Otago has recorded the lowest level of consumer confidence
across the regions in the latest ANZ regional trends
quarterly economic survey.
The region had consistently rated poorly since December last
year, which coincided with weaker employment, house prices
and retail sales, economist Steve Edwards said.
The number of house sales dropped 6.6% in the three months to
July, resulting in an 18% fall over the past year, while the
average sale price dropped 1.7%.
The number of dwelling approvals issued increased 6% in the
June quarter to touch a nine-month high, while the number of
commercial construction consents rose 16% to reach an
The value of commercial building permits was even stronger,
rising 29% in the latest three months.
News of an upgrade to the University of Otago provided a
boost to local sentiment, Mr Edwards said.
Last month, the university revealed plans to spend $650
million upgrading its campuses.
Some Otago retailers remained depressed following a warm
start to winter and continued growth in online sales.
Retail trade in the region eased 1.9% in the June quarter,
contrasting with a 1.2% rise nationally.
Business confidence in Southland remained positive but dairy
farmers were reportedly getting nervous about a reduced
2014-15 payout, with an increasing focus on costs and debt
The region's unemployment rate improved to its lowest level
since March 2013.
The small decline in Canterbury residential building consent
numbers in the second quarter suggested residential activity
might be close to peaking, with the focus of the rebuild
shifting to the commercial sector, he said.
The number of dwelling consents slipped 1.5% in the June
quarter but remained 30% higher than a year ago.
In contrast, the value of commercial building consents issued
rose 33% in the latest three months, to be 65% higher than a