Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

$606 million building boom on coastal strip

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Tauranga Master Builders Association President Johnny Calley. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Tauranga Master Builders Association President Johnny Calley. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

More than half a billion dollars has been poured into residential development on the Mount and Papamoa coastal strip since 2013 amid a building boom.

Data from the Tauranga City Council reveals 1719 building consents valued at $606.9 million have been issued for Mount Maunganui and Papamoa from 2013 to date.

Statistics show so far this year 492 consents valued at $190,549,073 were issued - $91.8m higher than 2013 and only $3.7m behind 2015 values.

Peter Cooney, group director of CBC and Classic Builders said migration and interest rates were helping drive the ''staggering growth''.

"We have never seen anything like it since the last boom. It's not just in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa but across the board.

''There needs to more land made accessible for development otherwise the rate of growth could have a detrimental effect on house prices making it too expensive for the average person, and even more unattainable for most people," he said.

Barrett Homes national sales manager Toni Whitehorn there had been huge growth as more Aucklanders moved to the region and ''with immigration at an all time high''.

Tauranga Master Builders Association president Johnny Calley agreed and said migration to the area was expected to continue to grow.

''Everything has worked out to the predicted forecast at this point and the country as a whole with growth in the economy which leads to one thing. The construction side of the industry is going to continue at the momentum it has got.''

But he said there was ''a bit of congestion in the council processing those consents and there is some room for improvement''.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the growth was great news for the local economy.

The Bay of Plenty, and particularly Tauranga and the Western Bay, had been experiencing the strongest economic growth in the country over the past 18 months, as well as the strongest job growth, she said.

It was also pleasing to see the SmartGrowth 50-year spatial plan, which identified Papamoa East as a growth area come to fruition, she said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said we ''are still seeing boom times in those two suburbs, as more people want to live close to the beach''.

But growth at this rate and on this scale was a two-edged sword, he said.

''As more and more people flock into these suburbs and more homes are built, the pressure on roads, schools and other services increases. We're seeing both sides of the equation at the moment."

Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said there was a whole supply chain around growth from the first time a bulldozer went into a farm to create sections all the way through to a new home owner turning on a light.

''It's significant and massive but in saying that we can't rely on our growth itself for our economy - that is fatal. We need a really robust economic base for employment not just growth itself.''

- Additional reporting Sandra Conchie

- Bay of Plenty Times

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