30 May 2013

Big rise in building consents issued

7:29 pm on 30 May 2013

Building consents for new homes have risen to a five-year high.

Official figures show permits issued rose to 1755 in April, a seasonally adjusted rise of 19% compared with the same month a year ago.

Consents were given to 214 apartments, including 115 retirement village units.

Excluding apartments, consents rose 13%.

ANZ senior economist Mark Smith says that partly reflects a rebound after a weaker March, but also illustrates a strengthening housing market.

He says there are the lowest mortgage interest rates in about 50 years and housing shortages in some regions are encouraging greater supply.

Statistics New Zealand says there have been rises across most areas of the country, led by Auckland and Christchurch.

On an annual basis, about 17,900 consents have been issued, the highest level since 2008.

Despite this, Mark Smith says it is still well under past levels - about 70% to 80% below historical norms.