NZ residential building consents slip 3.7% in April after surging in March

Construction of apartments and completed apartments in Hobosonville, Auckland. Photo: John Sefton

New Zealand residential building consents fell 3.7 percent in April, after rising 13 percent in March, as multi-unit projects such as apartments and townhouses caused volatility in the monthly numbers.

Seasonally adjusted consents for all dwellings fell to 2,882 in April from 2,992 in March while seasonally adjusted permits for stand-alone houses slipped 1.4 percent to 1,737, Statistics New Zealand said.

“Apartments and townhouses consented tend to be unevenly spread month to month, which causes peaks and troughs in total new homes consented,” Stats NZ construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement.

In the year to the end of April, permits for new residential dwellings rose 5.4 percent to 32,015, the highest level since 2004. Townhouses and apartments drove the increase in the total number of homes consented, offsetting a slight dip in consents for new houses. Consents issued for townhouses reached a record 5,508 in the year ended April, surpassing the previous highs of 5,287 in the year ended March 2018 and 5,169 in the year ended June 1995.

The number of townhouses consented may have been higher than this before 1990, particularly during the building boom of the mid-seventies, as before 1990 only a total was recorded for the number of new homes, McKenzie said.

The annual figures for retirement village units showed consents were up 15 percent to 1,962 in the 12 months through April.