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Marlborough’s economic growth continues

Marlborough’s economy grew a healthy 2.1% in the 12 months to June 2019, slightly below the national average of 2.5%, Infometrics says in its latest quarterly economic update.

Marlborough has experienced some years of strong population growth. Health enrolments, which are a proxy for population growth, rose by 2.1% here in the June year, indicating that the population continues to grow strongly.

Marlborough’s unemployment rate averaged 3.4% in the 12 months to June, well below the national average of 4.1%. Growth in traffic volumes of 3.5% shows strength in underlying economic activity, well ahead of the national increase of 1.5%.

A growing population has driven demand for housing, which has in turn been fueling house price growth. Marlborough house values grew by 6.6% and reached an average of $477,000 in the 12 months to June, considerably lower than the national average of $687,000. Despite the growth in prices, housing is more affordable in Marlborough now than in the period just before the global financial crisis. House sales increased by 2.6% compared to the previous year, well ahead of the rest of the country which declined by 0.9%.
Although the number of residential consents were down to 249 for the year to June, off a peak of 332 a year ago, housing consents are still at a level well above the 10-year average of 230. Non-residential building has reached a level last seen in the construction boom of the late 2000s. The total value of non-residential consents reached $55 million, up 55% on the previous year, with an additional $21m in projects set to be built compared to last year, comprising accommodation, shops and factory buildings.
The tourism boom has contributed to Marlborough’s growth over recent years but there are signs that the days of heady growth are over. Total tourist spending increased by 1.1% to $397 million, lower than national growth of 3.2%, and guest nights in commercial accommodation declined by 3.6%. However, it’s likely this picture would be more positive if private accommodation such as Airbnb was included in the figures.

Electronic card consumer spending in Marlborough increased by 4.1% over the year to June, compared to the previous year. This compares with an increase of 4.0% in New Zealand.

For further information, go to https://ecoprofile.infometrics.co.nz/Marlborough+Region/QuarterlyEconomicMonitor and Infometrics national media release: https://portal.infometrics.co.nz/Articles/Article/9759

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