RMBF says building activity still flat in most of New Zealand

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Statistics New Zealand figures show 1513 new homes and apartment consents were issued for August 2012, a 0.3% increase on August 2011. Increases in the South Island of 121 new consents were offset by decreases in the North Island of 116 consents, resulting in a 1.9% increase on July 2012.
RMBF chief executive Warwick Quinn says 2011 saw the lowest level of building activity in decades, and was one of the hardest years in living memory, with a little over 13,500 new home consents issued.

Since December 2011 the market has shown a steady improvement so that in the eight months to August 2012, 10,736 new homes and apartments had been consented.
However, Mr Quinn says that national consent figures seem to have stabilised, so that when annualised, they result in a forecast of around 16,000 new consents for 2012 — or about a 15% increase on 2011.   

Further, he says the RMBF has been predicting something of a “tale of two cities” — while most of New Zealand is lacklustre, the Canterbury and Auckland areas continue to experience growth due to the rebuild in Canterbury and the housing pressures in Auckland.

Mr Quinn says while things have improved compared to 12 months ago the market still remains very tough, and builders are still under severe pressure. New Zealand is still not building enough new homes which should be in the order of 20,000 — 25,000 per annum.

However, he says there has never been a better time to build with low interest rates and a highly competitive market, but warns that this window will close once the Canterbury rebuild starts in earnest and the economy picks up again.

• Monthly consents by region — See page 31.