Why is building in NZ so expensive?

The answer to this question has been a myth in our country for many years, with our friends across the ditch paying half as much per square metre of new home. Read on to find out our opinion on this seemingly unanswerable question – why is building in NZ so expensive?

Looking at a few stats…

In the year 2014 there were 23,700 new dwellings consented across New Zealand. Comparatively, in the last 12 months there have been 35,400 new dwellings consented in NZ, a huge 150% increase from the 2014 period. In numbers, this is an additional 11,700 homes in a year, or 225 homes per week.

So is this one of the reasons building is so expensive in New Zealand? Well yes, among others…

Take a good look at the below graph from Statistics New Zealand.


Our Shortlisted Reasons

  • Our materials are more expensive (but not by as much as everyone says)  
  • Tradesmen are in high demand, enabling prices to be driven up
  • New Zealanders love custom designed homes, rather than cookie cutter designs & styles
  • The finishing of our homes is top-notch, namely our gib-stopping and painting
  • We have very expensive tastes

In our view there’s no one reason why building is so expensive in NZ. It’s a mix of the above factors, among others, that make building in neighbouring Australia seem so cheap. 

The Tradesmen Predicament

Even with the huge increase in the number of consented dwellings per year, builders & all other tradesmen are still expected to finish their work in the same time. This means they’re working harder & charging more, as they’re able to with the high demand.

The other point to note (disclaimer – this isn’t a blanket rule), but take close note of the finishing in Australian houses. In NZ tradesmen’s work must be nothing short of perfect otherwise we’ll complain, however many Australian homes you can see aren’t finished to the same level of quality that NZ’s are.

roofing-types-and-prices-arcline-architecture-house-roof (Medium)

So why is building in NZ so expensive?

Have a think about the above factors when you’re next talking to a friend across the ditch proclaiming how cheaply they can build new homes, it’ll make for an interesting conversation.

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of building in New Zealand, reach out to the Arcline Team who can step you through the process, ensuring you don’t blow out your budget from the word go.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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