Seventy-five new Rotorua dwellings were granted resource consent in the year to February, new figures reveal.
But a local builder says moves to exempt new builds from Reserve Bank mortgage restrictions are yet to have a marked effect on the Rotorua market, despite the building boom currently underway in Tauranga.
Rotorua consent numbers spiked in April last year, with 17 issued for the month, according to Statistics New Zealand data released this week.
Five consents were issued for new Rotorua dwellings in February, down from six the previous month and six in February last year.
However, the wider Bay of Plenty, including Rotorua, recorded 114 consents in February alone, worth $36 million.
That was up on the 95 consents worth $25 million issued in February 2013.
Malcolm MacDougall of MacDougall Builders in Rotorua said most locals were opting to build subdivision homes through groups like Golden Homes and Generation Homes.
"I work on new homes when they come up, but mostly people want those package deals and they don't mind that their house is [thrown] together."
The Reserve Bank's decision to exclude new builds from last year's home loan restrictions hadn't had much of an impact in Rotorua, but was helping fuel a boom elsewhere in the Bay of Plenty, he said.
Mr MacDougall said he hoped the number of new builds would pick up, but for now, the majority of business was renovations and bathroom repairs. The 1768 new dwelling consents issued nationally in February showed a 14.7 per cent increase from the 1542 issued in February 2013. These included 1702 new houses and 66 apartments.
In the year to February, Statistics NZ recorded a total of 21,842 dwelling consents - a 25 per cent increase on the 17,481 issued the previous year.
However, the number of apartment consents dipped in February following five-year highs in November and December.
The month's trend for all new dwellings was 95 per cent higher than a recent low point in March 2011.
"The trend for new houses has been increasing for almost three years, and is at its highest level since December 2007," Statistics NZ business indicators manager Neil Kelly said.
A total of $1.1 billion in building work was consented during the month, including $726 million of residential and $376 million non-residential work. Canterbury accounted for 30 per cent of all new dwellings in February, and Auckland 26 per cent.