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Building Consents Issued: October 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  30 November 2011

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

Number of authorised new dwellings up in October

In October 2011, the number of new dwellings authorised is up compared with the same month of the previous year. Consents were issued for:

  • 1,238 new dwellings, including apartments, up 10 percent
  • 1,149 new dwellings, excluding apartments, up 4.5 percent
  • 89 new apartments, none of which were for assisted-living.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the numbers of new dwellings authorised, both including and excluding apartments, show large increases for October 2011. These increases follow substantial decreases in September which reversed most of the increases of July and August. Including apartments, there was a seasonally adjusted increase of 11 percent in October. Excluding apartments, the seasonally adjusted increase was 7.1 percent.

The trends for the number of new dwellings, both including and excluding apartments, also show rises (although from a relatively low level):

  • including apartments, the trend shows rises in dwelling numbers since March 2011
  • excluding apartments, the trend also shows rises since March 2011 but at a slower rate.

These increasing trends follow some of the lowest levels of new dwellings authorised since these series began. Variable numbers of consents issued for apartments and earthquake-related dwellings in recent months have resulted in a less stable trend than usual. This means that while both trends are increasing, the rate at which they are rising may be revised as more months are added to the series.

 Graph, New dwellings authorised, excluding apartments, monthly, September 2004 to September 2011.

In October 2011, compared with October 2010, the value of all residential building consents rose $45 million (11 percent) to $460 million. The value trend shows a rise since April 2011, which was a nine-year low-point.

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

More new dwellings in North Island, fewer in South Island

In the North Island, 888 new dwellings were approved in October 2011, up 159 (22 percent) compared with October 2010. Most of this increase was due to Auckland, up 128 (46 percent). However, a different story unfolded in the South Island where approved new dwellings dropped in number by 44 (11 percent) to 350.

Seven of New Zealand's 16 regions show more new dwelling approvals for October 2011 than for the same month of the previous year. 

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

  • Auckland, up 128 (46 percent) to 404
  • Waikato, up 33 (24 percent) to 170
  • Bay of Plenty, up 15 (25 percent) to 74.

The largest regional decrease was for Taranaki, down 22 (52 percent) to 20.

Auckland dwelling approvals for October 2011 include 71 new apartments, compared with 24 approved in October 2010. Waikato's increase of 33 includes 18 apartments. Canterbury, despite the anticipated rebuild following the earthquakes, showed little change, down 1 dwelling to 211.

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

Non-residential building value little changed

In October 2011, the value of non-residential building consents was $276 million, up $4 million (1.5 percent) compared with the same month in 2010. Six of the 11 building types increased in value.

The largest changes compared with October 2010 were:

  • offices and administration buildings, up $18 million
  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, down $12 million
  • hostels and boarding houses, down $8 million.

Graph, Value of non-residential buildings authorised, by building type (including alterations and additions), monthly, October 2009, 2010, and 2011.  

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

  • education buildings, at 17 percent
  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, at 16 percent
  • offices and administration buildings, at 16 percent.

The spike in the 'social, cultural, and religious buildings' category in the above graph is mainly due to sports facilities authorised in October 2009.

Earthquake-related consents total $26 million in October

In Canterbury, building consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $26 million in October 2011, compared with $29 million in September and $20 million in August. Of the $26 million recorded for October, $19 million was for non-residential work, while $7 million was for residential work including 13 new dwellings. More information is available from Statistics NZ's earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury.

Since 4 September 2010, about 735 earthquake-related consents have been identified, totalling $183 million. This includes 207 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: September 2011 quarter will be published on 5 December 2011.

All buildings value up for October month, down for October year

In the October 2011 month, the value of consents issued for all buildings (residential and non-residential combined) was $736 million, up 7.1 percent compared with October 2010.

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

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

  • all buildings decreased $922 million (10 percent) to $8,558 million
  • residential buildings decreased $860 million (15 percent) to $4,864 million
  • non-residential buildings decreased $62 million (1.6 percent) to $3,694 million.

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

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