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Value of Building Work Put in Place: March 2013 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  05 June 2013
Commentary

All figures refer to seasonally adjusted volumes (values with price changes and seasonal variations removed) unless otherwise specified.

Building activity continues to grow

Volume

Building activity increased 5.8 percent in the March 2013 quarter, following a 2.0 percent increase in the December 2012 quarter. 

The trend for overall building activity continues to grow, and is currently 22 percent higher than the low point of the September 2011 quarter. The last time it was higher was in the September 2008 quarter. Trend figures may be revised when future quarters are compiled.

Graph, All building work put in place, quarterly values and volumes, March 2003 to March 2013.  

Value

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted value of all building work increased 7.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter. All of the growth came from residential work, which was 13 percent stronger than in the December 2012 quarter. This was the largest increase since September 2002, when it grew 17 percent. Meanwhile, the value of non-residential work edged down 0.4 percent.

Canterbury building activity increased 23 percent in the March 2013 quarter, compared with 5.1 percent for the rest of New Zealand.   

Graph, Building work put in place, March quarter unadjusted values, 2009 to 2013.

In the March 2013 quarter, the unadjusted value of all buildings was $2,837 million, up $519 million (22 percent) from the March 2012 quarter. Residential building work increased by $419 million (33 percent) and non-residential work by $99 million (9.4 percent).

The value of consents for all buildings (unadjusted) was down 11 percent in the March 2013 quarter compared with the December 2012 quarter. But the trend for the value of consents for all buildings has been growing for seven consecutive quarters. Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity.

Building Consents Issued: April 2013 has the most recent information.

Residential building activity increases 

Volume

The volume of residential building activity increased 12 percent in the March 2013 quarter, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth. This is the largest increase since the September 2002 quarter, when it grew 16 percent. In the December 2012 quarter the increase was 1.6 percent, and in the September 2012 quarter it was 6.2 percent.

 Graph, Residential building work put in place, quarterly values and volumes, March 2003 to March 2013.

The trend for residential building activity has risen 31 percent since the September 2011 quarter, which was a significant low point in the series. The last time the trend exceeded the current level was in the September 2008 quarter. Trend figures may be revised when future quarters are compiled.

Value

The seasonally adjusted value of residential building work, in current prices, increased 13 percent in the March 2013 quarter. This is the fourth quarter of growth, and the largest increase since the September 2002 quarter, when it rose 17 percent.

In the March 2013 quarter, the unadjusted value of residential building work was $1,682 million, up $419 million (33 percent) from the March 2012 quarter.

Small fall in non-residential building activity

Volume

The volume of non-residential building activity fell 0.8 percent in the March 2013 quarter. This follows 2.5 percent growth in the December 2012 quarter.

The trend for the volume of non-residential building work has grown for five consecutive quarters, and is now 12 percent higher than the low point of December 2011.

 Graph, Non-residential building work put in place, quarterly values and volumes, March 2003 to March 2013.

Value

The seasonally adjusted value of non-residential building work, in current prices, fell 0.4 percent in the March 2013 quarter, following a 3.0 percent rise in the previous quarter.

In the March 2013 quarter, the unadjusted value of non-residential building work was $1,154 million, up $99 million (9.4 percent) from the March 2012 quarter.

The largest contributors to the unadjusted value in the March 2013 quarter were:

  • commercial buildings – $361 million 
  • miscellaneous buildings – $333 million
  • education buildings – $142 million.

Graph, Non-residential building work put in place, by building type, March quarter unadjusted values, 2009 to 2013.

Canterbury building work surges post-earthquakes

Building activity surged in Canterbury in the March 2013 quarter, particularly for non-residential work. In current prices, the seasonally adjusted changes in the March 2013 quarter for Canterbury were:

  • all building activity – up 23 percent (compared with a 5.1 percent rise in the rest of the country)
  • residential building activity – up 21 percent (compared with an 11.4 percent rise in the rest of the country)
  • non-residential building activity – up 26 percent (compared with a 4.5 percent fall in the rest of the country).

The latest movements follow a modest increase in the December 2012 quarter (1.5 percent) and a strong increase in the September 2012 quarter (30 percent). 

For non-residential building activity, there was a large difference between Canterbury and the rest of New Zealand, indicating that Canterbury had a positive effect on the national total. In current prices, seasonally adjusted non-residential building activity was down 0.4 percent across the whole nation. Strong growth in Canterbury meant that the national total did not fall by 4.5 percent like the rest of New Zealand.

This survey is designed for accuracy at the national level, meaning that indicators of regional building activity may be less reliable. The sample error for the March 2013 quarter is 3.0 percent at the national level for all building activity, while for Canterbury it is 8.7 percent.  

Graph, All building work put in place, by statistical area, March quarter unadjusted values, 2009 to 2013.

Earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury totalled $147 million in the March 2013 quarter, down from $156 million in the December 2012 quarter. The latest value includes $45 million for non-residential building consents, and $83 million for residential building consents. The residential consents include 173 new dwellings, compared with 118 in the previous quarter.

Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity. Building Consents Issued: May 2013 will be published on 28 June 2013.

Value of Building Work Put in Place data is obtained mostly from a postal survey of builders, owners, and others who have been granted building consents. For further information, see the 'Definitions' section.

For more detailed data on the value of building work put in place, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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