31 Jul 2013

Building consents ease in June

8:29 am on 31 July 2013

The number of consents for new houses eased in June.

Official figures show permits issued for houses and apartments fell by a seasonally adjusted 4% to just under 500 in June compared with the previous month.

But there were strong gains in April and May.

Statistics New Zealand said permits hit a five year high in the three months to June, and the trend shows the number of new houses has been rising for the past two years.

The agency said 55% of all consents came from the Canterbury and Auckland regions last month, where the housing market is strongest.

Economists say building costs are rising too and the Reserve Bank will not want that to fan wider inflation pressures.

Infometrics senior economist Matthew Nolan says if the current trend continues it could be a sign that uncertainty due to Government and Reserve Bank comments on the housing market are stifling the residential building recovery.

"It's pretty clear ... that uncertainty coming from these constant announcements about the housing market has to play a role in people's unwillingness to invest in the housing market."

Mr Nolan says there may be a drop in consent numbers in July due to problems with issuing building consents in Christchurch, but if they do not pick up after that, it will be because of uncertainty.