There was a surge in the number of new dwelling consents issued in May, particularly in Auckland where they hit a 15 year high, Statistics NZ says.
Around the country 3407 new dwelling consents were issued in May, up 25% compared to April and up 22% compared to May last year.
It was the highest number of homes consented in any month since June 2004.
There was a particularly strong lift in new consents in Auckland, where 1530 consents were issued in May, up 31.5% compared to April and up 73% compared to May last year.
Statistics NZ said that was the highest number of new homes consented in the region in any month since October 2002.
There was also strong growth in new dwelling consents in Wellington, up 22% compared to April and up 11% compared to May last year, and in Canterbury where new dwelling consents were up 22% compared to April, but up marginally compared to May last year.
Within the overall increase in new dwelling consents, consents for stand alone houses, apartments and retirement village units all rose strongly compared to May, while the number of townhouses and home units was down slightly.
The news was particularly good for Aucklanders because it meant the region's housing shortage actually eased slightly in May, with the number of new homes being consented outstripping the demand being created by its burgeoning, migration-driven population growth.
However May's figures will need to be consistently maintained on a monthly basis for some time before they start to put any any noticeable dent in Auckland's housing shortage.
In October last year, Interest.co.nz estimated that at least 14,233 new homes needed to be added to Auckland's housing stock each year, or an average of 1186 a month, just to keep pace with its growing population, with migration accounting for two thirds of that growth.
The 1530 new dwellings consented in May was 29% above that target, and the 1163 consented in April and 1082 consented in March were only just below it, suggesting the number of new homes being consented in Auckland could at last be starting to cartch up with demand.
That could happen even faster it the net population gain from migration continues to fall.
However it is likely to be around two years before the homes being consented now are built and available for people to live in, and it will take many years for the shortage of homes that has built up in Auckland over the last decade to fully subside
But if the current rate of new house building in Auckland continues, the tide may have started to turn on the region's housing crisis.
You can receive all of our property articles automatically by subscribing to our free email Property Newsletter. This will deliver all of our property-related articles, including auction results and interest rate updates, directly to your in-box 3-5 times a week. We don't share your details with third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time. To subscribe just click on this link, scroll down to "Property email newsletter" and enter your email address.