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29-07-2009

Building consents drop in June, due to apartments

New Zealand home-building consents tumbled in June, reflecting a drop-off in apartments from the previous month and the continuance of broadly weak issuance levels.

Building permits fell 9.50%, seasonally adjusted, in June after gaining 3.50% in May on a jump in permits for retirement village units, according to Statistics New Zealand. Excluding apartments, consents rose 3%.

"We expect core consent issuance to start to improve with the lift in housing demand, as indicated by the rise in house sales," said Jane Turner, economist at ASB.

"Stabilisation in house prices and the recent lift in net migration should also help underpin demand for housing construction, and we expect consent issuance to pick-up off its lows over the second half of 2009."

The value of commercial building consents fell to $307 million, the lowest since September 2007, though Turner said this partly reflected large one-off projects in prior months, including development at Christchurch Airport.

Housing demand has picked up amid a shortage of new listings and lower borrowing costs. The central bank is due to release its monetary policy statement tomorrow, with the official cash rate expected to be held at a record low 2.50%.

Government figures this month showed a net 1,700 migrants in June, down from the 2,690 in May, according to Statistics New Zealand.

(Businesswire)

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