Applications to build new houses dropped 0.7 per cent last month due to fewer smaller places being planned, Statistics NZ data showed.

The seasonally adjusted number of new homes consented fell 0.7 per cent in July after a 1.3 per cent fall in June and construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie explained why.

"July's fall was driven by the number of consented apartments, townhouses and retirement units which fluctuates from month to month," she said.

The seasonally adjusted number of stand-alone houses consented rose 8.5 per cent, more than reversing a 4 per cent fall in June, Statistics NZ data showed.

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The number of new residences of all types consented was 2762, made up of 1900 houses (up 7.9 per cent from July 2016), 367 apartments (down 14 per cent), 350 townhouses, flats, and units (down 20 per cent) and 145 retirement village units (down 23 per cent).

Auckland suffered the largest consent drop: 313 fewer new homes were consented here last month compared to last July. The fall was driven by decreases in the volatile apartment and townhouse categories, Statistics NZ said.

Auckland's numbers are quite volatile because almost half the homes consented are in multi-unit projects. On average, more than 800 new homes are consented in Auckland a month.

In the year ended July, 30,404 new homes were consented nationally, including 10,051 in Auckland.

Statistics NZ has also just released a new interactive tool on building consent data.

The tool allows people to view consent data by region and reveals the types of residential construction in each area.

The Herald reported this morning data from BCI New Zealand which showed franchised group house builder G.J. Gardner is New Zealand's busiest new housing business, putting up 1462 new residences valued at more than $531 million in the July year.

It built more than double the number of new dwellings of its nearest rival, Mike Greer Homes, which built 750 new places worth $214.2m in the July year.

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G.J. Gardner's average new dwelling cost $363,790 and was an average 190sq m. Its business equates to 5.1 per cent of the New Zealand new-housing build by dollar value, BCI's data showed.