Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) says the latest building consent figures released today reconfirm a greater level of activity compared to 2011 but the growth trend continued to be flattening off except in Canterbury and to some extent Auckland.
Statistics New Zealand figures show 1,513 new homes and apartment consents were issued for August 2012, a 0.3% increase on August 2011. Increases in the South Island of 121 new consents were offset by decreases in the North Island of 116 consents resulting in a 1.9% increase on July 2012.
RMBF CEO Warwick Quinn says that 2011 saw the lowest level of building activity in decades and was one of the hardest years in living memory with a little over 13,500 new home consents issued. Since December 2011 the market has shown a steady improvement so that in the eight months to August 2012, 10,736 new homes and apartments had been consented.
However, Mr Quinn says that national consent figures seem to have stabilised so when annualized, results in a forecast of around 16,000 new consents for 2012 or about a 15% increase on 2011.
Further, he says RMBF has been predicting something of a ‘tale of two cities’ - while most of New Zealand is lacklustre the Canterbury and Auckland areas to continue to experience growth due to the rebuild in Canterbury and the housing pressures in Auckland. Mr Quinn says while things have improved compared to 12 months ago the market still remains very tough and builders are still under severe pressure. New Zealand is still not building enough new homes which should be in the order of 20,000 – 25,000 per annum.
However, he says there has never been a better time to build with low interest rates and a highly competitive market but this window will close once the Canterbury rebuild starts in earnest and the economy picks up again.