New Zealand property: 'Perfect storm' of record building consents combined with material shortages creating 'a lot of pressure' - expert

There were record levels of consents granted for new homes in February following a dip of over 6 percent the previous month, the latest figures show.

Statistics New Zealand data shows nearly 4200 building consents were granted in February alone.

CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said a record-high 50,000 building consents were granted in the previous 12 months.

But material shortages and the cost of those materials mean all of those houses may not be built in a hurry.

"Materials [are] in short supply," Davidson told AM Early on Monday.

"We know COVID has mucked the supply chain so it's a double whammy, really. Builders are busy, [the] material's costing more, labour's costing more - so you can call it a perfect storm really because it's just a lot of pressure."

Davidson said that even if building consents start to drop slightly over the next few months, the pressure will remain.

"Dwelling consents themselves may start to tail off because the costs must be deterring some households. They'll be thinking, 'Gee, I can't afford this anymore' or the bank has said, 'Sorry, we can't lend on that project.'

"But there are so many [consents] in the pipeline already that builders will be busy for a long time. We know materials are still short, we know labour is still short so I think even if dwelling consents do tail off, the industry is going to be busy and that will keep pressure on costs.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we have really strong cost inflation into next year at least."

Davidson said banks may be less likely to lend as those costs escalate.

"There's a bit more caution around proceeding with some of these projects so I think that's definitely on the cards," he said. "There's still a lot of challenges there for sure and it's not going to get cheaper any time soon."

The Statistics NZ figures showed Auckland had the highest consent numbers in February with 20,786 issued - up 22 percent from the same time last year. Canterbury followed with 8317 consents, up 42 percent. 

Wellington had 3687 consents issued, up 24 percent. All of these were at record levels.