The figures show the sector is responding to government support to get new houses built, says building and construction minister Poto Williams.
New figures from Statistics New Zealand show 11,291 new homes were approved in the December 2020 quarter – the highest quarterly number ever – beating the previous record of 10,713 from the December 1973 quarter.
“For the year ended December 2020, the number of new homes consented was 39,420,” said Williams. “The figures show that despite uncertainty caused by Covid-19 there is a lot of residential activity in the pipeline especially for townhouses, flats and units.
“As most residential building work is completed within two years of the consent being granted, the data will provide certainty to the construction sector of the anticipated activity in the coming years.”
She added that the Statistics New Zealand data also showed strong growth in the construction sector despite Covid-19. The household labour force survey (HLFS) detailed an annual increase of 21,000 people employed in the construction industry, she said, adding that it was encouraging to note that 5,800 of them were women.
“The Covid-19 restrictions placed a lot of pressure on the construction sector but through the Construction Sector Accord and the Rapid Mobilisation Playbook to get construction going the aovernment is assisting the sector to help build New Zealand back better and help underpin our economic recovery,” said Williams. “There is confidence in the sector with a vast variety of building and infrastructure projects coming on stream to provide employers the certainty to invest in capacity and their workforce.
“As part of our response to Covid-19 we launched a comprehensive support package for apprentices and their employers, assuring job security for existing apprentices and creating openings for new ones.
“As a government we are committed to supporting the sector through continued investment in trades training and apprenticeships, the Building Legislative Reform Programme and improvement to our planning system by repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act.”
Williams concluded: “We want the strong and sustained growth in the building sector so it can help lay the foundations for the demands of New Zealanders now and into the future.”