New Zealand home building consents declined for a second month in January, with new housing permits falling at their sharpest pace since August.

Seasonally adjusted dwelling consents, including apartments and retirement units, fell 3.8 per cent to 2,108 in January, adding to the 2.3 per cent decline in December, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Stripping out apartments, housing consents fell 7.5 per cent to 1,719, the first decline in four months.

On an unadjusted basis, new apartment permits more than doubled in January to 314, for an annual gain of 39 per cent to 3,481, while housing consents fell 6.8 per cent to 1,389 for an annual increase of 11 per cent to 21,295.

Friday’s figures show Auckland consents rose 11 per cent to 482 in January from the same month a year earlier, with new apartments accounting for most of the increase.

New Canterbury permits fell 10 per cent to 467, as the rebuild of Christchurch shifts its focus to commercial activity.