Builders defy gloomy predictions as Auckland consents boom

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Auckland's building consents are annually at the highest level since records began 30 years ago.

David White/Stuff

Auckland’s building consents are annually at the highest level since records began 30 years ago.

Auckland’s building industry is going flat out, with consents hitting both monthly and annual records.

Despite gloomy predictions for the building sector earlier in the year, monthly building consent figures for September show $2.4 billion worth of consents were issued nationally, of which Auckland accounted for $1.03b, about 44 per cent.

Statistics New Zealand’s acting construction statistics manager Bryan Downes said it was the first time a region had issued more than $1b worth of consents in a single month.

More than $700 million was from residential projects, and the overall value was driven both by rising numbers of consents and higher construction costs.

“Although Covid-19 has created more uncertainty around building consents, the current levels of consents granted indicate a lot of building work intending to be completed,” Downes said.

Numbers-wise, New Zealand had a total of 3,605 new homes consented in September, with Auckland accounting for 1,734 – the city’s highest monthly total since October 2002.

Annually too, Auckland was hitting new highs. New Zealand building consents are running at 37,724, of which Auckland claimed 15,470, its highest level since the series began in 30 years ago.

Tony Pexton, of TP Builders, says he's flat out and so are all the builders he knows.

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Tony Pexton, of TP Builders, says he’s flat out and so are all the builders he knows.

Many building projects have experienced significant delays due to the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns during March to May and restrictions during lower alert levels.

September’s figures are the first since new rules came into force at the end of August which allow more low-risk or low value work to go ahead without a building consent.

Tony Pexton, of TP Builders in Auckland and president of the Auckland Master Builders Association, said business was booming, not just in Auckland but around the country.

‘’What I’ve heard most recently is that some of the commercial guys [commercial building construction] are finding it a little bit slower but pretty much every residential builder I talk to, and certainly in Auckland, they’re all as busy as hell.’’

Despite economists projecting thousands of layoffs in the building industry next year because of economic decline, Pexton said the work had so far defied predictions.

‘’Long may it continue.’’



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