New home consents plunge in January

Consents hit lowest January level in five years

New home consents plunge in January

January saw a dramatic 28% decrease in new home consents, with only 1,991 homes approved, highlighting a cooling in the housing construction sector, fresh Stats NZ figures showed.

“Fewer new homes were consented in January 2024 than in each of the previous five January months,” said Michael Heslop, construction and property statistics manager at Stats NZ.

Stand-alone and multi-unit homes

The decline was particularly noticeable in stand-alone houses, with only 899 consented, a 16% drop from January last year.

“The last time less than 1,000 stand-alone houses were consented in a month was April 2012, when 959 stand-alone houses were consented,” Heslop said.

Multi-unit homes, including townhouses, apartments, and retirement village units, saw an even sharper decline of 36%, totaling 1,092 consents. The breakdown showed significant reductions across all multi-unit home categories, with apartments and retirement village units experiencing the most dramatic falls, down 67% and 80%, respectively.

Impact of large projects

The fluctuations in new home consents were partly attributed to the timing of large multi-home projects.

“Several large projects contributed to the 373 apartments and 352 retirement village units that were consented in January 2023," Heslop said. “This played a part in the large decrease for apartments and retirement village units in the January 2024 month.”

Seasonal adjustments and annual figures

After accounting for seasonal effects, the trend continued downward with an 8.8% fall from December, following a seasonally adjusted rise of 3.6% in the previous month.

Looking at the year ended January, new home consents were down 26% overall, with both multi-unit homes and stand-alone houses experiencing similar rates of decline across the board.

Regional variations

While most regions saw a decrease in new home consents, Gisborne was the exception, showing an 8.6% increase, driven primarily by multi-unit homes, which were up 16%.

Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato, and Wellington registered the highest numbers of new home consents, all noting significant reductions compared with the previous year, Stats NZ reported.

For more details, visit the Stats NZ website.

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