Building boom: Housing consents smash records, hitting all-time high

Author
Anne Gibson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jan 2022, 11:48AM
Housing consent data out today. (Photo / Duncan Brown)
Housing consent data out today. (Photo / Duncan Brown)

Building boom: Housing consents smash records, hitting all-time high

Author
Anne Gibson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jan 2022, 11:48AM

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. 

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, Minister for Building and Construction 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.