Fifty million dollars worth of new homes are set to be built in Tauranga after being given council approval over summer.
Figures indicate there are no signs the spike in building consents will slow, according to council building administration team leader Helen Marshall.
"The momentum is continuing, the numbers seem to be growing,'' she told the Bay of Plenty Times.
The number of consents for new homes increased from 112 for the summer of 2010-11 to 159 for this summer - up 43 per cent.
The total value of all building consents issued in Tauranga this summer, including commercial and additions, was $88.6 million - up a third on the same period last year and 27 per cent up on 2010-11.
The lift in building has been accompanied by an increase in the number of sections being sold, with Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Max Mason saying it was one of a number of positive indicators generating business optimism in the Western Bay.
Tauranga builder Miles Everton, who briefly left the industry in 2011 when the going got too tough, said he now had enough work to last him and his two builders until the end of the year. "It is very pleasing, the order book is looking comfortable,'' he said. Everton Homes went from 18 staff to just two in the course of three years, with margins squeezed so tight that he decided to take six months off to improve his golf handicap.
Classic Builders director Matt Lagerberg said there was more activity but it was still a bit too early to say the industry had improved.
Their inquiries and contracts were up 50 per cent on two years ago and the company's forward work looked promising. Classic Builders, the largest residential builder in the Bay, signed 11 contracts last month - still well below the 16 to 20 a month during the boom.
Mr Lagerberg said Auckland building activity had been moving steadily for the last six months. If Tauranga followed historic trends of lagging behind Auckland, then this suggested the city was getting better.
Dave Shaw of Shaw Builders had just started a million-dollar house and was to take on the first of two new apprentices next week.
LJ Hooker franchise owner Neville Falconer said the growth in consents had been accompanied by an increase in section sales over the last couple of months. The lift had been on a low base of two years ago when sales were slow.
Building suppliers were also in a stronger position than a year ago, particularly from the increased action in Auckland and the Christchurch earthquake rebuild, he said.
"There are some very exciting new developments planned for the city centre. Business confidence surveys show growing optimism.''
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