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NZ building work activity edges up in June quarter

NZ building work activity edges up in June quarter, house-building flat

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand building work edged up in the second quarter as increased activity in non-residential construction offset flat activity in housing.

The volume of building work put in place rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in the three months ended June 30, slowing from a 15 percent pace in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. That was led by a 2.5 percent lift in non-residential construction activity, while residential activity was unchanged having climbed 14 percent in the March quarter.

The value of work rose 1.8 percent across all buildings to $3.8 billion in the quarter, with a 3.1 percent increase in non-residential work to $1.44 billion and a 1 percent gain in residential values to $2.33 billion.

"The trend for residential building work has been rising for 11 quarters, and is now 68 percent higher than the most recent low point in the September 2011 quarter," Statistics NZ said in its report. "However, it is still 7 percent lower than the series maximum in the June 2004 quarter."

Construction has been seen as a major driver for New Zealand's economy as the Canterbury rebuild hits its peak momentum, while a shortage of housing in Auckland stokes building activity in the country's biggest city. That's underpinned strong issuance of buildings consents through the June quarter, a pace which was maintained in July, according to government figures.

Today's figures show Canterbury building activity was worth $970 million in the June quarter, up 5.6 percent in the quarter and adding to the 24 percent jump in the March period.

On an unadjusted basis, new residential dwelling work rose 34 percent to $1.86 billion in the quarter from the same period a year earlier, and non-residential work was up 12 percent to $1.43 billion. All building work was up 23 percent to $3.76 billion.

On an annual basis, new dwelling work was up 29 percent to $6.87 billion, and non-residential rose 3.2 percent to $5.19 billion, for an 18 percent lift across all buildings to $13.85 billion.


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