Labour leader Andrew Little says Auckland building costs are rising at 17 per cent annually but Quotable Value has this morning released information showing house-building costs rising at 3.5 per cent annually.

In April, Little used Statistics NZ material to show how Auckland building costs rose 17 per cent in the past year compared with only 7 per cent nationally.

But the latest QVcostbuilder data showed the average cost of building a house in New Zealand's four largest cities was up 3.5 per cent in the May year and Wellington costs shot up faster than Auckland.

"The average cost of building a standard 140sq m, three-bedroom, one bathroom home rose by the most in the Wellington in the year to May, up 2.43 per cent to an average cost of $258,000. This compares to Auckland where costs rose 2.32 per cent to $272,000, Dunedin, where costs rose 2.12 per cent to $254,000 and Christchurch where they rose by the least over the past year, by 1.92 per cent to $277,375," QV said.

Andrea Rush, QV national spokeswoman, said Auckland and Christchurch remained the most expensive places to build a house.

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One construction expert who specialises in housing has pegged inflation much higher than QV.

William Lindesay, of Vincent St-headquartered luxury house builder Lindesay Construction, estimated cedar prices had risen about 40 per cent in the past year.

That was due to its popularity as a cladding material and he said it was often difficult to find good product, he said.

"There's a shortage of cedar. Timber framing [generally] is going up 15 to 20 per cent annually. Concrete prices have been going up, but it's more of a supply problem. We used to order concrete in a day. Now, it takes three weeks. That's shifted how we plan projects."

The QV data does not include GST, land costs, demolition of site structures, external works like landscaping and driveways, installing utilities like power, water, gas, phone or data lines, building balconies or professional, council or legal fees.