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North Island home consents up 25 per cent

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/10/2016

Planning for new houses across the North Island has jumped by nearly 25 per cent for the year, but growth in Auckland is lagging other major centres as a legal challenge to the Unitary Plan threatens to slow development.

Nearly 30,000 new homes were consented to across the country in the year to September, up 14 per cent on the same time in 2015, according for new data from Statistics New Zealand.

But while consents in the Bay of Plenty were up by 50 per cent, and Northland saw a growth of 40 per cent, Auckland only gained 14 per cent in consents for the period - although it still made up the largest increase in dwelling numbers.

For the month, overall consents were largely flat from August (up 0.2 per cent), compared to a drop of 1.5 per cent the month before.

ASB senior economist Jane Turner said while the underlying trend was still encouraging, but growth could be threatened by an ongoing legal challenge to Auckland's Unitary Plan.

Lobby groups Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition have asked for a High Court judicial review of higher-density residential zoning in some areas, threatening to freeze development in parts of the city for up to a year.

"Against a back drop of strong population growth, an ongoing sluggish housing supply response could still add additional pressure to house prices," Ms Turner said.

"Recent legal challenges to the Unitary Plan bring some uncertainty around its implementation. This could impact developers and potentially slow Auckland's much-needed supply response."

In the South Island however, consents were down by 3.9 per cent, with a 11 per cent decline in Canterbury dragging down growth elsewhere.

"Canterbury consent issuance has resumed its downtrend as it winds down from the rebuild peak," Ms Turner said.

NORTH ISLAND CONSENTS FOR THE YEAR TO SEPTEMBER

Auckland up 1,239 (14 per cent)

Waikato up 845 (31 per cent)

Bay of Plenty up 829 (50 per cent)

Wellington up 458 (30 per cent)

Northland up 321 (40 per cent)

Otago up 408 ( 31 per cent)

Canterbury down 737 (-11 per cent)

Source: Statistics NZ

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