New apartments drive housing consents up

A record number of new apartment approvals in July drove overall housing consents to be 62% above the level recorded in July last year.

Wednesday, August 28th 2002, 9:31PM

by Jenny Ruth

There were 2,738 new homes approved in July compared with 1,864 in June and 1,690 in July last year.

Statistics New Zealand says the level of approvals is now similar to that recorded in September 1999 – in that month the actual number of approvals was 2,6,33. It says the trend in housing approvals have been increasing at the average rate of 1.9% a month each month since November 2000.

There were 686 apartments approved in July, up from 183 in June and 194 in July last year.

Statistics New Zealand says all regions except the West Coast saw an increase in approvals compared with July last year.

The Auckland housing market, which in the past has occupied a large spot in the Reserve Bank’s inflation fears, appears particularly buoyant. It accounted for 47% of July’s consents.

Nevertheless, the record level of activity can’t last, says Darren Gibbs, senior economist at Deutsche Bank. "Based on past relationships with house sales, the trend rise in dwelling consents should continue for a month or two yet before beginning to moderate," he says, noting that house sales have declined about 10% in the past three months.

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