New housing consent data out: 48,522 houses approved smashes all records

Building consents were issued for a record 48,522 new homes in New Zealand in the November year, according to Stats NZ which says all previous records were eclipsed.

"This November had 4688 new homes consented, which is the highest number for any month on record," construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said today.

The previous record was 4490 in August last year.

Auckland led the charge, with 20,384 consents for the November year, up 25 per cent annually.

"This is the first time that Auckland has passed the 20,000 mark," Heslop said.

Regions with the next highest number of new homes consented were:

• 7526 in Canterbury, up 30 per cent annually;
• 5062 in Waikato, up 26 per cent;
• 3633 in Wellington, up 22 per cent.

"Much of the growth in Auckland has been due to the increase in the number of consents for multi-unit homes such as townhouses, apartments, and flats," Heslop said.

In Auckland, the number of multi-unit homes consented in the year ended November 2021 is now triple what it was five years ago.

Heslop said last year that a much earlier high was 40,025 in the year ended February 1974.

Consent data has been running at record highs. Photo / Duncan Brown

Throughout last year, new highs were set.

In the April 2021 year, it was a record 42,848 consents. That hit 43,466 consents in the May 2021 year, a further record 44,299 consents in the June 2021 year, and 45,119 consents in the July 2021 year.

Never since records started in 1938 have so many consents been granted for new homes in this country.

The Government has actively encouraged new housing development, with the state-owned Kāinga Ora undertaking a programme to make better use of state land, particularly in Auckland.

Much of last year's consent activity is in Auckland, suffering a critical supply shortage.

But Covid-19 level 4 lockdowns dented numbers, particularly in Auckland late last year.

Poto Williams: construction is the fourth largest employer. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Poto Williams, Minister for Building and Construction said today: "We're building more houses than any Government since the 1970s and consent numbers have more than tripled in the last decade. Now, for the ninth month in a row, we have exceeded the previous record for the highest number of homes consented in a year.

"The sector is outdoing itself to deliver on the homes New Zealanders need," she said.

Building work put in place data from Stats NZ also shows high volumes.

In value terms, not adjusted for cost changes or seasonal effects, the actual value of building work was $7.2 billion in the June 2021 quarter, up nearly 50 per cent from the Covid-19 impacted June 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said.

Within this, residential building work rose 59 per cent to $4.9b in the latest quarter, and non-residential work rose 33 per cent to $2.3b.

Williams said last month the National Construction Pipeline Report showed the sector had held up well during the pandemic and the future outlook is positive.

"The sector can be confident that current levels of demand are expected to continue for some time," she said.

"Despite disruptions from Covid-19, construction activity is forecast to grow steadily to about $48.3b in 2024, driven largely by the residential sector," Williams said.

The report forecasts activity through to 2026, based on current levels.

It includes national and regional breakdowns of actual and forecast residential building, non-residential building and infrastructure activity.

Residential construction remains the largest contributor of national construction activity, making up 58 per cent of total construction value in 2020.

"Demand for housing remains strong and will continue to play a lead role in the industry's Covid-19 recovery, with residential construction forecast to keep growing for the next few years," Williams said.

The construction sector is now the fourth largest employer, with 281,400 people by September last year.


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