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Building activity grows for fifth quarter

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/06/2016 Paul McBeth

New Zealand building activity grew for a fifth quarter in the March period as Auckland dominated construction for both residential and commercial construction.

The volume of building work put in place rose a seasonally adjusted 5.3 per cent in the three months ended March 31, accelerating from a 2.8 per cent pace in December and the fastest growth since March 2014, Statistics New Zealand said.

Of that, the volume of residential activity rose 5.5 per cent and non-residential 5 per cent.

Compared with the March quarter last year, the value of building work put in place climbed 15 per cent to $4.45 billion, while on an annual basis, it was up 9.5 per cent to $17.16 billion.

The value of building new residential dwellings climbed 19 per cent in the quarter to $2.36 billion for an annual increase of $8.8 billion in the year.

Auckland building work accounted for 35 per cent of the value of all work in New Zealand, rising 26 per cent to $1.57 billion in the quarter from March 2015.

"Auckland residential construction topped $1 billion for the first time in the March 2016 quarter, with another half-billion of non-residential work," business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said.

"Every week this quarter about $120 million worth of building work was put in place in Auckland."

Government data this week showed there were 9,353 new residential building consents for Auckland in the year through April, still less than the 13,000 needed to meet the growing population.

Friday's figures show building activity was up across the country, except in Canterbury, where the value fell 0.6 per cent to $1.08 billion in the March quarter from a year earlier. Construction in Christchurch and its surroundings has been sustained by the rebuild of the city from a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Commercial building work accounted for 38 per cent of non-residential activity in the quarter at $615 million, up 32 per cent from a year earlier.

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