The total volume of building work done in New Zealand jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday.
That exceeded expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 2.7 percent gain in the three months prior.
For residential building activity, the volume fell 0.4 percent in the latest quarter, following a 4.1 percent rise in the September 2017 quarter.
“While non-residential building activity lifted in the December 2017 quarter, residential activity eased slightly,” construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.
The volume of activity for both residential and non-residential building was at near record levels.
In value terms, non-residential building activity was NZ$7.4 billion in the year ended December 2017, up 1.8 percent on 2016.
“Work on factories and industrial buildings, and accommodation buildings helped boost non-residential activity in 2017,” McKenzie said. “In contrast, some of the biggest building categories, such as offices and shops, decreased compared with 2016.”
The non-residential building types with the greatest increases in the December 2017 year were:
• factories and industrial buildings – up NZ$130 million (22 percent) to NZ$733 million (with increases outside of the main centres, boosting regional activity);
• hotels, motels, boarding houses, and prisons (accommodation buildings) – up NZ$110 million (23 percent) to NZ$585 million, coinciding with record short-term travel in 2017 into New Zealand and record high occupancy for hotels in 2017;
• social, cultural, and religious buildings – up NZ$103 million (21 percent) to NZ$602 million (mainly in Canterbury and Auckland).
The value of building work on accommodation buildings is likely to stay high into the near future, the bureau said, as the value of consents for tourism-related buildings surged in 2017.