In the 12 months to December 2013, 21,300 residential building consents were issued. This is a 26 percent increase from the 16,930 consents issued in the 12 months to December 2012. As shown in the figure below, even at that point in time the number of consents issued in the 12 months to December 2012 was 24 percent higher than the 13,660 consents issued in the 12 months to December 2011.
The last time the number of new house consents was over the 21,000 mark was in August 2008. While still below the 22-25,000 range that many consider to be a long-term ‘average’, the rate of increase suggests that this range will in al probability be reached later this year. Consequently, there are now capacity concerns within the building industry – labour and skills, businesses, regulatory functions, and materials – which may lead to rising cost pressures in this industry.
If we look at monthly figures, for the month to December 2013 an estimated 2,035 new consents were issued for residential buildings. Of this number, an estimated 750 consents were issued outside of Auckland and Canterbury. It should be noted that monthly figures can be erratic so it is best to look at three-monthly trends.
If we compare the three months to December 2013 residential building with the same period the previous year, consents in Canterbury were up almost 66 percent compared to the three months to December 2012, while those in the Wellington Region were up 64 percent. However, in the Tasman and Marlborough regions, consents were down during the same period by 21 percent respectively. Southland also saw a decline in consents during this period of 21 percent.
The Auckland Region, in contrast, had a 51 percent growth in new residential building consents in the three months to December 2013 compared to the year earlier, and 38 percent growth in the 12 months to December 2013.