Figures just released by Statistics NZ show new builds in New Zealand have hit an all-time low, with permits for just 13,533 new homes being issued in the year to September 2011, compared to 16,292 permits issued to last the previous September, according to a report in the NZ Herald.
Experts have pointed out the previous two months saw substantial improvements in the number of consents being issued, but feel the short-term outlook for the construction industry is likely to remain depressed, even though there are expectations that rebuilding in Christchurch will help boost this sector from next year onwards. According to Statistics NZ, $29 million worth of earthquake related building permits were issued in Canterbury in September, of which $26 million were for non-residential properties. The number of permits for residential property has declined 12% compared to September 2010 and the number of non-residential permits has declined by 13%.
Apparently the low number of new homes on the market is deterring many people from listing older houses, and the Real Estate Institute is also warning consumers need to use home inspectors who are members of the Royal Institution of Charters Surveyors or the Institute of Building Surveyors. They are recommending that people should not buy a home without first receiving a professionally written report by inspectors who are properly qualified and who hold professional indemnity insurance, as poor inspection reports combined with a shortage of homes for sale is negatively affecting the real estate market.
The shortage of homes is so bad that some people are buying property before they have sold their old house, or are deciding to delay their house move. In 2004 an average of 11,000 homes were sold monthly, but that figure has now halved to 5,500. The number of licensed real estate agents has also dropped from a previous high of 22,000 agents to 13,000, of whom just 10,500 are actually working.