The number of building consents for new dwellings continued to increase in 2015 with new apartments and townhouses leading the charge.

Statistics New Zealand released the figures for new dwellings consented today, and found the increase in 2015 was not as strong as in the previous three years.

Over 27,000 new dwellings were consented in 2015 - up about 2,400 from 2014, following an average increase of 3,700 over each of the three previous years.

Business indicators Manager at Statistics NZ Clara Eatherley said the largest increases for 2015 were for townhouses and apartments, followed by consents for houses. retirement village units decreased very slightly, she said.


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"Last year was the ninth-highest year on record for dwelling consents, beaten only by the building booms in the 1970s and early 2000s," business indicators manager Clara Eatherley said.

Annual dwelling consents have increased by about 13,000 since the historic low in 2011.

The regions with the largest increases were Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty. The region with the largest decrease was Canterbury, down from an all-time high in 2014.

"On average, every working day in 2015 saw another 109 dwellings consented, including 37 in Auckland and 26 in Canterbury," Eatherley said.

Auckland accounted for about one-third of the national total in 2015, with Canterbury accounting for about one-quarter.

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For the December month, consents increased by 2.3 per cent, when seasonally adjusted.

The 2,538 new dwellings, were made up of 1,661 houses, 427 apartments, 291 townhouses, flats, and units and 159 retirement village units.

David Norman, industry economist at Westpac Bank, said the rate of increase in dwelling consents in December was higher than expected.

"Following growth of more than 7% in the previous two months, a downward adjustment was possible."

In Auckland, the rate of increase in the December month grew 21 per cent year-on-year when seasonally adjusted.

"A strong pipeline of work that will translate into construction activity over the next several months is in place although we would caution that in Auckland, the level of consents is still well below what is needed to eat into the backlog of supply," Norman said.

ASB economists said while the construction activity supported the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's expectation of growth, the bank still expected the official cash rate to be cut by 50 basis points over June and August.

Read Statistics NZ's full report here: