Record approvals favour buyers by offering more choice

Confidence in the future of the property market remains at record levels after two years of world-leading growth in property values, despite a fourth successive mortgage hike. 

According to Statistics New Zealand, more building consents have been granted in the 12 months to February than ever before. 

Dwelling consents are up 25% year-on-year with 49,733 granted, said NZStats. That’s almost 1,000 consents every week for the 12 months to the end of February.

There has also been a big jump in the number of retirement villages and townhouses being approved. 

The increase in building activity will boost the supply of homes becoming available and could substantially help first-time buyers enter the market.

It could also benefit owners looking to upgrade, giving them more choice of housing stock. The focus on retirement age units is also interesting for those seeking to downsize but struggling to find suitable accommodation.

Seasonally adjusted, consents were 10% higher, and a significant turnaround on the numbers for January when consents dipped by -8.7%, said NZStats.

And if you think these annual numbers began to tail off when the Official Cash Rate (OCR) began to rise, think again.

Some 4,195 new dwellings were granted consent in February – up 34.1% compared with February 2021.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • 25,518 detached homes, an increase of 15.6%
  • 3,910 consented apartments, down just 20 units from the previous year
  • 2,942 units in retirement villages, the biggest growth percentage in the latest numbers – up 64% from 12 months ago.
  • 1,842 townhouses, an increase of 45.8%

By region, the numbers of new dwellings consented in the year ending February 2022 compared with the corresponding period in 2021 were:

  • 20,786 in Auckland: +22%
  • 5,094 in Waikato: +23%
  • 3,687 in Wellington: +24%
  • 7,695 in the rest of North Island: + 22%
  • 8,317 in Canterbury: +42%
  • 4,190 in the rest of South Island: + 24%