Builders and labourers are being imported from Auckland and elsewhere as Northland's building boom continues, with the region recording the second-largest increase in new home consents.
Statistics New Zealand figures showed Northland recorded a 43 per cent growth in the number of building consents issued in 2016, behind Manawatu/Wanganui on 49 per cent, compared with 2015.
But the demand for new builds has resulted in a shortage of skilled tradespeople, which means people are waiting longer for their homes to be built.
Statistics show 849 building consents worth $256 million were issued in Northland in 2015. Of those, 447 were issued in Whangarei, 220 in the Far North and 182 in Kaipara.
Last year, the number of building consents throughout Northland shot up to 1211, worth $388m.
Again, the majority - 662 - were in Whangarei, followed by 282 in the Far North and 267 in Kaipara.
August and November saw the highest number of building consents issued last year at 133 for each month, while 70 in January was the lowest for any month. The 133 consents issued in November were worth a record $45m.
In comparison, there were 90 new house consents issued in November 2015.
Simon Crawford, Northland chairman for Registered Master Builders, said the growth in the construction sector had been significant and he expected to trend to continue, if not increase this year.
"I am getting more inquiries this time [than] I was last year and the growth in demand is spread across the whole region," he said.
Mr Crawford said a lot of growth in the residential housing market was driven by Aucklanders.
On a shortage of skilled tradespeople, he said builders were sourcing them from Northland as well as from Auckland and other regions to complete jobs.
People could not just be taken off the street to work on a building site because they needed specific skills and qualifications, including safety training, first, which could take time.
"That means it takes longer to build a house," he said.
Demand for new builds had driven up construction costs, with the skills shortage resulting in companies lifting wages to retain staff and attract new people.
Northland's percentage growth in building consents issued last year was higher than Hawke's Bay which recorded a rise of 32 per cent, Nelson 34 per cent, Otago 29 per cent and Auckland 7 per cent on the previous year.
The only regions to have no growth were Southland and the West Coast.