It’s been a while since our last update of Christchurch building consents – the number of new homes being approved by the various councils in the area.
Christchurch City has had a bit of an uptick in the last couple of months, whereas consent numbers in the surrounding districts (Selwyn and Waimakariri) have flattened off – for Selwyn, at least, still much higher than the historical average.
I’m surprised by the ongoing strength of the consent figures in Christchurch, not just for residential construction (i.e. homes) but also for non-residential (i.e. everything else). It seems like it might be a while longer until we get much movement of builders from the Garden City to Auckland.
Also, since a reader asked for it, here’s a comparison of the overall Canterbury region vs Auckland. This is based on the actual value of construction carried out each quarter (although it’s been seasonally adjusted to remove some of the noise).
So, although Canterbury has just over a third of Auckland’s population, in early 2014 it was carrying out about the same amount of building work. This was a truly massive redeployment of resources, more than $1 billion per quarter – see how it compares to Canterbury’s pre-earthquake level of activity.
Canterbury has dipped back a little from its peak, but based on the building consent data (which is a bit of a ‘forecast’ of future activity), it’s probably going to plateau for a while longer.
Auckland, on the other hand, has had sharp increases recently – the level of activity has just about doubled in the last five years (although this includes price increases).
Lastly, before we leave Christchurch, one of the long-delayed ‘anchor projects’ for the CBD is finally starting, with the Government deciding to go it alone on the Convention Centre after the preferred developer pulled out.
Given Auckland’s housing issues, I try to update the graph below each month. It shows the number of new homes being consented in Auckland each year.
It’s a little hard to see here, but the figures in the last couple of months have been pretty disappointing. The total number of consents has dropped back a little (from 9,566 a year to 9,434). Plus, the number of apartment consents has fallen back from close to 2,000 to around 1,500. The numbers are pretty volatile – a big building could have 100-200 apartments, so the timing of those makes a big impact. We’ve now had three months when almost no new apartments were granted consent.
Detached houses, though, have been on the rise. Any new homes are better than no new homes, so that’s something, but it’s the ‘denser’ housing that needs more effort.
In happier news, downtown Auckland is still buzzing even in the cold weather, and there’s plenty going on with the start on the CRL, demolishing the old Downtown centre, Wynyard Quarter work and more.
Lastly, I’d like to give a shoutout to the new Quay St cycleway, which is a great addition to the cycling network but also a neat ride in its own right.