Building Consents Issued

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The Building Consents Issued release summarises information for building consents issued within New Zealand during each reference month. Values include GST. From September 1989, consents below $5,000 are excluded.


Building consents data reflect an intention to build, and is seen as a indicator of confidence in the domestic economy. Building consents is also an early indicator of building activity, estimated in the quarterly release, Value of Building Work Put in Plac e (QBAS) .

Citation Information


Building Consents Issued

Alternate Title

Building Consents, Consents


Statistics New Zealand

Coverage Information

Temporal Coverage

  • 1965-04

Topical Coverage

  • Business Statistics
  • Sectoral Statistics - Mining, Manufacturing, Construction

Significant events impacting this study series

Changes in coverage The building consents included in this release have changed over time. The list below highlights the key changes.

From September 1989, consents below $5,000 are excluded.

From January 1993, building authorisations have been applied for under the building consents system administered by territorial authorities. Before this date, applications were made under the building permits system. The building consents system has wider coverage than the building permits system. The additional coverage includes some government building (particularly work on education buildings), and on-site drainage and reticulation work.

From June 1996, consent values for multi-purpose buildings are coded to one or more of the most appropriate building types. Before this date, multi-purpose buildings were classified separately.

In June 2004, the number of new dwellings was more than expected. Several Territorial Authorities increased their fees for the issuing of consents, effective 1 July 2004. This resulted in many applicants applying in June, where they might have otherwise applied in July. The effect was most prominent for Tauranga City. The fee increase was for residential consents only.

On 31 March 2005, consent application fees were increased as a result of an increase in the Department of Building and Housing levy, along with new building requirements through the Building Act 2004. These changes apply to consents issued on or after 31 March 2005 and have contributed to the high number of consents issued prior to the changes, and fluctuation of consents numbers after the changes. Also, some Territorial Authorities noted delays in consent processing time after the introduction of the Building Act 2004.

Boundary changes On 1 November 2010, the new Auckland Council came into being. Before November 2010, the Auckland region can be used to approximate the new Auckland Council.

From January 2011, Waikato region includes part of the former Franklin district that moved from the Auckland region .


2 Monthly

Usage and limitations of the data

Building consents reflect an intention to build. Building consents are seen as an indicator of confidence in the domestic economy, as building work requires the investment of capital.

Building consents is also an early indicator of building activity, estimated in the quarterly release, Value of Building Work Put in Place (QBAS).

The QBAS sample is drawn from building consents.

Building consents data includes GST and is not adjusted for inflation, whereas QBAS data excludes GST and some series are adjusted for inflation.

When a small number of consents have been issued for a region and they have a high value then the average dwelling value for that region is overstated.

There is no coverage of building consents issued for less than $5,000. This reduces the amount of data entry required by both territorial authorities and Statistics New Zealand, without significantly impacting on data quality.

Interpreting the data Figures for new apartments are compiled from consents that have 10 or more new attached dwellings (flats or apartments). If there are fewer than 10 flats or apartments on a consent, they are treated as being dwellings other than apartments. Apartment numbers often show large fluctuations from month to month and, unless removed from dwelling figures, can mask underlying movements.

Values for new buildings include conversion costs. For example, if a hotel is converted to apartments, these are treated as new dwellings in the statistics.

Consent values for new buildings sometimes include the cost of demolishing or removing the previous buildings.

Some consents, particularly for large projects, are issued in stages across more than one month. Value data is collected at each stage but floor areas and dwelling or building counts are normally recorded at the first large stage of the project. This difference in timing can affect calculations of average prices.

Trading day adjustments An aim of time series analysis is to identify movements that are due to actual changes. Seasonal adjustment is done to remove systematic calendar-related variation. Specific adjustments can be made to remove variations due to trading day differences and moving holidays, such as Easter, which are not accounted for in a standard seasonal adjustment. Some of the apparent movement in building consent figures is due to trading day differences between months. For example, a month with four weekends will have more trading or working days than a comparable month with five weekends. This can affect monthly figures, even though there may be no difference in the length of the month or difference in the rate at which consents are issued. Trading day effects, when estimated to be statistically significant, are quantified and removed. This is trading day adjustment.

Since 1998, trading day adjustments have been made to the building consents series during the seasonal adjustment process.

Since May 2004, there is no adjustment to remove the effect of Easter or any other moving holidays. This is because there are too few years with Easter in March from which to estimate the effect of the Easter holiday . This change has had a small effect on the seasonally adjusted series. The trend series will be less affected.

Trend estimates versus month-on-month comparisons Trend estimates reveal the underlying direction of movement in statistical series. In contrast, comparisons of unadjusted data between one month and the same month in the previous year/s do not take account of data recorded for the intervening months, and are subject to one-off fluctuations. Reasons for fluctuations include changes in legislation, economic variables such as interest rates, and trading day composition of months.

Main users of the data

Internal: National Accounts External: Commercial Banks, Reserve Bank, Treasury, Bureau of Economic Research Limited (BERL), NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER)

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