Crazy as it sounds, Whanganui may be running out of land on which to build new homes.

And the scarcity of development-ready land is threatening a current building boom.

The Whanganui District Council issued 906 consents last year which have been rising steadily over recent years.

Building control team leader Greg Hoobin said consents were up 25 per cent on the 2013/14 year, with consent numbers increasing every year in between.

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"The sector has been really busy the last couple of years," Hoobin said.

"There were 120 new houses last year and we're tracking on the same vein this year. It's a big increase on previous years. If you try to get a tradesman, you have to wait about six months at the moment because they're flat out."

However, Hoobin said he expected building activity to plateau in the not too distant future.

"I don't think we can keep this up for too much longer," Hoobin said.

"There's not the land available for development. The new housing work will dry up unless land with services opens up pretty quickly."

Commercial building activity remained consistent but the type of work could greatly affect the value of consents.

"Consents can be for extension work or when a business is moving around but then you get the big ticket items now and then which make a huge difference to the value," Hoobin said.

"We also know that there's a lot of interest in Whanganui in the commercial space at the moment. People are looking here in the commercial area and if they go ahead we could see some big changes in Whanganui."

Hoobin said regional New Zealand was generally about 12-18 months behind the major cities so a downturn in activity was likely to be seen in the main centres first.

The council employs six building inspectors and the team did 3537 inspections for the 2017/18 year, an increase of 32 per cent on 2013/14.

Hoobin said the increase in activity had seen the council introduce a building control officer cadet scheme, with the first cadet now about 18 months into the two-year programme and a second cadet about to start.

"It's about succession planning and developing our staff."