If you wander around Auckland (especially the city centre), you’ll notice that there’s a lot of construction going on, and a lot of people hard at work on those sites. 2017 was a big year for building and development. 2018 will probably be even bigger, but let’s recap 2017 for now. Here’s what we know.

In 2017, it was “all hands on deck” for builders and a lot of other professions that are tied to the construction industry – architects, plumbers, engineers etc. The “volume” of construction work undertaken, or the amount of stuff actually built, was probably the largest it has ever been. I’ll update an older post when the 2017 construction data is released.

All the signs point to even more construction in 2018, assuming the industry can handle more growth.

We get a really good picture of how much construction is coming up through Stats NZ’s building consent data. The graph shows how many homes have been consented in Auckland, for each year from 1991 through to 2017:

2017 was significant for a few reasons:

  • Auckland Council consented 10,867 homes, the highest since 2004.
  • Under the Auckland Plan, the region is supposed to build 100,000 homes in the 2012-2021 decade, or 10,000 homes per year. 2017 was the second year to push above that 10,000, but further growth will be needed to meet the 100,000 target. Consents were well below 10,000 in 2012-2014, so there’s some catching up to do.
  • For the first time ever, standalone houses made up less than 50% of the homes consented. Apartments, terraces and retirement villages made up the majority of new homes. I predicted this back in early 2016.
  • On the other hand, I was only half right calling 2017 the Year of the Terrace! Terrace consents did actually reach record levels in 2017, but the growth from 2016 wasn’t huge (2,239 homes vs 2,104).
  • Retirement villages also hit record levels: 868 units. That’s equivalent to about three new retirement villages for the year.
  • The fastest growing consent type was apartments. The 2,442 homes consented were the highest since 2004, and well up on the 1,746 for 2016.

As I’ve written before, there’s a time lag from when homes are consented to when they’re actually built and ready to live in. 2018 will be the first year in a long time that 10,000 homes are actually completed. This figure will be helped along by a lot of apartment buildings which might have started in 2015-2016, but are due for completion this year.

Park Residences, almost-but-not-quite-finished in 2017. City Rail Link construction visible at the bottom.

Across Auckland (and a lot of other NZ cities), there are buildings being started, finished or converted. Here’s a recent conversion of some old flats just past Newmarket. The Haka Hotel, as it’s now known was finished just before Christmas, and is a big improvement on what the building looked like before:

Not the best photo, I know!

You can check out these projects and hundreds more on the RCG Development Tracker page.

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  1. What a shame we had a lost decade of construction and loss of many construction/tradies under the previous National government…
    Going by that graph we missed out on about 45,000 residences and also our ability to ramp up construction further due to the loss of tradies.

    1. I’m sure they’re all lining up to come back now Labour and their mates are in power.
      Ardern couldn’t even host a welcome home BBQ for them.

      1. National did worse than nothing to support the building industry and retain tradies during the GFC while flooding the country with hundreds of thousands of immigrants. This is why we are currently in this situation of un-affordable housing and thousands of people sleeping in cars or garages and why we are only now just building 10,000pa when we should be building 15,000pa.

        1. Yep, house price rises only happened after the GFC and the current shortage sure isn’t the result of a perfect storm that’s been brewing since the mid-90s compounded by failures by successive Governments from all stripes.

          No, it’s the evil baby eating Tories.

    2. So the GFC and the Christchurch rebuild had nothing to do with it? I think National could have done more regarding housing but come on… A far more important reason for the failure of how housing market is that it isn’t a free market (planning rules and tax treatment). And that’s been going on for a long time in NZ. Also when interest rates are low asset prices are high – the big funds including pension funds chase yields. No government in NZ can do anything about that.

        1. ‘They could build homes’

          ‘They’ don’t build homes. Builders build homes. Where are these builders gonna come from?
          Most of these 100,000 houses the government are promising will houses that would have been built anyway.
          Unless they can magic a workforce outta nowhere.

        2. If only there were a period someone within the last ten years where building rates were lower and builders were available in which the government could have built those houses………

          Please try to read the whole comment thread in future.

        3. First, I am not going to get into a grammatical argument but my point was no NZ government can do anything about the basic economic fact that low interest rates leads to higher asset prices.
          Second, I don’t know of many tradesmen waiting around for jobs. If I recall correctly, we had to bring a lot of tradesmen for the Christchurch rebuild from overseas. Governments don’t build houses, they at best employ people to build houses and there aren’t enough tradesmen for the number of houses we need.

  2. It will be fascinating to see CBD residence numbers in the new census. So many buildings have been completed since 2013.

    1. Yes and the next one will also be interesting for the same reason. Out CBD will have a higher population than many provincial centres.

      1. +1, it would almost certainly be in the top 15 on it’s own, but will the increase be big enough to put it in the top ten?

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