Medium-sized home consents continue to rise

But the median floor area of new homes has decreased in recent years…

Medium-sized home consents continue to rise

The median floor area of new homes, including stand-alone and multi-unit homes, has decreased in recent years due to the increasing number of medium-sized stand-alone homes in the last decade, according to Stats NZ’s latest data.

The median floor area of all new homes consented in 2020 was 144 square metres, down from 148 square metres in 2019. The median floor area was 191 square metres at its peak in 2012, according to Stats NZ.

Stats NZ construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said over 11,000 medium-sized stand-alone homes were consented last year, double the number in 2010 during the home-building slump that followed the global financial crisis. These medium-sized homes have a floor area between 100 and 200 square metres and most likely have three to four bedrooms.

From 2010 to 2020, the annual number of stand-alone houses consented (of all sizes) increased by over 9,000. During the global financial crisis, large houses (with a floor area between 200 and 300 square metres) accounted for a greater share of all houses consented and peaked at 41.5% in 2013 but dropped to 28.2% in 2020. Since then, the increasing proportion of medium-sized houses has become the biggest driver behind the high number of consents issued in the last decade.

“Over the last three decades, there has been significant variation in both the number and size of stand-alone houses consented,” Heslop said.

“In 2020, over 53% of all stand-alone houses were medium-sized, climbing from a low of around 38% in 2008, and returning to levels we saw in the 1990s. The proportion of smaller stand-alone houses under 100 square metres was higher in the 1990s than now.”

Heslop said consents for larger houses tend to have higher consent values on average. Last year, the median consent value of medium-sized houses was around $340,000 and large houses around $490,000. Around 50% of homes had a consent value between $300,000 and $500,000, excluding land cost, which can vary significantly between locations. The actual cost of building also tends to be higher than the original consent value in many cases.