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Volume of NZ building activity falls in March while value steady on quarter

Wednesday 6th June 2018

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The value of New Zealand building work was steady in the March quarter while the volume of total building activity dipped, weighed by a slide in non-residential building activity. 

The seasonally adjusted value of total building work was unchanged on quarter in the three months ended March 31 after lifting a revised 2 percent in the December quarter, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

Non-residential work fell 0.5 percent in the quarter after lifting 4.8 percent in the prior quarter while residential work increased 0.2 percent versus a 0.6 percent increase in the December quarter. 

The volume of total building activity, which excludes the effects of higher construction costs and typical seasonal patterns, fell 0.9 percent in the quarter with non-residential building work falling 1.5 percent and residential building work falling 0.5 percent. 

Stats NZ construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said the slide in total building activity volumes follows rises in the December and September 2017 quarters. “The fall in the latest quarter comes off the back of record high volumes in the December 2017 quarter," she said. 

New Zealand's construction pipeline has been underpinned by a shortage of housing, primarily in Auckland, which is expected to peak in 2020 with some $20 billion of residential work predicted.

Today's figures show the actual value of all building work rose 7 percent to $5.28 billion in the three months ended March 31 from the same period a year earlier, with the value of residential work up 7.2 percent to $3.49 billion while non-residential work increased 6.6 percent to $1.79 billion on the year.

In Auckland, the actual value of all building work rose 15 percent on the year to $2 billion while in Canterbury it fell 8.2 percent on the year to $941 million. The two cities accounted for around 56 percent of all building activity in the quarter. 


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