Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Value of building consents at a record high of $66 million

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Building consents are on the rise, including a consent issued last month to build an office and retail building in Second Ave. Photo / George Novak
Building consents are on the rise, including a consent issued last month to build an office and retail building in Second Ave. Photo / George Novak

The value of building consents last month rose to a record-breaking $66 million — but the mountain of construction work means many builders are booked out for the whole year.

Master Builders Association Tauranga president Johnny Calley said a lot of building companies had a year's worth of work on their books.

"Some of the big commercial projects soak up a lot of labour resource, which puts pressure on the residential sector."

Mr Calley said the commercial sector was booming, as was forecasted, and the residential sector was continuing to grow. He expected this to continue through 2016 at the same level it was now.

"Developers are still selling sections like they are hot cakes. That gives us confidence the market will stay at current levels or grow slightly in future.

"The Auckland market is cooling, and that's bringing investment to Tauranga."

Investors impacted by Auckland-only loan restrictions of 30 per cent deposits were building in Tauranga, where 10 per cent deposits were allowed.

"It's good for Tauranga. When the building industry goes well, everything in Tauranga goes well."

Data obtained from Tauranga City Council shows 220 consents last month valued at $66,478,456, compared to 174 consents in January 2016 worth $54.5 million.

That included 131 residential consents issued last month for 141 new dwelling units valued at $46,559,832, and 23 commercial consents worth $16,355,510.

In 2015, the total consents values climbed to $678 million, another record.

Among the 23 commercial consents issued last month were eight $1 million-plus building projects.

Two of the largest were for a $3.6 million office and retail building at 94 Second Ave, and a $3.2 million workshop and offices at Tauriko Business Estate.

One of the Bay's biggest retirement villages, Pacific Coast village, was also issued a consent to add another eight villas to the complex at a cost of $1.5 million. Richard Mora, project manager for the developers Generus Living Group, said construction had already started on the eight villas and completion was due in May this year.

"We completed 65 units last year and we will build the same number this year, and continue to build at this rate until we have reached our target of 220 villas. This is a continuation of what we started at Pacific Coast.

"The consents speak for themselves, but it does show the strong sales in the Bay of Plenty, and spills over from Auckland."

Mr Mora said developers had also built a 25-metre pool to add to the amenities for residents.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said these figures showed that Tauranga's building boom was a long way from over.

"The place is firing on all cylinders when it comes to residential and commercial buildings."

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said month-on-month the number of building consents issued had broken records.

"It's not just residential consents but commercial consents which reflects the business confidence and jobs growth," Ms Hill said.

She said the confidence was also being seen in the Western Bay of Plenty District where commercial consents had been issued for more pack houses and coolstores.

"That's exciting news. There is a lot of positivity going on within the kiwifruit industry, in particular with the new Kiwi Gold which is an amazing fruit because it lasts longer, has a better taste, and is more profitable."

Additional reporting Sonya Bateson

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