New residential building consents in Hawke's Bay have continued to decline dramatically.
The value of consents issued fell 20 per cent from last month to $8 million, half the value in February 2010.
The number issued fell 24 per cent from January, from 37 to 28. In February 2010 there were 52 issued. Nationwide last month 973 consents were issued for new dwellings, down 29 per cent on February 2010.
When apartments were excluded the fall was even bigger - down 35 per cent to 884 new units - the number of apartments consented was 76 higher than 2010 at 89.
Hawke's Bay Master Builders Association president Gordon Sanson said it was darkest before the dawn.
"Christchurch is the equivalent of a year's worth of work nationally, leaky homes are also a year's worth of work and nationally we have underbuilt for 2 years - so at some stage there is going to be a huge catch-up.
"The floods in Australia and the damage in Japan will lift international competition for skilled workers and materials - we are starting to see some price rises already."
"I've said it before, and it won't be true for too much longer, with interest rates low and building material prices set to increase, there has never been a better time to build."