Residential construction shows no sign of slowing down with the number of new homes consented hitting a record high in the fourth quarter of last year.
According to Statistics NZ, 11,291 new dwellings were consented in the fourth quarter of 2020, surpassing the previous quarterly record of 10,713 set in 1973.
That took the total number of new homes consented last year to 39,420, up 4.8% from 2019, which is impressive given that 2020's figures were affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns.
That suggests a record number of new homes could be consented this year if current trends continue.
However the number of homes being consented is still low compared to population size.
"If population size is considered, the figures from the 1970s are still much higher," Statistics NZ's construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said.
In 1973, 13.4 new homes were consented per 1000 residents, but in 2020 just 7.8 homes were consented per 1000 residents, Statistics NZ said in its release with the latest figures.
While the overall growth in new homes consented was almost 5% last year, there were some surprising changes in the mix of homes being consented.
The number of apartments consented was down 21.5% compared to the previous year, after 34.1% growth in 2019, while retirement village units were down 21.9%, reversing the 30.6% growth achieved in 2019.
The big growth was in townhouses and home units, which were up 41.4% last year following growth of 26.5% the year before that.
Stand alone houses are still the biggest category of homes being built but their numbers were almost unchanged last year compared to 2019 (see the first chart below for the monthly trends in housing types being consented).
In Auckland 16,656 new homes were consented last year, up 9.9% compared to 2019.
Other regions to record substantial growth in new dwelling consents last year compared to 2019 were Hawke's Bay +46.6%, Taranaki +25.0%, Manawatu/Whanganui +8.8%, Tasman +10.0%, and Canterbury +11.1%.
However the number of homes consented was down compared to 2019 in Northland -11.1%, Waikato -5.1%, Gisborne -3.0%, Wellington -5.1%, Nelson -18.9%, Marlborough -11.2%, West Coast -17.3%, Otago -13.4% and Southland -5.8% (see the second chart below for the monthly trends in all regions).
The total value of building work for all of the new homes consented last year was $14.533 billion, up 4.6% on 2019.
The commercial construction sector did not fare so well last year, with consents for $7.047 billion on non-residential building work issued in 2020, down 5.5% compared to 2019.
The total value of all building work consented last year was $24.078 billion, up 0.7% compared to 2019.
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