New home consents reach highest level in nearly 50 years

More townhouses, flats and units have boosted new home consents to the highest level in 46 years, according to Stats NZ.

Townhouse in Auckland (file picture). Source:

Almost 38,000 new homes were consented in the year to October 2020 — the highest number since February 1974, when there were over 40,000.

Construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said in a statement today that annual new homes consented reached 37,000 late in 2019 and are now close to 38,000 for the first time in decades.

"Typically, high levels of new homes consented are followed by high levels of building activity in following quarters," he said.

"Consents indicate an intention to build and most home construction is completed within a year or two after a consent is granted, though delays due to Covid-19 may have occurred for some projects.

"More homes are being planned, but demand has also increased as our population has grown."

There has been a significant increase in the annual number of townhouses, flats and units — rising 35.6 per cent in the year to October 20.

Meanwhile, the number of new standalone houses consented dipped slightly — down 0.5 per cent in the year to October.

Apartment numbers fell by 22.5 per cent, while retirement village units by 24.5 per cent.

"The proportion of new homes consented that are townhouses, flats, or units has been increasing. Auckland in particular has seen rapid changes in the composition of new homes consented," Heslop said.

There were about 6000 consented in the past year — almost 60 per cent of the total in New Zealand.