NZ dwelling approvals hit 44-year high

By Leith van Onselen

Statistics New Zealand has released dwelling consent data for the year ended January 2019, which reveals that consents have hit a 44-year high:

A total of 33,576 new homes were consented in the year ended January 2019, the highest number of new homes consented in a year since early 1975, Stats NZ said today.

“The number of new homes consented this year is at its highest level since the mid-1970s,” construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. “However, the population was only around 3 million in the 1970s, compared with nearly 5 million today.”

At the peak of the 1970s, approximately 13 new homes were consented per 1,000 New Zealanders compared with 7 per 1,000 in the year ended January 2019. In 2004 around 8 new homes were consented per 1,000 New Zealanders. The lowest point was 3 homes consented per 1,000 New Zealanders in 2011.

The growth in new homes consented in the year ended January 2019 was driven by townhouses, flats, and units. These were up 33 percent from the year ended January 2018, compared with an increase of only 0.6 percent for stand-alone houses in the same period.

In Auckland alone, 13,272 new homes were consented in the year ended January 2019, which was slightly more than were consented for the whole country in the year ended July 2011. The number of new homes consented in Auckland (up 20 percent from the January 2018 year) is at similar levels to the 1970s peak.

Back in January, Statistics New Zealand changed the way that it measures net overseas migration (NOM), resulting in large falls in the estimated migrant intake:

Apparently, NOM fell further to 48,278 people in the 2018 calendar year, down from a peak of around 71,000 under the old methodology.

Soon the rhetoric will pull a 180 and we’ll hear claims that New Zealand is heading for a housing oversupply.

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Unconventional Economist

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