Hawke's Bay builders are rushed off their feet trying to keep up with a rising demand for new houses - with 543 new houses getting council approval last year.

Last year there was a total of $211.6 million-worth of new dwellings consented across Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay, and A1 Homes owner Rob Fargher said he and others had experienced a definite increase in new homes being built over the last year.

"We're rushed off our feet. More contacts, more people and good confidence."

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Mr Fargher said three- and four-bedroom properties were particularly popular.

Latitude Homes Hawke's Bay owner Debbie Middleton said things had definitely kicked-on since halfway through the year, with Central Hawke's Bay in particular a building hot spot.

"There's been a lot in Central Hawke's Bay actually, because we're running out of land in Hastings and Napier - we're doing a fair bit in Central Hawke's Bay.

"About halfway through the year, we started building on a little rural subdivision in Waipawa and then next thing - boom - all six or seven sections surrounding it all sold, and now houses are being built. So, it's been very good for the economy down that way."

Hastings District Council said the number of new-home building consents for the calendar year to December 31, 2017 was 261, with a provisional value for those consents placed at $117.1m.

Napier City Council last year issued 233 building consents for new dwellings (including apartments), with a total value of $79.56m.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council meanwhile, consented 49 new dwellings, worth a combined $15m.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation chief executive Warwick Quinn said the number of new residential building consents issued in 2017 was expected to exceed those issued in 2016, resulting in six consecutive years where consents had continued to rise, beating the previous record.

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The number of building consents issued for new dwellings in Hawke's Bay for the year to November rose 25.5 per cent.

While the numbers of consents issued nationally in December 2017 are not yet available, the total number for the year issued up to the end of November 2017 (28,916) is already close to 2016's total of 30,063, according to figures recently released by Statistics New Zealand.

"While December is often a quieter month we are still expecting consents in 2017 to be about 31,000, surpassing 2016's total. This will mean the longest 'bull run' in construction activity since records were first collected in the 1960s. The previous longest run was for five years from 1969 to 1973 and for four years between 2001 and 2004.

"While a lot of media attention has been focused on Auckland there is significant demand throughout the country. More than 65,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years and a little under half of these need to be trade qualified."

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said the growth in new houses was a good indicator for the regional economy.

"Growth in new dwelling consents is a sign of positive growth for the regional economy. Whether it's people moving inter-province or first-home buyers entering the market, these all create opportunities to build, a very positive sign of prosperous growth for Hawke's Bay. The more we can add to the economic cycle the further the reach of a dollar."