New Zealand's residential building consents took a tumble in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, largely due to earthquake disruption in the capital city of Wellington.
Seasonally adjusted dwelling consents fell 9.2 per cent to 2,406 in November, after rising 2 per cent in October, Statistics New Zealand said. Permits for new houses fell 7.7 per cent to 1,634 following a 1.4 per cent slide in October. The monthly figures were helped by a jump in Auckland permits, which rose 46 per cent to 1,156. Consents in Wellington, however, dropped 57 per cent to 132.
"Once processing capacity and application demand have returned to normal, we expect Wellington's strong upward trend to continue," said ASB Bank senior economist Jane Turner.
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.
New Zealand's central bank has long signalled that an overheated housing market is a key risk to financial stability and that much of the solution lies in supply.
"Strong population growth over the past few years has lifted housing demand right across the country, and we expected momentum to continue at least for another year," ASB's Turner said.
Today's data show the number of homes consented rose 13.1 per cent to 30,303 in the year through November. Of those, 10,137 new homes were consented in Auckland, although still below the 13,000 estimated to be needed to keep up with an expanding population. In Canterbury, where the Christchurch earthquake residential rebuild is slowly winding down, 6,054 new homes were consented, down 9.1 per cent from November 2015, Statistics New Zealand said.
The value of building consents fell 5.1 per cent to $1.58 billion in November from October. Residential building consents increased 2.5 per cent in value to $1.17b, while non-residential permits fell 22 per cent to $411 million.