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Building Consents Issued: January 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  29 February 2012

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

Number of new dwellings approved rises in January

The unadjusted number of new dwellings approved rose 27 percent in January 2012 compared with January 2011. Apartments accounted for almost half of this increase.

Dwelling approval numbers for January 2012, compared with January 2011, were:  

  • 1,098 new dwellings, including apartments, up 27 percent
  • 900 new dwellings, excluding apartments, up 16 percent
  • 198 new apartments (including 174 retirement units), up from 90.

The number of apartment units consented in January 2012 was the highest since November 2010. Apartments, which can vary considerably in number from month to month, contributed 18 percent to the number of new dwellings in January 2012. 

After seasonal fluctuations were removed, the number of new dwellings approved, including apartments, showed a rise of 8.3 percent in January 2012, compared with December 2011. Excluding apartments, there was a smaller increase of 3.7 percent. These movements followed several months of volatility.

Trend numbers for dwelling approvals, both including and excluding apartments, showed a rise for the 10 months to January 2012, but the rate of increase has eased in recent months. Trend figures, particularly for the latest months, may be revised whenever an additional month is added to the series.

 Graph, New dwellings approved, including apartments, monthly.

In January 2012, compared with January 2011, the value of all residential building consents rose $76 million (25 percent) to $386 million. 

Number of dwellings approved in Canterbury increases

The 27 percent national increase in dwelling approvals, for January 2012 compared with January 2011, was concentrated in Canterbury. Most of the Canterbury increase came from consents for retirement units, some of which had been delayed because of earthquakes. Approvals for new dwelling units either rose or fell by small amounts in the other 15 regions.

The biggest changes in regional dwelling approval numbers, compared with January 2011, were:

  • Canterbury, up 232 (158 percent) to 379
  • Waikato, up 30 (38 percent) to 109
  • Auckland, down 27 (10 percent) to 232
  • Hawkes Bay, down 12 (32 percent) to 25.

Graph, New dwellings approved, by region, January month.

In the South Island, 503 new dwellings were approved in January 2012, up 237 (89 percent) compared with January 2011. Almost all of the increase in the South Island occurred in Canterbury as a result of consents issued for retirement units. By contrast, the number of new dwellings authorised in the North Island was almost unchanged, down five (0.8 percent) to 595 new dwellings.  

Non-residential building value falls slightly

In January 2012, the value of consented non-residential building work was $226 million, down $1.5 million (0.6 percent) compared with January 2011. This was the lowest value since January 2010. Seven of the 11 building types decreased in value.

The largest changes compared with January 2011 were:

  • factories and industrial buildings, down $39 million
  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, up $30 million
  • offices and administration buildings, up $16 million.

Graph, Value of non-residential buildings approved, by building type, including alterations and additions, January month.  

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

  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, at 22 percent
  • education buildings, at 21 percent
  • offices and administration buildings, at 15 percent
  • social, cultural, and religious buildings at 15 percent.

Earthquake-related consents total $25 million in January

In January 2012, Canterbury building consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $25 million (compared with $29 million in December 2011 and $47 million in November). Of the $25 million recorded for January, $18 million was for non-residential work, and $7 million was for residential work (including 17 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 1,200 earthquake-related consents identified, totalling $284 million. This includes 241 new dwellings, of which 146 were relocatable units.

Earthquake-related consents cover residential, non-residential, and some non-building construction. Non-building construction may include swimming pools, bridges, reservoirs, and retaining walls. Consents that are mainly for demolitions are excluded.

Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity. The extent of damage to Christchurch and adjacent districts, particularly that caused by the earthquake on 22 February 2011, means that the relationship between consents and activity may change, even at the national level. Statistics NZ's quarterly Value of Building Work Put in Place provides estimates of the dollar value of building work. Value of Building Work Put in Place: December 2011 quarter will be published on 5 March 2012.

Value of all buildings rises for January month, but falls for January year

In the January 2012 month, the value of consents issued for all buildings (residential and non-residential combined) was $612 million, up $75 million (14 percent) compared with January 2011.

Graph, Value of building consents approved, including alterations and additions, monthly. Graph, Value of building consents approved, including alterations and additions, year ended January.

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

  • all buildings decreased $642 million (6.9 percent) to $8,640 million
  • residential buildings decreased $502 million (9.1 percent) to $5,001 million
  • non-residential buildings decreased $140 million (3.7 percent) to $3,639 million.

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

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