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Building Consents Issued: November 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  10 January 2012

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

Number of authorised new dwellings down in November

In November 2011, the number of new dwellings authorised is down compared with November 2010. The decrease occurred because apartment numbers spiked in November 2010 and fell back to a more typical level this November. 

Dwelling approval numbers for November 2011, compared with November 2010, were:

  • 1,384 new dwellings, including apartments, down 5.9 percent
  • 1,275 new dwellings, excluding apartments, up 2.5 percent
  • 109 new apartments (all of which are retirement units), down from 226.

After removal of seasonal fluctuations, there were moderate decreases in the numbers of authorised new dwellings, both including and excluding apartments, in November 2011. This is the third change in direction in the latest three months. Including apartments, there was a seasonally adjusted decrease of 6.4 percent in November. Excluding apartments, the seasonally adjusted decrease was 2.5 percent.

The trends for the number of new dwellings, both including and excluding apartments, continue to rise but are still at a relatively low level:

  • including apartments, the trend for dwelling numbers shows rises since March 2011, but the rate of increase may be easing 
  • excluding apartments, the trend also shows rises since March 2011 but at a steadier rate.

Trend figures, particularly for the latest months, may be revised whenever an additional month is added to the series.  Revisions can be large when there is volatility, such as for apartment numbers and earthquake-related dwellings.

 Graph, New dwellings authorised, excluding apartment units, monthly, September 2004 to November 2011.

In November 2011, compared with November 2010, the value of all residential building consents fell $9 million (1.8 percent) to $504 million. The value trend shows a rise since May 2011, which was a nine-year low-point.

 Graph, Value of residential buildings authorised, including alterations and additions, monthly, September 2004 to November 2011.

Fewer dwellings consented in South Island

In the South Island, 419 new dwellings were approved in November 2011, down 92 (18 percent) compared with November 2010. Most of the decrease in the South Island occurred in Canterbury and Otago. By contrast, numbers for the North Island were almost unchanged, up just one to 960. Auckland again had a sizeable increase, but this was almost nullified by other regional movements, particularly the decrease in Wellington.

Eleven of New Zealand's 16 regions had fewer new dwelling approvals in November 2011 than in November 2010. 

The regions showing the largest decreases in new dwelling numbers were:

  • Canterbury, down 56 (19 percent) to 242
  • Wellington, down 47 (35 percent) to 88
  • Otago, down 38 (34 percent) to 75.

The largest regional increase was for Auckland, up 68 (19 percent) to 430.

The decreases for Canterbury, Wellington, and Otago were mostly caused by lower numbers of authorised apartments. Excluding apartments, the South Island had a decrease of 27 dwellings, while the North Island had an increase of 53 dwellings. Approvals for apartments often fluctuate markedly from month to month.

  Graph, New dwellings authorised, by region, monthly, November 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Non-residential building value down

In November 2011, the value of non-residential building consents was $415 million, down $65 million (13 percent) compared with November 2010. Six of the 11 building types decreased in value.

The largest changes compared with November 2010 were:

  • factories and industrial buildings, down $66 million
  • education buildings, down $57 million
  • offices and administration buildings, up $34 million.

Graph, Value of non-residential buildings authorised, by building type (including alterations and additions), monthly.  

As shown by the darkest bars in the graph above, the four largest contributors to the value of non-residential buildings in November 2011 were:

  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, at 18 percent
  • offices and administration buildings, at 18 percent
  • hospital and nursing homes, at 16 percent
  • education buildings, at 15 percent.

Earthquake-related consents total $47 million in November

In Canterbury, building consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $47 million in November 2011, compared with $26 million in October and $29 million in September. Of the $47 million recorded for November, $35 million was for non-residential work, $7 million was for residential work including 10 new dwellings, and $5 million was for non-building construction. More information is available from Statistics NZ's earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury.

Since 4 September 2010, 914 earthquake-related consents have been identified, totalling $230 million. This includes 217 new dwellings, of which 145 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 (for example, as measured by Statistics NZ's quarterly estimated Value of Building Work Put in Place may change, even at the national level. Value of Building Work Put in Place: December 2011 quarter will be published on 5 March 2012.

All buildings value down for November month and November year

In the November 2011 month, the value of consents issued for all buildings (residential and non-residential combined) was $919 million, down 7.4 percent compared with November 2010.

Graph, Value of building consents authorised, including alterations and additions, monthly, September 2009 to November 2011. Graph, Value of building consents authorised, including alterations and additions, year ended October.

For the year ended November 2011, compared with the previous November year:

  • all buildings decreased $1,062 million (11 percent) to $8,484 million
  • residential buildings decreased $850 million (15 percent) to $4,850 million
  • non-residential buildings decreased $212 million (5.5 percent) to $3,633 million.


For more statistics, see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box. For information on revisions, see the Revisions section.

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