The Registered Master Builders Federation says the figures released recently by Statistics New Zealand confirm their own predictions last month that the recovery being experienced in the new housing sector was unlikely to be sustained in the short term.
This was due to Government announcements signalling a removal of depreciation on investment properties and the potential ring fencing of losses.
Figures show the number of new housing units fell by 8.3% in March (excluding apartments) when adjusted for seasonal effects.
RMBF chief executive Warwick Quinn says the level of enquiry for new homes dropped significantly once these announcements were made, and this has now manifested itself in reduced consent numbers for new homes.
Mr Quinn says “we noticed an immediate drop-off in public enquiry once these announcements were made so, while we are disappointed, we’re not surprised”.
“This shows just how fragile the recovery is for construction and, with investment properties forming a significant part of the housing market, just how sensitive this sector can be,” Mr Quinn says.
He also believes this is evident by the large numbers of existing houses on the market, and that the public is sitting on its hands waiting for the Budget announcements so it can comprehend its impacts before committing to purchasing or building new.
Mr Quinn says while Budget day is likely to confirm what has already been announced, the public will then be able to make decisions knowing the consequences.