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NZ home building activity holds at lowest level in 18 years

Monday 5th December 2011

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New Zealand residential building activity was little changed in the third quarter at its lowest level in about 18 years.

The volume of value of building work put in place held unchanged, seasonally adjusted, at the lowest level since the second quarter of 1993, according to Statistics New Zealand. The value of residential work put in place rose 0.6 percent to $1.3 billion.

Non-residential building activity fell 4.6 percent in the third quarter, returning to levels last seen in the final three months of 2009. The value of work fell 4.3 percent to $1.1 billion.

Companies including Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest construction firm, say weak demand for residential housing is eroding earnings and they’re waiting for the rebuild of Christchurch to get underway to help offset slack demand nationally.

“Today’s data confirms that the construction sector will act as a drag” on third-quarter economic growth, “although the weakness was not as large as we had feared,” said Philip Borkin, economist at Goldman Sachs NZ.

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