New Zealand's residential building consents rose for the first month in four in October, boosted by two apartment projects in Wellington.

Seasonally adjusted dwelling consents increased 2.6 per cent to 2,683 in October, following declines in July, August and September, Statistics New Zealand said. Permits for new houses fell 1.3 per cent to 1,788, following a 2.7 per cent decline in September. The monthly figures were bolstered by a jump in Wellington permits, which rose 140 per cent to 303 due to two apartment projects. Canterbury had the largest drop in consents, down 21 per cent to 387 as earthquake rebuild activity slowed.

Record net migration is putting pressure on the nation's housing market where a shortage of supply is pushing up prices in Auckland, the country's largest city, making accommodation unaffordable for many. Today's data shows the number of homes consented rose 14 per cent to 30,161 in the year through October, the first time in 11 years that the annual figure has passed 30,000. Auckland accounted for a third of the annual tally, with consents of 9,947, although still less than the 13,000 estimated to be needed to keep up with an expanding population.

"Building in Auckland is still failing to keep up with population growth," said Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod. " At the same time, housing consent issuance in Canterbury has continued to slow. That was to be expected after a period of very strong activity in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue into the new year."


The value of building consents rose 6 per cent to $1.66 billion in October from September. Residential building consent increased 7.3 per cent in value to $1.14b, while non-residential permits increased 3.4 per cent to $526 million.