Number of building consents issued in February falls 6.7% from Jan, upward trend slowing, Stats NZ says; 27 quake-related consents in Feb

The rising trend in building consents issued slowed in February, as seasonally adjusted figures showed the number of consents issued during the month fell 6.7% from January, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The rate of the upward trend had slowed in recent months, Statistics New Zealand said. The trend for the number of new houses, including apartments, has risen 23 percent since April 2011, which was the lowest point in the data's 30-year history.

After seasonal fluctuations were removed, housing consents fell 6.7 percent in February, after rising 8.1 percent in the month before.

"February's decrease partly offset the January increase, which was due to the relatively large number of apartments approved in January," industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said.

"As a result, February's level is similar to December's."

Housing consent numbers for February 2012, compared with February 2011, were:

  • 1,204 new houses, including apartments, up 24 percent
  • 1,142 new houses, excluding apartments, up 29 percent
  • 62 new apartments, all of which were retirement village units, down from 89 apartments.

More new houses were consented in 11 of New Zealand's 16 regions, in February 2012 compared with February 2011. While Canterbury showed the largest regional increase (up 112, to 260 new houses), this reflected the low number approved last year, likely due to the major earthquake on 22 February 2011, Stats NZ said.

27 home consents in Christchurch

In Canterbury, earthquake-related building consents totalled NZ$41 million in February 2012. Of this, NZ$30 million was for non-residential work, and NZ$11 million was for residential work, including 27 new houses.

Economist reaction

ASB economist Christina Leung;

Residential building consent issuance was weak in February, falling 6.7% over the month. This follows an 8.1% increase in the previous month, when the spike in consent issuance for retirement units in Canterbury drove the increase in apartment consent issuance. Over February, only 62 retirement village units were consented compared to 174 in January, which meant a decline in apartments consented.

Nonetheless, excluding the volatile apartments component dwelling consent issuance increased only 1.2%. This suggests residential building activity will be fairly subdued over the coming months. Given the continued improvement in housing market activity, we expect stronger housing demand will eventually flow through to increased residential building activity over 2012.

Non-residential consents

Non-residential building consent issuance was strong in February, up 46% compared to year-ago levels, but this appears to be a bounce back from a very weak consent issuance in January.   Non-residential consents are often lumpy and very volatile month to month. The trend in non-residential consents remains subdued.  Consent issuance has broadly stabilised over 2011, following declines in activity since 2009. While commercial construction intentions have improved over recent months, they point to only modest growth in commercial building construction.

Earthquake-related consents continue to gradually pick up, with $41 million of February consents indentified as being earthquake-related.  Most of the earthquake-related consents have been for non-residential building.

Implications

Consent issuance remains very weak, indicating a very subdued construction outlook in the near term. Low levels of housing construction over the first half of 2012 will continue to put pressure on the housing supply and generate upward pressure on house prices, particularly in Auckland and Canterbury. We expect post-earthquake rebuilding will ramp up from late 2012, and this will likely see some easing in housing supply constraints.

Overall, there remains little urgency for the RBNZ to increase the OCR, and we continue to expect it will remain on hold until December 2012.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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40 Comments

This is a National Disgrace.

Matt - no it ain't. If the population was kept static - which sooner or later it should be, and the sooner the better - then you'd only need a static housing stock.
 
The fact that we don't behave sustainably, the fact that we don't factor in the rights of future generations, that's the disgrace.
 
 

It is disgraceful and will lead to another year of double digit price gains in Auckland.

Calm down Hugh!
 
There is little that can be done.  Despite your protestations against my assessment of current construction costs, it is clear that the market cannot provide houses at the costs you suggest they should - if they could, they would.
 
The big problems are council charges and the associated red tape.
 
A CCC consent for a new bathroom that I put in last month cost nearly $2000!  Three years ago I could have done exactly the same work under a "minor works consent" for $150 including GST! (That's about a 1300% increase in 3 years!)
 
The illogical development contibution regime adds about $30k to the cost of developing a site in ChCh (probably adds about $40k to the finished price).  Difficulties getting consents through and environmental hurdles probably add about another $40k on average.
 
So what the last 12 months of free land zoning and oodles of sections coming to the market proves, is that it is not supply of land that is holding new section prices high but in fact the development costs.
 
Many of the current schemes won't get off the ground because in reality (apart from demand for big lifestyle sections in "firm" outer areas) few sales are actually occuring - partly because the prices are relatively high but most because the demand never existed.
 
Trundle through some open days in the NorthWest and you will find vacant home after vacant home or if not you will be told the vendor is leaving town.
 
There is no shortage of housing.  There is no shortage of sections.  We are merely in an intermediate stage where people are still leaving, many houses are still to be repaired (while the insurance companies and EQC are still busy having a cuppa!) and we have a rush of soon to be evicted red zoners propping up the market.
 
Once the red zoners are sorted, the market will fail.  Which is why I am steering well clear of ChCh property unless it it is being given away.
 
ChCh has an amazing opportunity to get some really good value housing on the market by relocating about two to three thousand of the red zone properties.  This could acheive the outcome of quality modern homes for under $250k (which would have normally been worth $450k plus).  This is the only way to acheive affordable housing in a fast and efficient manner.
 
Why has this not been done?  Because everyone is too lazy (or too stupid).

Kick em in the goolies Hugh....pleased to see you gave the socialist morons a bashing for their 9 years of bubble economics...bubble brains the lot of them.
Welcome folks to the new normal...it aint going to get any better.

All those renters who claim they can't afford a house/save for a deposit, here is a story of hard work & deciation from nothing .... 
You can be a Home-Owner in NZ, you just have to work & save
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/6666929/Penniless-to-home-owners-in-six-years

Wow that's some lead in MortBelt...
"They put $75,000 away for a deposit and moved into their $345,000 weatherboard Motueka St home on March 16. "
They are now feeding the bank $17500 a year in interest at 6.5%.....and where are rates going to go....and how secure is their total income...?
The property would have cost what before Helen Clark's idiot govt fostered the credit bubble to win the 05 election?....maybe less than $225ooo! doh
They smile now...will they smile at 8%...will they smile when one job goes poof....when a baby arrives....when property values tumble...???
 

The reason this hard-working frugal family could save the deposit, & will easily afford the mortgage payments is that they probably don't have ipods, ipads, flat screen TVs, 2 late model cars, Sky TV, etc etc ....   they should provide an inspiration for aimless 20/30-somethings.  
They should do better than 6.5%  -  more likely 5.7% which gives them $596 fortnightly payments on interest-only or 800 or so on Table mortgage.  They exhibit a mentality of gratitude for living in a great country with freedom, - and pretty reasonably priced houses.
They understand that the key to progress to to press forward, not wait around and moan & wait 'for conditions to improve' before venturing anything.  In fact we could arrange 'exchange schemes' - more honest hard-working couples like this come to NZ, & we send all those NZ-ers with poor credit history, criminal offending, lack of family responsibility, welfare recipients for 4 years+, & stroppy Malborougharians,   off to Burma.... that may improve the progress of NZ.  
 

" and pretty reasonably priced houses."....utter BS...you really are full of it Mortbelt. Take a trip to Queensland and try spouting your rubbish over there...likely somebody will stuff it down your throat.
These two are now bank fodder and that is something you will never accept...you are aptly named Deathbelt....the mortgage is sucking away their incomes..feeding the greedy parasitic bank...and all they had to be given was some sound prudent advice about the sickness that pervades the NZ economy...boom bust boom bust boom bust......
They paid bubble prices for a box that is bloated in value to protect the parasites.
 

Sorry Mortgage Belt - Wally is right on this one.
 
But probably not for the long-game reason.
 
Real incomes have to lessen from here on, regardless of frugality. The banks will hoover up the defaults, so ownership will be in lesser and lesser, richer and richer hands.
 
Richer, in real terms, means having ownership of the real. Just how the banks deal with the fiscal book-loss, without going under meantime, is the 64 dollar question.
 
The 'price' of just about everything was kept low via abundant easy energy. It couldn't last.
 
 

Of course, I forgot  -  there was no wealth in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries.  Or in 1000 BC. No gold, no land, no houses/palaces, no ships, no trade, no crops, no plantations, no horses ....  The world's inhabitants were all living in abject poverty for 1000's of years before oil was discovered ...  
Wolly, where is your sense of humour these days?

Oh I do laugh Mortbelt..at the lies spun by the pollies everywhere...at pollies being branded liars in public...at the utter shite the media publish about economies ..most of all I laugh at how stupid so many people can be...but then I spose we need our 'flat Earth believers'.
The young have to pass pretty tough driving tests these days...but at 18 they can sign up for a lifetime of mortgage debt and misery....something is seriously wrong....don't you think?

 Hugh
The anarchic build anywhere supply side solution to inadequate/overpriced housing that you so religously believe in is not a silver bullet.  
There are lots of relevant factors: for example dealing with the effects of a ponzi house bubble, recognising the reduced or static income for most people since 1987(look at figure 3 Household disposable income by quintiles since 1987 in the Treasury briefing for the incoming minister) and so forth. Then there is establishing the true costs of housing -- which is way more than the cost of land and building materials -- there is the paying for infrastructure, there is transport if housing is located on the periphery/away from employment, ... Cheap but with high hidden and future ongoing costs isn't really cheap, it is just a magician's trick.
And it would be nice to get true comparisons for costs between here and your few beloved USA examples that you trot out each time, ones that recognise the different income levels and costs of living factors and buying power etc between here and these other places you cite as good examples we should aspire to.   
 

Anarchic is my description of the approach to planning  that you are advocating.
By the way did you see the latest housing affordability report from Massey University http://economics-finance.massey.ac.nz/homeaffordability.php which shows a continuing improvement in housing affordability.
I don't know why there were no articles about this on interest.co.nz

I find that applying that label to the proposals Hugh is advocating is rather insulting to anarchist political thought.

My dictionary has anarchic as "disorderly, unregulated" which is the sense I am trying to convey.  Maybe ad hoc and chaotic are similar terms?

LOL.....yes I think "libertarian" is far more fair, at least anarchy is honest, you get nothing whatsoever and you pay nothing what so ever....Unlike libertarians who expect you to pay for their protection.....
Pity really we dont have FTL travel....libertarians could bugger off to any planet they wanted and leave us in peace from their ravings....
regards

Hey Hugh...each to their own...if fools want to be parasite fodder and live arms length from neighbours in a big urban blah...their problem. I reckon older coots are far better off escaping that environment to rural towns with all the services available, where property is closer to half your sum....where sections are larger....where the noise level is lower....where there are fewer scumbags....Plenty of areas up at the top of the mainland. Warmer too. Heck you can still fit woodburners in new homes up here..!

The CIS is a libertarian lobby-group, not a purveyor of truth.
 
It's not exactly alone in that  - eh Hugh?
 
If the mass of Queenslanders - and I've spent a lot of my time in Q'land - vote for their immediate hip-pockets, then the truth is that a lot of folk voted selfishly. No more, no less.
What that does to the physical truth, is ........... nothing. It is unsurprising that the most intelligent end of society, with - albeit temporarily - the time to debate matters, are the ones sounding the warning.
 
On Hughies logic, a vote taken on the deck of the Titanic, could have avoided the sinking. His argument is - seriously - that stupid.
 
From surfers up to Townsville
Past the high-rise colonies
Fast food, cheap hotels
Two more boom-town refugees

(Redgum, "The Gladstone pier").
 
 

On Hughies logic, a vote taken on the deck of the Titanic, could have avoided the sinking. His argument is - seriously - that stupid.
 
I have to say that is pretty good:-)

Just like when I see "democractic" in the name of a country when I see "Independent"  I know it isnt.  The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is a libertarian think tank founded in April 1976 by Executive Director Greg Lindsay.  fruity loops.....nuff said.
Which of course neatly qualifies you and philB as if no one could see it.....In terms of voter base just where are the libertarians compared to Green's? Simple they dont even register on a graph, you cant draw a line that thin and still see it.
So as so predictable AGW issues are getting side stepped, (despite 2010 being the hottest year on record, surpasing 1998 that was an el nino event) because ppl see jobs as more important, which is understandable....Its really simple, there are some hard decisions and hard yards to be done, instead ppl are fighting over the shrinking pie....also predictable....
In terms of "Malthusian" its maths, science, geology and over-population....or the Malthusians point out is that.......the shrill denials from the likes of you wont change these fundimentals.
regards
 
 

Come on steven you can do better than all the ad hom. on display here.
Reality is in Australia they have built energy inefficient desalination plants in virtually all states because these warmist/green scare mongers said it would never rain again. Lo and behold its been raining plenty and there is nowhere to store the water. Surely a dam is the 'powered down' solution compared to desal?
Take Sydney for example they are now spilling water because they haven't built a new dam since the 1970's, despite the population growth. And to rub salt into the wound the state govt has to run the desal plant at full capacity for 2 years as it is under contract at a huge cost.

Ahem, how about your own ad hom, confusing water restrictions on the worlds driest continent with people who are aware that our climate is changing. Get a Katrina on your a%s. 
And w.t.f is this? "Sydney for example they are now spilling water because they haven't built a new dam since the 1970's" . Mate, slow down, think before you hit that button. Unless, maybe, you getting paid by the word or the hour. Either way, your lame. Way lame.
 
"Surely a dam is the 'powered down' solution compared to desal? " We can forgive the typo, but the premise? Hydro, "rednek", is about potential differences in energy state, of a mass of water , and Duzzal, is the residue of millenia of harvested sunlight.
But all the time that you spend bashing out your manifesto and trying, desperately, to win friends, the  world of your short sighted construct is falling apart... And man you must be getting paid for this, all the time you spend on here, did you lose your job, or is this your job..
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-03-29/news/31254515_1_oil-import-bill-brics-countries-iran
 
 
 
 
 

"libertarian" and obviously of limited vision/thinking, its the blinkers......only about 1000 such voters in NZ........so generally ignored.
regards 
 
 

Yeah I get that, but, what a myopic twit. 
My background is in lending money for a living. Lots of it. More than anybody else I know.
And now, my world view is that there is not enough bankable energy in the system to repay the debt that I precipitated. In this I am not alone.. 
regards

OK arseclown I'll make this real simple seeing you are a neuron short of a nematode.
Clearly I am talking about water supply for drinking in response to Hughs earlier post regarding anti-development.
Desal, as in short for desalinisation, not diesel. I don't know what the hell "Duzzal" is supposed to be?
Why do all Malthusians claim everybody else must be some sort of paid conspirator?
Gee I probably average 1 post a day overall. And seeing this site is a hotel california, ie you can register, but not deregister, I may as well get the Malthusians heading toward peak comment ...
So you are a Malthusian money-lender if ever there was a contradiction in terms?

A neuron short of a worm? Your just not making sense! And arseclown? Skills bro, love the depth of your argument, Bahahahahaa  ! 
And mate, I have been a ho to the machine. Damn, have I sold promises and the golden future.Wipe your lip, your dribbling an oily residue.. Actually dont, I love seeing you gag..
 
 

To start with 2010 has beaten 1998 as the warmest year on record, despite it not being an el nino year......Otherwise I would say what you are saying is absolute rot frankly.....show me some URLs of "warmists" saying that....
What you do show is your complete ignorance of AGW.
What AGW ppl say is there will be more and larger extremes/variations.....so record dry spells not seen in hundreds of years if ever, followed by heavy rains beating known records is predicted.
So yes more dams and desal plants are going to be needed to handle the extremes....it will be an issue of surival of businesses and economies at the very least.
You will also find that re-insurance will probably either not be available inside 20 years or at such a cost you wont be able to afford it....tough....eh......
regards
 

Yep.....signs that have been there for a while.....NZ looks very similar I think........you would be foolish to invest in retail and building....its going to get a lot worse......
regards

"But our newfound frugality is so pronounced, it's causing headaches all round. Builders, retailers, property professionals, bankers and the hardware and whitegoods sectors are bearing the brunt of high-minded consumers determined to reform their profligate ways"
 
The "high minded" comment is not needed. The behaviour is a consequence of fear that is justified in a world lied to by govts and bankers. People in aus and here are slow to learn but this is a massive change in attitude and the parasites are fighting back with and endless stream of BS, with govt lying about recovery and with reserve bank easy money forever shite policies.
And still the state sector bosses suck down bloated half million dollar salaries..poor compared to the state SOE bosses who swim in an ocean of other people's money and say they deserve it.
 
"More than $2 million was paid out last year to departing public chief executives - with one boss taking away a parting package close to $350,000.
The largest listed final pay was to former Treasury Secretary John Whitehead, who received $348,287.
Entitlements "at last day of duty" cover anything that is paid to a chief executive on their last day of service that they are entitled to receive as set out in their contract, a State Services Commission spokeswoman said." herald
The contracts are where this useless govt needs to show some integrity...fat chance. Sir Humphrey knows how to bend the fools his way...pay rises due soon!

The commission would not reveal specific details of each of the payouts, saying terms and conditions of employment for each of the chief executives was private information.

Here in Aus it feels very much like NZ 2-3 years ago, just prior to the big OCR cuts.
We'll see the same thing here, and those cuts will save the housing market from plunging too far, like NZ
 

OZ kept doing the first time buyers "help"  didnt really achieve much.....and yes the signs are ominious IMHO...
<1% OCR anyone?
I wonder who will get there first, OZ I suspect...
regards

Hard to know where to start.
 
But - it isn't 'lefties', any more. That's as dated as a Morris Oxford, says a lot about you.
 
Broadly speaking, there will be selfless and selfish, now. Some will argue for their selfishness by conscious ignorance of facts. If they then set themselves up as 'experts', well, others can end up seeing then as liars, and eventually as criminal. Ismay urging Smith to speed through the ice-field, can be seen as criminal, in the same way.
 
Unsurprising that those who understand the criminality, are a tad less tolerant than those who offend.
 
And PB 'tolerant'?    Spare me!

There you go April fool......
regards
 
 
 

I mean "posted something you thought would offend"?  this just has to be april fool....That can actully be taken the opposite way implied. Or maybe its the writer twisting the replies out of sense......my experience with fundies/extremists is they just do not care so wouldnt in the least bit be worried about offending anyone....they consider it "god's work" so anything goes....
regards

Hi Hugh, I am curious as to why so many of your posts are in the wee small hours when most of us are sleeping (the sleep of the virtuous).  Should we be afraid? ... very afraid?

..

High Rents forcing Renters to Buy Houses. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10796087
Hope they didn't wait for 3 years before realising thaqt house prices ain't coming down....

... because New Zealand is different.
That survey compares median rent versus a bottom-end house, not quite apples with apples. I think it is still on average cheaper to rent than buy even assuming these interest rates will continue for the next 25 years; which they won't.

He who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing - Ben Franklin