The number of new homes consented in February fell year-on-year and the annual growth rate is slowing

There’s little to cheer about in February’s dwelling consent figures from Statistics NZ, with the recent growth trend coming to a halt.

According to Statistics NZ, 2412 new dwellings were consented throughout the country in February, virtually unchanged from February last year when 2418 new dwellings were consented. And it’s little better than February 2016 when 2379 were consented.

There has also been a significant slow-down in the annual rate of growth.

In the 12 months to February this year, 31,245 new dwellings were consented throughout the country, up 3.6% compared to the previous 12 months.

But that is well down on the annual growth rate of 8.7% in the 12 months to February 2017, 12.0% in February 2016, 13.4% in February 2015 and more than 20% in 2014 and 2013.

However while the number of homes being built is down on last year, their cost continues to rise, with the value of all new dwelling consents issued increasing from $912 million in February last year to $963 million in February this year.

In Auckland, where the housing shortage is most acute, the number of new homes consented dropped compared to a year ago, falling from 800 in February last year to 779 in February this year.

It is estimated that Auckland needs an average of 1200 to 1400 new homes to be built every month just to keep pace with its migration-driven population growth. So the latest figures are a grim reminder that the region’s housing crisis is continuing to worsen at a significant clip.

The number of new dwellings consented in February was down compared to February last year in Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Otago, but up in Wellington and Canterbury (the interactive chart below tracks the number of new dwelling consents issued in each region every month).

As well as changes in the number of consents being issued, there were also changes in their composition.

Statistics NZ said the number of consents issued for multi-unit dwellings such as townhouses, home units and flats was at a 23 year high in the 12 months to January, while consents for stand alone houses were down 1.3% compared to the previous 12 months.

The number of retirement village units being consented is also showing strong growth.

Building consents – residential

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