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Building consents fall in December

NZN 8/02/2017 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand's residential building consents fell in December, mainly due to a drop in apartment consents.

Seasonally adjusted dwelling consents declined 7.2 per cent to 2,215 in December after falling 9.6 per cent in November, Statistics New Zealand said.

Seasonally adjusted permits for new houses, however, rose 3.5 per cent to 1,696 following a 7.7 per cent slide in November.

Consents fell sharply on the month in Auckland to 740 versus 1,156 in November.

Record net migration is putting pressure on the nation's housing market where a shortage of supply is pushing up prices in Auckland, the country's largest city, making accommodation unaffordable for many.

"The slowdown in Auckland housing consent growth is concerning given existing supply shortages," said ASB economist Jane Turner.

"Strong population growth over the past few years has lifted housing demand in many parts of the country, and we expect momentum to continue at least for another year."

In calendar 2016, 29,970 new dwellings were consented - up 10 per cent from 2015, Statistics New Zealand said.

Of those, 9,930 were consents in Auckland which is up 7.3 per cent from 2015 but still below the 13,000 estimated to be needed to keep up with an expanding population.

In Canterbury, where the Christchurch earthquake residential rebuild is slowly winding down, 5,903 new homes were consented, down 9 per cent from December 2015, Statistics New Zealand said.

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