New Zealand residential building consents fell 11 percent in July, partly reversing a spike higher in June due to applications for retirement villages and multi-unit dwellings.
Seasonally adjusted dwelling consents slipped to 2,629 in July from 2,938 in June, when they jumped 22 percent, Statistics New Zealand said. On an annual basis, dwelling consents rose 13 percent to 29,084, marking the highest level for a July year since 2004, the agency said.
Record net migration is putting pressure on the nation's housing market where a shortage of supply is pushing up prices in Auckland, the country's largest city, making accommodation unaffordable for many. The latest data shows Auckland residential consents for the year reached 9,622, less than one-third of the national total despite the city accounting for at least half of the country's population growth over the last year.
"A lot more growth in consents will be needed to begin eating into the housing shortfall of 30,000 dwellings," Westpac Bank industry economist David Norman said in a note.
"Hopefully with (Auckland) Council having signed off the Unitary Plan, subject to a final period of limited submissions from the public, Auckland will get on and build."
Today's figures show the value of building consents rose 15 percent to $1.65 billion in July from the year-earlier month, as residential consents increased 5.8 percent to $1.03 billion, while non-residential consents jumped 35 percent to $614 million.