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Building Consents Issued: September 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  31 October 2012

Figures given are not adjusted for seasonal and irregular fluctuations unless otherwise stated.

Dwellings up 22 percent in September

In September 2012, the number of new dwellings consented was 22 percent higher than in September 2011. Consents were issued for:

  • 1,520 new dwellings, including apartments (up 22 percent)
  • 1,334 new dwellings, excluding apartments (up 19 percent)
  • 186 new apartments (up from 122).

Of the apartments, 115 were retirement village units (up from 79 in September 2011). 

The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented, both including and excluding apartments, increased in September 2012 compared with August 2012. Including apartments, the seasonally adjusted increase was 7.8 percent. Excluding apartments, there was an increase of 5.6 percent. The trend for both series has been growing for 18 months. 


 Graph, New dwellings consented, including apartments, monthly.

In September 2012, the value of all residential building consents was $577 million, the highest value since April 2008. Compared with September 2011, the value of all residential building consents rose $180 million (45 percent). All of the growth came from new dwellings, although the total includes $90 million of alterations and other residential work. The value trend has been growing for 17 consecutive months, and is now 41 percent higher than the most-recent low point in April 2011.

Data for Grey district was not available for September 2012. However, historically it has reported a relatively small number of building consents. In August 2012 Grey district reported building consents with a value of $2.1 million, mostly comprising residential work, including four new dwellings. In September 2011, the total value was $2.2 million, including two new dwellings, but mostly non-residential work. If the September 2012 data for Grey district becomes available it will be included in Building Consents Issued: October 2012, to be published on 30 November 2012. 

Canterbury and Auckland drive new dwellings growth

Canterbury and Auckland regions saw significant growth in the number of new dwellings consented in September 2012, compared with September 2011. The number of new dwellings consented in the three major regions were:

  • Canterbury, up 176 (80 percent) to 396
  • Auckland, up 152 (50 percent) to 458
  • Wellington, up 54 (83 percent) to 119.

Apartment numbers, included in the total dwellings count, can vary a lot from month to month. This month, 121 apartments were consented in Auckland, 106 more than in September 2011.

Six of the nine North Island regions reported greater new dwelling numbers, making the North Island total up 107 (12 percent) to 972. Across the South Island, the number of new dwellings consented this month was 548, up 167 (44 percent) compared with a year ago. Four of the seven South Island regions reported growth, and one region no change, compared with September 2011. The number of new dwellings consented in the largest region, Canterbury, was notable for:

  • Christchurch city, up 69 to 154
  • Waimakariri district, up 50 to 102
  • Selwyn district, up 39 to 84, the highest monthly number since September 2007.

There have been only five months since the series began in 1990, in which Waimakariri district has consented 100 or more new dwellings per month. All of these months are in 2012. For details, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

 Graph, New dwellings consented, by region, September month.

In September 2012, the value of new dwellings consented was $487 million, up $181 million (59 percent) compared with September 2011, whilst the number of dwellings increased by 22 percent. High value and staged consents can cause significant variations between dwelling value and count movements in a specific month. For staged consents, dwellings and floor area are only counted once for an entire project, but the total value is spread over several stages and months. 

In the year to September 2012, the value of new dwelling consents grew by 26 percent to $4,679 million and the number of new dwellings consented was up 19 percent to 16,000 dwellings. Regions with the largest increases over the previous September year were:

  • Canterbury, up $426 million (71 percent), up 1242 dwellings (51 percent)
  • Auckland, up $328 million (31 percent), up 934 dwellings (27 percent)
  • Wellington, up $73 million (23 percent), up 169 dwellings (15 percent).  

Non-residential building value down slightly 

The value of non-residential building consents in September 2012 was $314 million, down 1.8 percent compared with September 2011.

Six of the 11 building types increased in value. The largest increases were:

  • Hospitals and nursing homes, up $16 million (78 percent)
  • Shops, restaurants, and taverns, up $14 million (34 percent)
  • Education buildings, up $11 million (26 percent).

 Graph, Value of non-residential buildings consented, by building type (including alterations and additions), September month.

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

  • shops, restaurants, and taverns, at 18 percent
  • education buildings, at 17 percent
  • offices and administration buildings, at 17 percent.  

Earthquake-related non-residential consents rise in Canterbury

Canterbury consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $58 million in September 2012. This result compares with:

  • $47 million in August 2012
  • $59 million in July 2012
  • $45 million in June 2012
  • $47 million in May 2012.

Of the $58 million recorded for September, $17 million was for residential buildings, including 34 new dwellings. The remaining $41 million was for non-residential building work. See also earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury.

Since 4 September 2010, more than 2,900 earthquake-related consents have been identified in Canterbury, totalling $636 million. This includes 481 new dwellings, of which 149 were relocatable units. Also included are alterations and additions for residential buildings, non-residential buildings, and non-building construction. 

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 June 2012 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: September 2012 quarter will be published on 5 December 2012.

Residential buildings value rises

In September 2012, the value of consents for all buildings (both residential and non-residential) was $891 million, up 24 percent compared with September 2011. The trend for the value of all buildings has been growing for 16 months.

Graph, Value of buildings consented, including alterations and additions, monthly. Graph, Value of buildings consented, including alterations and additions, year ended September.

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

  • all buildings increased $1,138 million (13 percent) to $9,647 million
  • residential buildings increased $1,057 million (22 percent) to $5,871 million
  • non-residential buildings increased $82 million (2.2 percent) to $3,775 million.

  Graph, Value of non-residential buildings consented, for selected regions (including alterations and additions), year ended September.

The value of non-residential building consents has grown significantly in Canterbury during the year to September 2012. Regional change over the year to September 2011 was:

  • Canterbury, up $381 million (81 percent) to $850 million
  • Auckland, down $131 million (9 percent) to $1,273 million
  • Wellington, down $142 million (32 percent) to $303 million.

Values were low across New Zealand in 2010 due to economic conditions, and in 2011 Canterbury was impacted by earthquakes. The 2012 increase in Canterbury is largely due to post-quake rebuild.

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

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