier. Non-residential consents rose 24% to $343 million.

The value of all building work for the year ended August 31 rose 10% to $9.47 billion.