Predictions of the building boom peaking this year have been pushed out to 2020, according one of the industry's foremost reports.

This year's national construction pipeline, a forecast by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), predicts the construction boom will last longer than expected, remaining above $30 billion for at least the next five years.

The workload's now expected to grow another 23 per cent by 2020, peaking at $42b, $5b higher than previously forecast and three years further out.

This was good news for the boom-bust sector, with the New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB) saying the construction industry was moving away from its cyclical nature, "to one that is sustainable and robust".

"We need 56,000 more of those people between last year and 2022, half of them are going to be in Auckland, so to encourage people to enter the industry, particularly college-age students, this gives a signal that there's going to be confidence that they will actually have a job " 

Among the report's other findings:

  • $34b worth of construction activity was carried out across the country last year, an 8 per cent increase.
  • Dwelling consents are expected to exceed 31,000 this year,  a level not seen since 2004, and should stay high for the following five years. They are tipped to top out at 34,500 in 2019 and 2020.
  • Non-residential building activity last year grew 12 per cent, and is poised to grow another 29 per cent, hitting $9.6b in 2019. Like residential, that's longer and higher than previously forecast.

Auckland was not the strongest region for construction growth last year. That title belonged to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty, where all construction grew by 13 per cent and residential building alone was up 19 per cent. 

Auckland was not far behind, however, with a 12 per cent leap in overall construction work, and 18 per cent in residential. 

Dwelling consents are tipped to hit an annual rate of 13,100 by 2020, the rate Auckland needs to sustain to keep up with its population.

Looking ahead, though, Auckland and the Waikato / Bay of Plenty are expected to enjoy sustained growth to 2020, rising 38 per cent and 31 per cent respectively before levelling out. It's expected Auckland's boom will last several years post its peak.

Although much has been written about Kiwis' passion for bigger houses, the report found that house sizes had generally plateaued, and even shrank in some regions.

Over the last decade, the average floor area of standalone houses stayed the same in most regions, Auckland around 230 square metres and the rest of the country hovering around 200sqm.

Source: Stuff