Signs of more work for building industry

By PATRICK O'SULLIVAN - Business Editor

 The long-awaited dawn for the local building industry may be at hand, according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. The number and value of new dwelling units authorised have increased for Hawke's Bay.

There were 54 building consents issued in August, up from 29 for July and 46 for August last year. The value of the consents was $14 million, up 40 per cent on the last month and 20 per cent for August last year.

Napier city recorded 23 new dwellings, up from 8 last month and 22 for August last year.

Hastings district recorded 24, up from 10 last month and 18 for August last year.

Hawke's Bay Master Builders Federation president Gordon Sanson said while the industry cannot be described as buoyant, most members have noted an increase in new home inquiry level as well as an increase in work being priced. "There are also a number of significant commercial projects under construction which include the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery and the former Nelson Park development," Sanson said.

"Some members have been looking to employ both experienced staff and also take on apprentices. We have also noticed a return to investment into much needed residential land in Hawke's Bay with developments in Havelock North, Hastings, Clive and Jervoistown as well as the large Parklands subdivision in Napier.

"Parklands appears to be turning into quite a desirable location with members reporting a good volume of new home and land package sales, which have ranged between $450,000 and $650,000. Spec houses in this subdivision have sold well in the past six months and existing homes have all sold at or above GV."

Hawke's Bay Master Builders Federation vice-president Ian Welch said now is a good time to build, before the industry gets fully into growth mode. "When we have a shortage of workers and materials, you will see prices rising," he said.

Warwick Quinn, CEO of the Registered Master Builders Federation, told Hawke's Bay Today in July that the lull in the building industry would not last. "A building tsunami is coming so we are worried about capacity. What we don't know is the timing," he said.

"We are currently building about 15,000 houses a year - 75,000 houses over five years. So we are structured to cope with that now. There is spare capacity in the system so we could probably lift that to 20,000.

"Supply won't be a problem and we can get people back into the sector to cope with an extra five thousand houses. But you add in Christchurch, the refurbishments that are required there, maybe 100,000. You add in the leaky buildings which is 20,000, possibly 40,000, which is currently two years worth of building activity. You add in the building shortage in Auckland - some are saying it is as high as 40,000.

"We are talking as a benchmark potentially 40,000 new houses are going to be needed , but not for one year, but for five years in a row."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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