The rate at which new homes are being built relative to our population size is less than half what it was in 1974

The number of new homes being consented per head of population has doubled over the last five years, but is still less than half the level being consented in the 1970s building boom, according to the latest analysis from Statistics NZ.

It shows that in the 12 months to June, six new homes were consented for every 1000 people, compared to just three per 1000 in the 12 months to June 2011.

And although the number of homes being consented per head of population has risen for each of the last five years, it is still less than half the number that was achieved in the 12 months to June 1974, when 13 new homes were consented for every 1000 people living in New Zealand at the time (see graph below).

Over the last 10 years the average number of homes consented has been nine per 1000 people, which means the rate at which homes are being consented now would need to increase by 50% to equal the average over the last decade.

The figures make particularly grim reading for Auckland, where there is a severe housing shortage, because they show new homes are being consented at a lower rate per head of population than in many other parts of the country.

The highest number of dwelling consents issued relative to the number of people in the region was in Canterbury, where 11 homes were consented per 1000 people in the 12 months to June, followed by Bay of Plenty 8 per 1000, Waikato 8 per 1000, Tasman 7 per 1000, Otago 7 per 1000 and Northland and Auckland which were both on 6 per 1000.

The  need to replace earthquake damaged homes in Canterbury has been a major driver of the high level of consents issued in the region.

Statistics NZ estimated that over the last 10 years this country’s population had increased by 508,000 while the number of homes had increased by 178,000 after allowing for demolitions and consented dwellings that weren’t built. 

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