Construction sector remains solid

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The latest building consent figures indicate another month of solid, steady growth in the construction sector, according to Registered Master Builders Federation chief executive Pieter Burghout.

Statistics New Zealand reported that the value of residential building consents for March was $711 million —14% higher than in March 2006 — while the number of building consents for new housing units issued in March was 2269, 30 fewer than in March last year.

Taking out apartments, there were 2079 new dwelling units authorised this March, the same as in March 2006.
“The increase in the value of consents in March 2007 continues the trend we have seen in recent months where the quality end of the housing market remains strongest overall,” Mr Burghout says.

“Despite slightly fewer consents authorised in March compared to this time last year, the residential building industry continues to be positive.”
“These results validate the trends that the RMBF has been signalling for some time.”

There are also some interesting regional variations within the residential consents data, with larger increases occurring in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, the West Coast and Canterbury.

The largest decreases have been in Auckland and Hawke’s Bay, reflecting anecdotal feedback from members in those regions, Mr Burghout says.
The commercial industry is holding strong with a 12% dollar value increase on the March 2006 figure to $413 million.

Only seven months in the past two and a half years have seen dollar spends higher than $400 million, so the commercial sector is very much trending strongly at this point in time, he says.

Statistics New Zealand says the major commercial increase was in office and administration buildings, while the largest decrease was education buildings.
“Overall, the construction industry continues to enjoy the general ‘steady as you go’ nature of the current environment.
“We continue to expect some softening throughout the remainder of 2007 and early 2008, but certainly the current trends remain very positive,” Mr Burghout says.