February 7, 2024

New Zealand News

Fall In Housing Consents Bodes Poorly For Steel Industry

Falling inflation and the likelihood of interest rate cuts later this year will both be welcomed by the overall New Zealand economy. However, the anti-inflation measures taken during 2023 are now having their full and adverse effect on the steel industry. Simply put – fewer people and businesses are wanting to build dwellings. Figures released last week by Stats NZ show there were 37,239 new homes consented in the year ended December 2023; down 25% compared with the year ended December 2022. “The number of homes consented in 2023 was down from 49,538 in 2022, which was the highest number in a calendar year since records began,” said Stats NZ´s construction and property statistics manager, Michael Heslop. Home consents were down across the board. In the North Island, 26,881 new homes were consented in 2023, down 26% on the 2022 figure. Of those consents, 10,090 were for stand-alone houses (down 25%) and 16,791 for multi-unit homes (a fall of 26% on the 2022 figure). In the South Island


in 2023, there were 10,357 new homes consented, being a drop of 22% on 2022. The South Island breakdown was 5,585 stand-alone houses consented (down 30%) and 4,772 multi-unit homes (down 10%). Multi-unit homes include townhouses, apartments, retirement village units and flats.

An interesting trend overall was the difference between the dwelling categories. “2023 was the first year that the number of townhouses, flats and units consented exceeded the number of stand-alone houses,” Mr Heslop said. In 2023, there were 21,564 multi-unit homes consented, down 23% on the year ended December 2022. However, there were only 15,675 stand-alone houses consented, which was a drop of 27% on the 2022 figure. The four regions with the highest number of new homes consented in 2023 were the usual suspects: Auckland with 15,488 (down 27% on 2022); Canterbury with 6,959 (down 22%); Waikato with 3,548 (down 25%); and Wellington with 2,427 (down 37%). With such depressing figures, it´s clear the steel industry is going to have a challenging year ahead.

Brighter news, however, can be found in Steel & Tube´s performance in Forsyth Barr’s second annual Carbon & Environmental, Social, Governance (C&ESG) ratings for 2023. The ratings provide insight into how publicly listed companies are preparing for a lower-carbon future. This includes their approach to reducing carbon, improving their environmental impact, as well as their performance against various social and governance indicators. A total of 58 publicly listed companies are surveyed each year, with more than 8,300 data points analysed across each ESG category. Steel & Tube scored in the top 30% of surveyed listed companies in New Zealand. Forsyth Barr said: “Steel & Tube remains firmly in the Fast Follower category and saw solid gains in 2023, holding onto the second highest C&ESG rating in the industrial sector. The standout for Steel & Tube is the Social category, where it ranks highest in the sector and top 10 in our coverage.”

Steel & Tube’s Group Sustainability Manager, Trent Brash, commented: “This improved score reflects our commitment to better understand our impact on the environment, to build circular economy principles into our business strategy, and to mitigate the impact of climate risk on our business. We have added resource to help grow our Scope 3 greenhouse gas inventory and improve internal reporting and target-setting. Like most NZ companies, we still have a long way to go, however I am pleased with our progress over the last 12 months.”  Steel & Tube is a Climate Reporting Entity and is required to disclose under New Zealand’s new climate standard, Climate-Related Disclosures.

* This month´s New Zealand Steel News was authored in-house by Australian Steel News