New Zealand residential building consents snapped two months of declines in August as growing intentions in Auckland buoyed the national market.
Seasonally adjusted consents rose 7.8 per cent to 2,713 last month, reversing an 11 per cent decline in July, Stats NZ said. New house permits also increased for the first time in three months, edging up 0.2 per cent 1,667.
New building intentions in Auckland underpinned the increase, with a record 12,959 residential properties permitted in the year ended August 31, a 26 per cent gain from a year earlier.
"The 2004 peak in Auckland homes consented was mainly driven by growth in the number of apartments. This new record is also driven by townhouses, flats, and units; and retirement village units," Stats NZ construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.
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"While the number of homes consented in the last 12 months is similar to the previous peaks in 1974 and 2004, Auckland's population has increased significantly over that time," she said.
The increased activity in the country's biggest city is still lagging behind the 13,000 new permits needed to keep up with population growth.
The government is trying to accelerate the national construction activity with its KiwiBuild programme in an effort to boost the number of affordable houses as rising real estate prices have priced out a number of people from the market.
Residential permits rose to 32,759 in the year ended August 31 from 30,736 a year earlier as increased numbers of new apartments, townhouses and flats offset a 1.8 per cent decline in new house consents to 20,862.
The value of non-residential permits shrank 15 per cent to $599 million in August from the same month a year earlier, with new permits for 308,000 square metres compared to 315,000 m2 in August 2017.