The value of residential building consents jumped $3 million in May compared with the same month last year - but local builders believe the boom could be even bigger if there was more land available.

The total value of residential building consents issued by the Rotorua Lakes Council last month was $6.1 million - up 96 per cent on the $3.1 million worth of consents issued in May 2015.

The total number of residential consents was up slightly from 117 in 2015 to 124 last month.

In 2016 there were 12 applications for new dwellings worth $4 million compared with six applications worth $1.9 million in May 2015.

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Commercial consent values were also up significantly, with a total of 16 consents worth $4.5 million issued in May compared to 19 consents worth $2.7 million the previous May.

Rotorua Registered Master Builders Association spokesman Bill Clement said the values would almost certainly be higher if there was more land available to build on. "For sure, it could be higher," he said.

Mr Clement said he had been working on "quite a big job" which had kept him out of the loop but he was surprised by the figures.

He said he was aware of a few bigger properties being built.

Versatile Homes and Buildings' Stuart Wilson said it was fair to say there had been an increase in work and interest.

"My impression is there is a fair bit of interest in new builds. We are flat out."

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Mr Wilson said they were booking work into next year and with the demand they had to be realistic about time-frames.

Tissink Builders owner Roland Tissink said he had been experiencing more enquiries.

He said it was a mix of new builds and renovations.

Mr Tissink said while he wasn't turning away work, he was fully booked to the end of next year.

"There is a lot of work in planning a house, especially some of the big ones."

Mr Tissink agreed availability of land was a big issue and said a number of clients were wanting to build but couldn't find the land.

He said he had called "lots and lots" of real estate agents looking for suitable land for clients but it was hard to find.

"[Clients] are buying existing [houses] because they can't buy a nice section. There are some around but not ones with a nice aspect."

Rotorua building consents for May:

• $10.6 million worth of consents issued, compared with $5.8 million in May 2015.

• $6.1 million were residential consents.

• $4.5 million were commercial consents.

• In the three months to May 31 this year, $35.4 million of consents were issued.

- Rotorua Lakes Council