Residential building is booming with new dwelling consents hitting their highest point in more than a decade.
Statistics NZ figures showed 2379 new dwellings were consented last month, the highest for a February since 2004 and up 35 per cent on the same month a year ago.
Consents were issued for 1712 houses, 341 townhouses, flats, and units, 204 apartments and 122 retirement village units. The busiest areas were Auckland were consents rose 49 per cent, the Bay of Plenty up 98 per cent and Otago, up 136 per cent. In Canterbury, 525 new dwellings were consented, up only 1.5 per cent on February last year.
Nick Smith, Building and Housing Minister, said the latest data confirmed the Government's housing supply initiatives were working.
"The 27,745 new homes consented in the year to February is the highest in a decade. The interesting feature of these latest figures is that the housing boom that started in Christchurch followed by Auckland is now spreading to other parts of the country like the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Nelson/Tasman and Queenstown," Smith said.
"I am particularly encouraged by the February figures for Auckland of 787 for the month, up 50 per cent from 528 in February 2015, and more than three times the low of 220 in 2009. We are maintaining growth of 25 per cent per annum growth in the house build rate since the Housing Accord was signed with Auckland Council, and sustaining the longest and strongest period of growth in the city's history.
"The Government is keeping its foot on the accelerator to ensure this positive momentum continues. The Government is continuing to free up more land faster through the Auckland Housing Accord, together with the council. We have also put in place initiatives to constrain building materials costs, rein in development contributions, cut compliance costs and invest in improved sector productivity. Our new $435 million HomeStart support package, which came into effect last April, is helping drive growth as well as giving a kick-start for first home buyers," Smith said.
"The next steps in the Government's programme include advancing new housing on Crown-owned land in Auckland, supporting the Auckland Council in the completion of the new Auckland Unitary Plan, consulting on a new Urban Development National Policy Statement, and reforming the Resource Management Act to address the long-term issues affecting housing supply and affordability," Smith said.
Statistics NZ said Auckland data was particularly strong.
"The trend for the number of new dwellings consented in Auckland recently reached its highest level since late 2004. The trend appears to have tailed off now, but this is likely to be revised in future months due to the volatility of the series.
"The trend for Waikato is at its highest level since mid-2007. The trend for Wellington appears to be decreasing. The trend for the rest of the North Island is at its highest level since early 2008."
"The trend for Canterbury has fallen 18 percent since the series peak in late 2014, but is still well above the historical average level. The trend for the rest of the South Island recently reached its highest level since mid-2008, but has shown little movement in recent months," Statistics NZ said.
Since September 2010, $3.5 billion of Canterbury's consents have been identified as earthquake-related building consents. This includes consents for 4255 new dwellings, the data showed.
Nationally, the value of consents for non-residential buildings in February was $372 million, down $99 million or 21 per cent from February 2015, mainly due to a decrease in the value of consents for office, administration, and public transport buildings.
In the year to February 2011, 12,460 houses were consented, 11,494 by 2012, 14,257 by 2013, 17,165 by 2014, 18,004 by 2015 and 19,546 in the year to February 2016.