28 Apr 2017

Long-term house building trend strong despite lull - ASB economist

3:05 pm on 28 April 2017

The number of building consents for new houses eased slightly in March but, an economist says, the long-term outlook is strong.


Photo: RNZ

Official figures show consents for new dwellings fell a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent on the month before, after February's strong 17 percent rise.

A decline in consents for new houses was partly offset by gains for apartments and townhouses.

Canterbury consents picked up pace after a lull in February, while in Wellington they fell and in Auckland, rose.

ASB senior economist Jane Turner said the overall drop in March could be put to one side.

"Strong population growth over the past few years has lifted housing demand in many parts of the country, and we expect strong housing construction to continue at least for another year," she said.

More than 30,600 consents were granted in the year ended March, the highest in 13 years.

Meanwhile, the country's posted its first monthly trade surplus in nine months, helping to narrow the annual trade deficit.

Official figures showed a surplus of $332 million for the month of March, driven by improved dairy and meat exports.

The deficit for the March year fell slightly to $3.7 billion from February's eight-year high.

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