New Zealand residential building consents edged higher in January as permits for new houses, apartments and townhouses made up for a decline in retirement unit applications.
Seasonally adjusted consents increased 0.2 per cent in January to 2,445, with new permits for houses rising 3.7 per cent to 1,715 and snapping five months of declines, Statistics New Zealand said.
"Stand-alone houses drove the small growth in new home consents in January," construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement.
"Home consents have been volatile in recent months but overall, consent numbers are fairly flat, and levels remain below both recent and historic peaks."
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New Zealand's residential construction pipeline has been bolstered by a shortfall of housing in the country's biggest city, where a lack of building in the wake of the local finance sector collapse was exacerbated by unexpectedly strong population growth.
That's spurred property prices to record highs, although Reserve Bank restrictions on highly-leveraged mortgage lending and the prospect of government interventions helped curb demand.
Today's figures show new permits for residential property rose 3.7 per cent in the year ended Janruary 31 to 31,251, led by a 34 per cent gain in apartment consents and a 9.8 per cent gain in townhouses, flats and units. New housing permits shrank 0.6 per cent in the year to 21,149, accounting for 67.7 per cent of all consents, compared to 81.8 per cent of all permits five years earlier.
The annual floor area consented rose 0.8 percent to 5.52 million square metres, while the value of new dwellings permitted climbed 9.4 per cent to $11.63 billion.
January residential housing permits rose 10 per cent to 1,380 from the same month a year earlier, apartments rose 16 per cent to 135 and townhouses, flats and units climbed 24 per cent to 352, offsetting a 50 per cent drop in retirement units to 49.
The floor space of non-residential building consents rose 40 per cent to 180,000 square metres in January from a year earlier, while the value gained 42 per cent to $479m. On an annual basis, non-residential floor space consented rose 9.1 per cent to 2.0 million square metres for a 9.8 per cent increase in value to $6.64b.