Statistics NZ have released their latest number on new building consents lodged in New Zealand. It won’t come as a surprise to many that we have yet again seen the largest amount of consents in a year since the 1970s.
37,882 consents were issued for the year ended February 2020. This number is quite staggering and reflects the demand for new homes in New Zealand. The property development sector has clearly risen to the demand and are working towards providing the supply.
Of these nearly 38,000 new consents, the overwhelming majority are for stand alone houses. This signals that Kiwis are not yet ready to view apartment living as a legitimate way of life. This is particularly true outside of Auckland where new apartments are not going up fast enough. Experts predict that apartment living will have to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that we face. This may become inevitable as greenfield lands dry up and government and councils start to limit subdivisions in favor of high rises.
The amount of new building consents and new buildings can in part be put down to local councils efforts to streamline their processes. Auckland City Council in particular are being praised for the work they have put in to eliminate bureaucracy and help developers push through consents.
It has been predicted that the Resource Management Act (RMA) will be a hotpoint debate at the 2020 election with both National and Labour already signaling their desire to push through changes. These changes will be needed if we are to see the required amount of new homes to be built to curb the current housing crisis. While local councils can do their part, many believe that an overhaul of the RMA is required if we are to keep up with the demand.
With the lasting effects of COVID-19 still unknown, development and developers can not be certain about how to push forward. However long the effects of the market downturn may last, we know that it will bounce back. Hopefully our property community and politicians can keep this in mind over the coming months and continue to push for the efficiencies that will allow the building of new properties to continue.