Building consents for commercial buildings dropped much more sharply in April than consents for new dwellings

Building consents for commercial buildings dropped much more sharply in April than consents for new dwellings

The number of new dwelling consents issued in April was down 16.8% compared to April last year.

The latest figures from Statistics NZ show that 2168 new dwellings were consented in April, compared to 2605 in April last year. 

Around the country consents were down compared to a year ago in 11 regions - Northland -32.9%, Auckland -14.3%, Bay of Plenty -51.4%, Gisborne -8.3%, Taranaki -68%, Manawatu/Whanganui -8.4%, Wellington -55.5%, Marlborough -47.8%, West Coast -40%, Canterbury -3.4% and Southland 73.3%, and up in five - Waikato +9.1%, Hawke's Bay +25%, Tasman +18.5%, Nelson +7.7%, and Otago +5.1% (see interactive chart below for the full regional trends).

By dwelling type, the biggest decline was in the number of consents issued for new retirement village units which were down  58.2% in April compared to a year earlier, followed by apartments -29.2%, and stand alone houses -18.1%, while consents for townhouses and units were up 6.7% on April last year (see interactive chart below for the trends in the types of dwellings consented).

The total value of new dwelling consents issued dropped to $803 million, down 23.4% compared to April last year (see interactive chart below for the trend), while the value of consents issued for dwelling alterations and additions dropped by 12.6%, from $137 million in April last year to $120 million in April this year.

Statistics NZ said the overall decline in consents reflected a range of factors at a time when many businesses were closed and many councils changed the way they processed consents during the lockdown.

"Ultimately there is still a large amount of uncertainty around the implications of COVID-19 on the future supply of homes," Statistics NZ acting construction indicators manager Dave Adair said.

"Typically, many homes are built within about a year of gaining consent, but these are unusual times and it will take some time to see if existing consented projects are completed or delayed," he said.

Around the regions consents were down compared to April last year in 12 regions and up in five.

The biggest decline was in Southland where new dwelling consents were down 73.3% compared to April last year. 

In Auckland they were down 14.3%, Wellington was down 55.5% and Canterbury was down 3.4%.

However, while the decline in residential consents was relatively modest considering the lockdown conditions in April, there was a much more severe decline in non-residential consents.

The total value of non-residential consents issued in April was $364 million, down 60.4% compared to April last year.

That included a 60.5% drop in the value of consents for factories and industrial buildings, a 43.2% drop in the value of consents for retail premises, a 37.3% drop in the value of consents for offices and 24.6% drop in consents for storage buildings.

Altogether, the total value of all types of building work consented in April was $1.286 billion, down 38.9% compared to April last year.

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Building consents - residential

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Building consents - type

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Building consents - growth

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4 Comments

Building consents down only 16.8% in April, a month that was basically closed for business ?!? I find that very hard to believe

Could very well be due to the delay from when the application happens until this gets approved although not sure how long that would take.

Council staff were working from home, which allowed for consents to be processed but looking at the huge variations between councils it probably depends on their efficiency. No surprise that auckland was down. Did you see the wellington result negative 55 percent

Not a great time to compare apples with apples I would have thought.