The building sector in Northland has slowed in the second month of the year with statistics showing a slight drop in consents issued.

Statistics New Zealand February data showed 61 residential building consents were issued in Northland - down from the 69 issued during February the previous year.

By district, there were 32 residential building consents issued in Whangarei and 19 issued in the Far North and 10 issued in Kaipara. The value of residential buildings consented in February in Northland was $20 million, the same amount as in February the previous year.

Hill Construction director James Senescall said February had been a slower month than previous years.


"This year things have definitely slowed down as far as commercial is concerned but I think residential has picked up.

"In saying that we have certainly still had a fair bit of work on so things are not too bad.

"I suppose if you look around in town there are a lot of empty buildings and maybe there is just not the need for new businesses and there is a lot of 'for lease' signs around.

"I should imagine people are taking those instead of building new."

Mr Senescall said February was normally a busy month for building.

The month was a key time for his firm.

"We are normally really busy through February, March, April and May and then things start slowing down into winter.

"People are not that keen to build in winter.

"But for this year, it has been a bit of a slower one. We have been busy but the inquiry hasn't been there."

Nationally, the number of new residential building consents issued dropped by 0.6 per cent in February compared with the same month in 2014. A total of 1758 new dwellings were consented in February 2015, including 160 apartments.

Statistics New Zealand business indicators manager Neil Kelly said building consent trends had begun to decline in 2015.

"The trend for new dwellings has more than doubled since March 2011 but it is now showing signs of decreasing after generally increasing for almost four years."

The regions which consented the most new dwellings were; Auckland with 528 consents issued (including 98 apartments), Canterbury with 517 issued (including 62 apartments) and Waikato with 195 building consents issued in February 2015.

More than $1.2 billion of building work was consented in February - $769 million of residential work and $469 million of non-residential work.

For the whole year ending in February 2015, $14.8 billion of building work was consented - up 18 per cent on the year ended February 2014. This comprised $9.6 billion of residential work and $5.3 billion of non-residential work.