Consents for new buildings up 40pc

By Cassandra Mason -
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Increased interest in cottages and sleepouts

ON THE JOB: Local building jobs are picking up in Wairarapa.
ON THE JOB: Local building jobs are picking up in Wairarapa.

New builds are on the rise in Wairarapa, with a local building firm citing particular interest in cottages and additional sleepouts.

The number of February resource consents for new dwellings across the greater Wellington region was up more than 40 per cent on the same time last year, according to Statistics New Zealand data released this week.

And though separate figures for Wairarapa were unavailable, director of Carterton-based Ideal Buildings Andy Robertson said local building jobs were also picking up.

Consents for 114 new houses in the Wellington region, including the Wairarapa, were issued in February, compared with 81 in the same month last year, the figures show.

The value of the month's consents was $50 million - twice the $25 million in February last year.

Mr Robertson said local business was improving.

The upwards trend wasn't as noticeable as Wellington's, but there was definitely more interest in new builds - especially cottages and sleepouts.

However, many of those building in Wairarapa weren't local, he said.

"Wellingtonians [make up] most of our sleepouts and cottages and so forth. Just as an extra room on their property or rental."

Elderly residents were also popular clients for new cottages.

Part of the upturn was seasonal, with customers more willing to spend money once Christmas was over, Mr Robertson said. "It always does pick up this time of year anyway because people want things done before winter."

Mr Robertson was unsure if the upturn was linked to new builds being made exempt under the Reserve Bank's mortgage lending restrictions.

The 1768 new dwelling consents issued nationally in February showed a 14.7 per cent increase from the 1542 issued in February 2013.

These included 1702 new houses and 66 apartments.

In the year to February, Statistics NZ recorded a total of 21,842 dwelling consents - a 25 per cent increase on the 17,481 issued the previous year.

However, the number of apartment consents dipped in February following five-year highs in November and December. The month's trend for all new dwellings was 95 per cent higher than a recent low point in March 2011.

"The trend for new houses has been increasing for almost three years, and is at its highest level since December 2007," Statistics NZ business indicators manager Neil Kelly said.

A total of $1.1 billion in building work was consented during the month, including $726 million of residential and $376 million non-residential work.

Canterbury accounted for 30 per cent of all new dwellings in February, and Auckland 26 per cent.

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