New residential builds in Tauranga have made a comeback with $33 million worth of consents issued for 84 new homes in just one month.
Experts say a shortage of land, increased house prices and a shift in people wanting to build new has resulted in a housing shortage "catch-up".
Priority One's latest building consent report shows Tauranga City Council issued $33 million for 84 new houses - the highest value and total in four months.
The $33m was part of a total $108m in building consents issued in Tauranga during March, including $68.7m for commercial developments.
Previous reports showed $25.8m was issued for 69 new residential builds in January 2019, $29.5m for 72 single dwellings in December 2018, and $27.5m for 51 in November 2018.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was good to see more new residential builds following an impression the sector had slowed.
"I guess with all-time-low interest rates and awareness of how tight the availability of land is in Tauranga, people are not sitting on their hands," he said.
"Tauranga still represents excellent value for money compared to, say, Auckland."
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said there was still a demand for houses as the population increased.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said while there was confidence in commercial developments in Tauranga, high level of growth put pressure on local infrastructure.
Bayleys and Eves Realty chief operating officer Heath Young said significant price jumps in traditional housing stock in the last few years increased the demand for new residential builds.
"March is a large month for the property sector in terms of deals completing before year end for vendors and purchasers and is the last month before Easter when the typical property cycle sees a seasonal slow down as it heads into winter," he said.
Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato general manager Anton Jones said the data reflected a catch-up on the shortage of houses in the past few years.
There had also been a big shift in people wanting to build new homes after changes in government regulations on rental properties, he said.
BUILDING OUR DREAM HOME
Elena and Jason McKie had been renting in Ōmōkoroa for four years before deciding to build their own home.
"We already felt ourselves to be a part of this community," Elena said.
"[It's] a strange situation in New Zealand where old existing houses built 40 to 50 years ago cost the same as a new build."
Elena said she and her husband had saved for about five years for the build.
"We learned to live on a tight budget as we cut all our expenses," she said.
"We cancelled all insurance contracts (even for cars), bought only second-hand furniture and appliances from TradeMe, clothes and shoes from op shops, mobile phone plans without data, coffee-to-go from home, veggies from own garden...
"Plus we were lucky to pay only $380 for a rental. The only thing we didn't try to save on is our son and his education and activities," she said.
"This way we were managed to save $150,000 with one full-time job and another part-time casual. We also had financial support from our parents."