July 2020


26 Jun 2020, Industry Updates, News

Covid-19 and the lockdown had a not-unexpected impact on consenting data for the month of April 2020, with the number of new homes consented nearly 17% lower than in April 2019

This was the biggest percentage fall in monthly consents compared with the same month in the previous year since July 2011.

A total of 2,168 new homes were consented in April, bringing the number of new homes consented in the April 2020 year to 37,180. Despite the month-on-month decrease for April from year to year, this was only slightly down from the February 2020 year, which produced a 45-year record of 37,882 new homes consented.

There was a large drop in the number of new homes consented in April, reflecting a range of factors. These include the direct impact of Covid-19 on plans to build, as well as any changes to how consents were lodged and processed by councils during the lockdown.

“Ultimately, there is still a large amount of uncertainty around the implications of Covid-19 on the future supply of homes,” said Acting Construction Indicators Manager Dave Adair.

“Typically, many homes are built within about a year of gaining consent, but these are unusual times and it will take some time to see if existing consented projects are completed or delayed.”

The uncertainty caused by Covid-19 is further highlighted in the regional home consent figures below. Consents in some regions fell sharply, while others remained relatively unchanged from the previous month. For example, consents in Wellington roughly halved in the month while Canterbury consents held up.

A clearer picture of the impact of Covid-19 on the construction industry will be provided by ‘Value of building work put in place’ results in the coming quarters. This series measures work ‘actually completed’, rather than consents, which indicate an ‘intention to build’. The data may include insights into delays, cancellations, and the total value of work put in place.


Five of the 16 regions consented more dwellings in April 2020 compared to April 2019, led by Waikato (up 21 to 253; +9%), Hawke’s Bay (up 13 to 65; +25%), and Otago (up 7 to 144; +5%). Tasman and Nelson were other regions to consent more dwellings month on month.

Ten regions saw a decrease in consented dwellings over the same period, led by Auckland (down 149 to 894; -14%), Bay of Plenty (down 89 to 84; -51%), and Wellington (down 126 to 101; -56%). Northland, Gisborne, Taranaki, Manawatu-Whanganui, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury and Southland also experienced decreases.

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