New Zealand’s home-building approvals fell for the third time in four months in March as a slowing property market and prospects of tax changes curbed consumer confidence.

Permits declined 0.4% from February when they rose a revised 5.8%, Statistics New Zealand said in Wellington today, citing seasonally adjusted figures. Excluding apartments, approvals slumped 8.3%.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard yesterday kept the official cash rate unchanged at a record-low 2.5%, saying the housing market and consumer credit growth were subdued. Home sales dropped 12% in the first quarter as investors anticipate changes to property taxation in the May 20 budget.