New Zealand residential building consents fell for a second month in September as activity recovers from a spike higher in July.

Seasonally adjusted consents slipped 5.7 per cent to 2,232 in September, following a 5.3 per cent slide in August, and a 20 per cent jump in July, according to Statistics New Zealand. Permits to build new houses gained 1.5 per cent to 1,684.

“The fall this month is not a huge surprise,” Westpac Banking Corp industry economist David Norman said in a note.

“Consents in July grew by 20 per cent, and the fall back in August was smaller than expected. This suggests that the return from the highs of two months ago have taken a little longer to flow through than expected.”

On an unadjusted basis, residential consents rose 13 per cent to 2,242 from the same month a year earlier, the statistics agency said.

Consents for houses increased 19 per cent to 1,781, while consents for townhouses, flats and units rose 15 per cent to 246.

Meanwhile, consents for apartments fell 6.8 per cent to 109 while consents for retirement village units slipped 35 per cent to 106.

In Auckland, where increased migration has led to a shortage of housing, dwelling consents rose 20 per cent to 643 from the year earlier month. The Waikato region recorded the largest increase, with consents jumping 98 per cent to 320 from September last year.

Auckland consent numbers are running at an annual level of about 8,700 which is “way below what is needed to meet the long-term shortage in housing that Auckland is experiencing,” Westpac’s Norman said.

Meanwhile, Wellington recorded the biggest decline in dwelling consents, with a 35 per cent drop to 126 from the year earlier month. Consents in Canterbury declined 9.3 per cent to 525, as the residential phase of rebuilding earthquake-damaged region winds down as non-residential activity picks up steam.