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Building Consents Issued: February 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  30 March 2012
Commentary

Figures given are unadjusted for seasonal and irregular fluctuations unless otherwise stated.

Dwelling consents trend continues to edge up

In February 2012, the trend for the number of new dwellings consented, including apartments, continued to edge upward, but the rate of increase has slowed in recent months. The trend has risen 23 percent since April 2011, the lowest point in its 30-year history.

The number of new dwellings consented in February 2012, compared with February 2011, were:  

  • 1,204 new dwellings, including apartments, up 24 percent
  • 1,142  new dwellings, excluding apartments, up 29 percent
  • 62 new apartments, all of which were retirement village units, down from 89 apartments.

After seasonal fluctuations were removed, the number of new dwellings consented, including apartments, decreased 6.7 percent in February 2012 compared with January 2012. This decrease partly offset an 8.1 percent increase in January, which was due to the relatively large number of apartments consented in that month.

Excluding apartments, there was a small seasonally adjusted increase of 1.2 percent in the number of new dwellings in February 2012.

 Graph, new dwellings approved, including apartments, monthly, December 2004 to February 2012.

In February 2012, compared with February 2011, the value of residential building consents rose $62 million (16 percent) to $451 million. 

Eleven regions consented more dwellings

More new dwellings were consented in 11 of New Zealand's 16 regions, in February 2012 compared with February 2011. While Canterbury showed the largest regional increase, this reflected the low number of dwellings consented last year, likely due to the major earthquake on 22 February 2011.

The three regions with the largest increases were all boosted by retirement village units, as shown in brackets below. They were:

  • Canterbury, up 112, to 260 new dwellings (including 16 units)
  • Northland, up 37, to 79 new dwellings (including 15 units)
  • Nelson, up 28, to 42 new dwellings (including 31 units).

The biggest decrease was in Gisborne, down 6, to 9 new dwellings.

Graph, new dwellings approved, by region, February month 2010 to 2012.

Non-residential building value up in February

In February 2012, the value of non-residential building consents was $375 million, up $119 million (46 percent) compared with February 2011.

Eight of the 11 building types increased in value. The largest increases compared with February 2011 were:

  • factories and industrial buildings, up $41 million (128 percent)
  • hospitals and nursing homes, up $39 million (237 percent)
  • offices and administration buildings, up $32 million (73 percent)

Hostels and boarding houses showed the largest decrease, down $11 million (64 percent).

 Graph, value of non-residential buildings approved, by building type including alterations and additions, February month 2010 to 2012.

As shown by the darkest bars in the graph above, the three largest contributors to the value of non-residential buildings in February 2012 were:

  • offices and administration buildings, at 20 percent
  • factories and industrial buildings, at 19 percent
  • hospitals and nursing homes, at 15 percent.

Earthquake-related consents up, to second-highest monthly total

Canterbury consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $41 million in February 2012, the second-highest monthly total since the Canterbury earthquakes began in September 2010. This result compared with:

  • $25 million in January 2012
  • $29 million in December 2011
  • $47 million in November 2011. 

Of the $41 million recorded for February, $30 million was for non-residential work, and $11 million was for residential work (including 27 new dwellings). More information about earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury is available on the Statistics NZ website.

Since 4 September 2010, there have been more than 1,300 earthquake-related consents identified, totalling $325 million. This includes 268 new dwellings, of which 149 were relocatable units.

Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity, as measured by Statistics NZ's quarterly Value of Building Work Put in Place. In the December 2011 quarter, there appeared to be a greater increase in building activity in Canterbury than in the rest of the country. This is only an indication of the effect of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, as the survey is designed for accuracy at the national level, not regionally.

Value of Building Work Put in Place: March 2012 quarter will be published on 6 June 2012.

All buildings trend up

The trend for the value of all building consents (residential and non-residential combined) has continued to increase since March 2011, up 19 percent over this time. This follows 15 months of decreases. The unadjusted value of all building consents was $826 million, in February 2012.

Graph, Value of building consents approved, including alterations and additions, monthly, December 2009 to February 2012. Graph, Value of building consents approved, including alterations and additions, year ended February, 2010 to 2012.

For the year ended February 2012, compared with February 2011, the value of consents for:

  • all buildings decreased $305 million (3.3 percent) to $8,821 million
  • residential buildings decreased $344 million (6.4 percent) to $5,064 million
  • non-residential buildings increased $39 million (1.0 percent) to $3,757 million.

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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