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New builds dropping

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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Busy builders and a lack of available land may to be blame for a drop in new residential building consents across Wairarapa.

In 2017, the number of new residential building consents issued totalled 389 and 395 in 2018.

Last year, the number of new consents decreased by 15 per cent to 336, most of which were issued by Masterton District Council.

Masterton consents increased from 2017 to 2018, up from 173 to 191 but were otherwise steady.

Last year, 188 consents were issued – 1.57 per cent fewer than last year.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the need for housing was reflected in the number of subdivisions council has granted in the consent review process.

She said a lot of the demand for new homes was being driven from people from outside the region.

One of the challenges was finding suitable land though there was work being done on this already, she said.

“The trend in the future, which we are already seeing in Masterton, is infill housing.”

“Our younger families no longer want quarter-acre properties,” she said.

“That’s really good because it uses existing infrastructure and protects our productive land on our borders to our towns.

“There’s plenty of quarter acre sections around town.”

Helping people into their first homes was also a challenge, as was finding contractors available for new builds.

“There’s a long waiting time for anyone wanting to get some building work done.

“We know our tradies are incredibly busy.”

Her thoughts were echoed by Fineline Construction owner and Carterton councillor Steve Cretney, who said the number of subdivisions under way was one of the reasons the number of resource consents in Carterton had decreased.

The number of consents issued by Carterton District Council dipped by 22 per cent from 117 to 91 from 2017 to 2018, and then a further 12 per cent with 80 consents issued last year.

Cretney said builders were being kept “busy enough” by subdivision developments.

“I don’t think it points to a slowdown in the building trade,” he said.

Cretney has been involved in the industry for more than 20 years and took over the family business which his father started about 45 years ago.

“As a builder, I think [demand for housing] is not going to stop,” he said.

“I think Wairarapa’s opened up to people from Napier, Auckland, Tauranga, and Wellington.

“Developers are just going to want to keep developing new land as Wairarapa grows.”

It was important that councils kept up with infrastructure demands as part of this.

Consents by South Wairarapa District Council last year were also considerably down last year compared with 2018.

Consents increased by 14 per cent from 99 to 113 from 2017 to 2018 but dropped almost 40 per cent last year with just 68 consents issued.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said there were no internal barriers to consents being issued.

“I have heard there is and was a shortage of builders in Wairarapa, and this takes time to resolve as builders relocate or expand,” he said.

“However, as sections are quickly snapped up with increasing demand, I see an increase in subdivision of larger sections, and there is a time lag between consent to subdivide, and an eventual building process.”

He said the challenge was finding builders to contract the building and the availability of sections.

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