Christchurch leads construction activity

Christchurch again dominated New Zealand's building activity for the quarter to June, as residential activity across the country was flat and unchanged.

Nationally, commercial work rose 2.5% and the combined all activity rose 1%, according to Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) data released yesterday.

Westpac economist Michael Gordon said growth was led by Canterbury, in particular a 15% increase in non-residential work, by value, while construction was ''broadly unchanged for the rest of the country''.

In Christchurch, residential activity was up 0.3%, commercial rose 15% and the combined all activity rose 5.6%.

''The trend for all building activity in Canterbury continues to grow, still led by residential buildings,'' SNZ said.

For the quarter, all Canterbury building work was up 5.6% and worth $970 million, albeit it down from the previous quarter's 24% growth.

The unadjusted value of all building activity in the quarter to June was $3.8 billion - $2.3 billion residential building work and $1.4 billion non-residential building work.

Mr Gordon said New Zealand building work rose 1% in the June quarter, which followed a record 15% rise in the March quarter.

''That appears to have been a catch-up .. . of work that had been consented over the previous year,'' Mr Gordon said.

SNZ data last week said Canterbury consents had fallen 15% in July, but this followed a strong result in June.

For the year to July, Canterbury dwelling consents issued increased 42% on the same period last year.

SNZ said the trend for all building activity had been generally rising for nearly three years, and was just 0.7% lower than the series high in the June 2005 quarter.

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