NZ building activity expands for 5th quarter in December, residential construction slows

New Zealand’s building work grew for a fifth quarter in the final three months of 2012, though the pace of residential construction growth slowed in the period.

The volume of all building work grew a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, slowing from a 9.8 percent pace of expansion in the September period, according to Statistics New Zealand. The increase in building work wasn’t limited to the Canterbury rebuild, which was comparable to the rest of the country, Statistics NZ said.

The volume of residential property building grew 0.7 percent in the quarter, slowing from a 6.5 percent increase, while non-residential work grew 3 percent, compared to a 14 percent pace of growth in the September period.

“Building work was slightly stronger than we expected, adding to the upside risks to our forecast of 0.8 percent growth in December quarter GDP,” Westpac Banking economist Michael Gordon said in a note. “Activity is lifting in Auckland in particular, in response to a significant shortfall of new building work since the 2008 recession.”

The unadjusted value of building work put in place rose 15 percent to $2.98 billion for all building in the December quarter, and was up 8.3 percent to $10.78 billion annually.

Of that, new residential dwellings rose 24 percent to $1.31 billion in quarter, and were up 15 percent to $4.71 billion in the year. Including alterations, residential building rose a quarterly 17 percent to $1.65 billion, and an annual 12 percent to $6.03 billion.

Non-residential building work climbed 13 percent to $1.33 billion, and was up an annual 4.2 percent to $4.73 billion.

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