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Building Consents Issued: April 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  03 June 2011

Building consent values include goods and services tax (GST), which increased from 12.5 percent to 15 percent from 1 October 2010. It is not possible to separate the impact of this change on building consent statistics.

Figures given are unadjusted unless otherwise stated.

Residential buildings

In April 2011, compared with April 2010, consents were issued for:

  • 927 new dwelling units, including apartments, down 34 percent
  • 893 new dwellings, excluding apartments, down 32 percent
  • 34 new apartment units, down 63 percent (apartment numbers can vary considerably from month to month).

While the overall level of consents is low in April 2011, with many series still decreasing, there are signs that the decline in residential building consents is easing. When the volatile apartment category is excluded:

  • The trend for the number of new dwellings authorised has fallen nearly one-third since March 2010, but the rate of decline is easing.
  • The seasonally adjusted number rose 3.8 percent, following a 3.3 percent rise in March 2011.

For the number of new dwellings authorised, including apartments, the picture is similar but with some key differences:

  • The trend has fallen nearly one-third since April 2010, to the lowest level since this series began in 1982. The rate of decline is easing, but to a lesser degree.
  • The seasonally adjusted number fell 1.6 percent in April 2011, following a 2.0 percent rise in March 2011.

 Graph, new dwellings authorised, including apartment units, monthly, March 2004 to April 2011.

Compared with April 2010, the value of residential building consents fell $126 million (26 percent) to $354 million, in April 2011. The value trend has been declining for almost a year, falling 22 percent over this time.

Regional residential results

In April 2011 compared with April 2010, the number of new dwelling units authorised, including apartments, fell by 288 units (32 percent) in the North Island, and by 185 units (38 percent) in the South Island.

Only one of New Zealand's 16 regions had more new dwelling units authorised; Tasman was up four units to a total of 16. The largest fall was in Canterbury, but similar-sized falls were seen elsewhere:

  • Canterbury, down 68 units to 198
  • Waikato, down 65 units to 104
  • Hawke's Bay, down 57 units to 23
  • Otago, down 56 units to 36. 

 Graph, new dwellings authorised, by region, monthly, April 2009 to 2011.

Changes to Auckland region

On 1 November 2010, the new Auckland Council came into being. This council replaces both the former Auckland Regional Council and all or part of seven territorial authorities – all of the North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, and Manukau cities, the Rodney and Papakura districts, and part of the Franklin district are included in the new council area. For more information, see Building Consents Issued: November 2010.

Non-residential buildings

The value of non-residential building consents was $252 million in April 2011, down 23 percent compared with April 2010. Seven of the 11 building types recorded decreases in value.

The three building types with the largest decreases from April 2010 were:

  • hospitals and nursing homes, down $29 million
  • education buildings, down $26 million
  • social, cultural, and religious buildings, down $23 million.

The largest increase was for hostels and boarding houses, up $15 million compared with April 2010. 

 Graph, value of non-residential buildings authorised, including alterations and additions, monthly, April 2009, 2010, and 2011.

As indicated by the dark bars in the above graph, 'shops, restaurants, and taverns' was the largest contributor to the value of non-residential buildings authorised in April 2011, at $47 million or 19 percent. This was followed by offices and administration buildings, at $41 million or 16 percent. (In April 2009, the Christchurch International Airport redevelopment contributed to offices and administration buildings.)

Canterbury earthquake consents

In Canterbury, 28 earthquake-related consents were identified, with a total value of $2.5 million. These consents included seven new dwellings, four of which were relocatable units intended to house displaced Christchurch residents.

From September 2010, over 160 earthquake-related consents were identified, totalling $33.9 million. These consents included 21 new dwellings. Earthquake-related consents cover residential, non-residential, and non-building construction. Non-building construction includes things like retaining walls and swimming pools.

Consents for demolitions, where issued, are excluded.

Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity. The extent of the damage to Christchurch and surrounding areas particularly following the earthquake on 22 February 2011, means the relationship between consents and activity (for example, as measured by Statistics New Zealand's quarterly estimated Value of Building Work Put in Place) may change, even at the national level. The next Value of Building Work Put in Place information release will be released on 8 June 2011.

All buildings

In the April 2011 month, the value of consents issued for all buildings was $606 million, down 25 percent compared with April 2010.

 Graph, value of building consents authorised, including alterations and additions, monthly, March 2009 to April 2011.    Graph, Value of building consents authorised, including alterations and additions, year ended April, 2009 to 2011.

For the year ended April 2011, compared with the year ended April 2010, the total value of consents issued for:

  • all buildings was $8,807 million, down $863 million (8.9 percent)
  • residential buildings was $5,174 million, down $367 million (6.6 percent)
  • non-residential buildings was $3,633 million, down $497 million (12 percent).

For technical information contact: 
Tina Waterhouse or Clara Eatherley
Christchurch 03 964 8700

Next release ...

Building Consents Issued: May 2011 will be released on 30 June 2011.

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