$121 million of building consents were issued in Rotorua last year- almost $29m more than the previous year and $47m more than two years ago.

Figures released to the Rotorua Daily Post showed the Rotorua Lakes Council issued 1228 consents worth $121,283,711 in 2016.

The total value of consents is the highest since at least 2008. In 2015 just over $92 million of consents were issued and in 2014 the total was just over $74 million.

The majority of the consents in 2016 were residential, with 1044 worth $51m. However, commercial consents made up the greatest value at just over $70m.

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The number of new residential dwellings jumped in 2016 with 108 consents issued compared to 76 in 2015 and 75 in 2014.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce acting chief executive Allison Lawton said that although the figures - especially the increase over the past two years - was significant it wasn't surprising.

"It is a reflection of what we are seeing. You just have to drive around."

She said it was fantastic for the city, which was in growth mode.

"It's just a great story.

"It is wonderful for our city. We are at the cusp of, I think, something great."

ROTORUA DAILY POST | Property
8 Apr, 2017 7:00am
4 minutes to read

Ms Lawton said she believed there was more growth to come.

"I know people are looking with the intention to invest. My view is there is still more to come."

She said any investors who were looking at the economic indicators such as GDP would be able to see it was a "great time to start coming into the city".

December brought a big spike in consents - with $19.3m worth issued, compared to $3.4m in December 2015.

This included 22 commercial consents worth $16.4m, compared to 17 consents worth $1.5m in December 2015.

The biggest three were issued to Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute for work on its redevelopment, with the combined value worth $15m.

The FreshChoice supermarket on Te Ngae Rd also was given consent for $700,000 of building works.

In December, 61 residential building consents were issued worth $2.9m - up 51 per cent in value compared to December 2015.

Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar said it was good to have the consents through for its new restaurant and wananga developments.

Work included a wananga (tertiary education) precinct for the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving, and bronze foundry, and an integrated cafe and restaurant function centre overlooking the Pohutu Geyser.

He said contractors started on site at the end of last year, doing preparation works for the build.

Mr Cossar said he hoped to have the new development ready by the peak of the next tourist season.

"Our target is December but we have to be mindful of the weather. Our aim is to have it all done by then."

But while builders are busy, they say they still have capacity.

Roland Tissink, of Tissink Builders, said his firm had been very busy.

He said they were "pretty much" booked out but could take on some new work.

Mr Tissink said it was mainly new houses.

While he wasn't surprised by the figures he said he was surprised it had taken people so long to recognise Rotorua's potential.

Burton Construction and Maintenance Ltd's Andrew Burton said while they had a reasonably good workload moving forward they weren't "swamped".

"Currently there is good inquiry for the first half of the year but it's still competitive."