New builds and renovations in Wairarapa have increased so much the paperwork is stretching council resources, with South Wairarapa having to hire contractors and a new staff member to keep up.
Between July 1 and November 26, South Wairarapa processed 201 consents for new buildings or alterations, up 48 per cent on the same period last year.
Planning and environment manager Glenn Bunny said there were a significant number of new builds as well as the usual renovations.
"The increase in activity is significant, and it's been putting pressure on us resource-wise. We're doing our best to keep up with statutory requirements and level of service, which isn't easy," Mr Bunny said.
The council are recruiting a new building control officer, after being forced to hand over some of the work to contractors recent months, "at significant cost".
Mr Bunny said more confidence in the market and better lending conditions might be influencing people's decisions, and it could be an indication of an upward trend.
Jennian Homes Wairarapa managing director Gareth Norris said builders and developers were feeling more optimistic about the market, with a move from "tough but steady" at the end of 2011 to markets in Wairarapa and Wellington showing positive signs.
"It's good for business, and construction employs a lot of people. We feed a lot of families in Wairarapa, so it's good for them. It's not just doing a job and not knowing when the next one is coming, it's getting to the point where they're doing overtime."
Mr Norris said it was not necessarily that people had more money to spend, but feeling there was more choice in the market and more opportunity to build. He said it was unlikely to be on par with the boom seen in 2005 and 2006, but was confident of steady growth.
Carterton District Council is reporting similar trends to South Wairarapa, with new builds alone jumping from 28 between July and November last year to 44 during the same period this year, an increase of 57 per cent.
Building control officer Bruce Livingston said although a couple of large lifestyle developments had contributed to the numbers, it was an indication of things to come. "I think it's the start of an upward trend. Wairarapa is very desirable for people outside, and Carterton is one of the areas they like to come to," he said.
Milan Hautler, planning and regulatory manager, said several applications were made to council last month. Councillors were to consider an application yesterday to name a private right-of-way that enters a seven-lot subdivision off High Street South. Mr Hautler said a resource consent was also granted last month for a three-lot subdivision on Norfolk Rd and another three-lot subdivision on Kent St.
Masterton District Council senior building control officer Trevor Burkett said the council's consent numbers were only slightly up. "We're probably doing pretty much the same. Houses are up about 13 per cent, commercial is down slightly about 12 per cent and agriculture, farm sheds and things like that, is up about 50 per cent."