Hawke's Bay had a record level of new dwellings consented last year, but don't expect that to solve the housing crisis overnight, the region's leaders say.
According to Stats NZ, 1048 consents were given in Hawke's Bay in the year ended November 2020 – a 52 per cent increase on the 689 consents in the 12 months before.
But builders say difficulties in finding the labour and supplies needed for all the new builds are meaning projects are being delayed.
Of the 1048, 568 consents went to the Hastings district, 353 to Napier city, 112 to Central Hawke's Bay district and 15 to Wairoa district.
New house consents were up 27 per cent from 536 the previous year to 679, while the number of retirement village unit consents went up 212 per cent from 85 to 265.
Consents for townhouses, flats, units, and other dwellings increased by 58 per cent from 66 to 104.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the increase in consents illustrates the enormous demand for housing across the district.
"These new homes help alleviate our housing shortage crisis as it creates and frees up more housing stock, but challenges remain, which council is actively working on addressing," she said.
Hazlehurst said the Hastings District Council is working with partner agencies on the Hastings Place Based Housing Plan:
"The plan's ultimate goal is getting people out of motels being used as emergency housing and into long-term rentals and home ownership."
Tukituki MP Anna Lorck said there are promising signs towards shortages in housing being addressed.
"It's all hands to the pump really, to get as much as we can," she said, adding there is a huge level of activity and partnership between central and local government to get more dwellings built.
She said the numbers reflect the record activity in Hastings right across the sector, part of that being a significant increase in government investment in her electorate.
"221 houses are on track to be finished by the end of the year, and there's a lot more in the pipeline," Lorck said.
"One of the biggest challenges is the capacity and the scale to keep developing under the demand and with all the activity going on."
Richard Kepka of Richard Kepka Builders said the increase in consents has created a massive demand for their services at the moment, and 2020 was very busy for them and every other local residential building company.
"The big problem we have at the moment I guess is not having enough labour," he said.
"There's a finite amount of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and they can only do so much."
Kepka said Covid continues to have an impact with major delays in getting building materials in from overseas.
He added they have to think differently in how and when materials are ordered to make sure there is plenty of lead time for them to arrive before building commences.
"These all take a toll on construction timing, and that makes it pretty much impossible to predict a finish date," he said.
Kepka added that there are a lot of projects at the moment that are 18-month to two-year builds purely because of the size of the houses.
"I can see it going for all of this year, and possibly well into next year," he said.