The construction sector appears to be bouncing back, with the value of building consents issued in the Bay at a five-year high.
Last month, the Tauranga City Council (TCC) issued 167 building consents at a total value of $47.6 million, the highest monthly value total in almost five years.
The number of consents issued for new house builds and commercial work both reached two-year highs, with new house builds making up 40 per cent of the total consents issued last month.
TCC senior building officer Brian Swale said consent figures had been growing over previous months and showed a definite upturn in the local building industry. "I did hear today that some of the building companies are finding it difficult to get trades staff," he said.
"Even labourers and hammer-hand type of people, so that's quite interesting that all of a sudden some of the agencies are getting asked if they've got staff."
With the downturn in building work over recent years, some Tauranga tradespeople would have moved to Christchurch or overseas to find work, Mr Swale said.
But if last month's figures were any indicator, there could soon be work for them in their home town.
"I think they'd all prefer to be up here again but you've got to go where the work is."
Bruce Matthews, a sales consultant from G.J. Gardner, said there was no question the industry was on the up but they had not lost any builders to Christchurch or overseas.
"We as a company are hugely busy and have been since around October last year," he said.
"It has been picking up and it has been a very good year."
Mr Matthews said the banks had made it easier for homeowners by lowering the rate of mortgages and the council fees had come down by about $5000.
A lot of people were buying land and building as a result.
City council building consents team leader Helen Marshall said the value and number of new house consents in August had been particularly good.
"The interesting thing is for this month we have had a lot of one-off dwellings which are not part of Ryman Health, and 40 per cent of all consents issued have been new dwellings. That's huge," she said.
Work at the $120 million Ryman Healthcare retirement village has made up much of the consented work over previous months.
Building work at The Lakes subdivision, Bethlehem and Papamoa accounted for a large part of the new consents, Ms Marshall said.
The $14 million expansion of the Sulphur Pt wharf was a big contributor to the total value figures, as was the second stage of development at The Strand ($2.8 million).
Tauranga Master Builders Association president Brian Foster said the high value of consented work was good news for the industry and for the whole region.
"Building flows on to so many other businesses," he said.
"You'd be amazed at how many people are tied up to the building industry."
Mr Foster said some of his members had a lot of work scheduled while others were just getting by.