Too early to predict sustained uplift in building activity
Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) says the latest building consent figures released today indicate a pickup in activity predominantly in Canterbury and Auckland.
Statistics New Zealand figures show 1559 new homes and apartment building consents issued for March 2012 a 43% increase on March 2011.
RMBF CEO Warwick Quinn says that 2011 saw the lowest level of building activity since records began in 1965 and was one of the toughest years in living memory with a little over 13,500 new home consents issued. However since December 2011 the market has shown an improvement culminating in the March figures being the highest building consent figures to date.
Mr Quinn says that RMBF has been anticipating for some time that Canterbury, because of the earthquakes, and Auckland, due to mounting pressures from a housing shortage, were likely to have an increase in activity first. However, a key for a sustained recovery is an increase in construction nationwide and including the non-residential market which is also weak, relies on a strong national economy. While the 1559 building consents for March is annualised to around 19,000 per annum it is still below the general level considered necessary to sustain our housing requirements at around 22,000 – 25,000 pa.
Mr Quinn says that with the increased activity the sector has also experienced an increase in the level of interest and enquiries for apprentices in Canterbury and Auckland. With an estimated 24,000 trades people needed in Canterbury at the height of the rebuild attracting and retaining both trainees and skilled workers is essential.
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