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New Zealand house building hits highest levels in 10 years

Home building in New Zealand has seen its biggest quarter of growth in a decade

The seasonally adjusted value of residential construction work in the first three months of this year was NZ$1.8bn.

This was 13 per cent higher than in the final quarter of last year, making it the best three months for housebuilding growth since 2002.

The Canterbury residential sector – boosted by the rebuilding of Christchurch – led the way with a 21 per cent hike in activity.

Christchurch, on the country’s South Island, was badly damaged by an earthquake in February 2011 and several powerful aftershocks since.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton hailed 2013 as ‘the year of the Christchurch rebuild’.

The region’s non-residential activity grew by 26 per cent in Q1 2013, against the trend of a 5 per cent fall elsewhere in the country.

AJ reported in May that a wave of international design contests could see UK practices appointed to work on the £15bn reconstruction of the city.

Boosted by the Christchurch programme, building work across all sectors and regions of New Zealand grew 7 per cent in the first three months of 2013.

‘Activity in the residential building sector has been steadily rising, and by March 2013 we had the fourth consecutive quarter of growth,” said industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno.

‘Residential building activity has been trending up since September 2011, and is now at a level last seen in late 2008.

‘The trend for overall building activity is also close to the level of the September 2008 quarter, after recovering from the low point of 18 months ago.’

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