Auckland's housing shortage worsening with new dwelling consents still falling well short of demand

The number of new dwelling consents issued in Auckland dropped sharply for the second month in a row in September, falling well short of what is required to ease the region’s worsening housing shortage.

Statistics NZ said 643 new dwelling consents were issued in Auckland in September, down from 741 in August and 1116 in July. September’s 643 is the lowest number since February when 528 dwelling consents were issued.

That’s well short of what is required just to house the region’s migration-driven population growth, with Auckland Council estimating at least 13,000 new homes a year need to be built in the region just to keep pace with its growing population.

That would require an average of 1083 new homes a month to be built, which means just 60% of that figure was consented in September, suggesting the region’s housing shortage is getting worse.

In the year to September 8721 new dwellings were consented in Auckland, which is exactly two thirds of of the 13,000 homes a year the council has estimated are required.

“Auckland consent numbers were broadly flat for the month in seasonally adjusted terms although we would point out that at an annual level of a little over 8700, supply is still way below what is needed to meet the long term shortage in housing that Auckland is experiencing,” Westpac economist David Norman said in a First Impressions newsletter on the figures.

Nationally there were 2242 new dwelling consents issued in September, little changed from the 2291 issued in August, and well down from the 2824 issued in July.

There was a big jump in the number of consents issued in the Waikato, with 320 new consents issued in the region in September, up from 233 in July and equivalent to 50% of the total number of consents issued for the entire Auckland region.

In the Wellington Region only 126 new dwelling consents were issued in September which was less than in Waikato or the Bay of Plenty (188 consents) and only just ahead of Otago (115 consents).

In Canterbury the number of consents also declined for the second month in a row, falling to 525 in September compared to 596 in August and 650 in July (refer to the interactive chart below for the monthly dwelling consent figures for all regions).

Construction of commercial and other non-residential buildings continues to boom, with $619 million of non-residential consents issued in September, with new educational buildings being the biggest driver of that, accounting for $214 million of non-residential consents issued in the month.

Shops were the second biggest non-commercial category, with consents issued for $101 million of retail space in September.