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Waimakariri Economy Dips for First Time Since Covid

20th March 2024
The Waimakariri District’s economy has shown signs of decline for the first time since Covid hit.
Waimakariri Economy Dips for First Time Since Covid

That’s according to the Quarterly Economic Monitor to December 2023, released earlier this month from Infometrics.

The report shows a 0.5% decline in the district’s GDP compared to the year prior. New Zealand’s GDP increased 0.7% over the same timeframe.

Infometrics attributes the decline to a noteworthy slowdown in the construction industry, but local experts believe this will be short lived.

“Commercial consents in the Waimakariri District were up 125% in this quarter,” explains Miles Dalton of Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC). “This is incredibly strong compared to New Zealand as a whole, which saw a 1% decline across the same time period. To us, it indicates that the local construction sector will bounce back quickly.”

In line with this, local company Hazeldine Construction confirms they are looking at a busy 2024.

“We are currently pricing a lot of work, both residentially and commercially,” says Hazeldine Construction Managing Director, Jasmine Hazeldine. “There is a lot of interest. This is exciting and very positive for the rest of the year.”

Jasmine says that whilst the construction industry has seen an easing of access to materials following several years’ difficulty in that area, it is still having to work with consistently high build costs. “We are working hard to make build costs achievable for developers by looking at alternative build methods and different products to reduce costs,” she said.

Other statistics highlighted in the report included a slight drop in housing prices alongside an increase in house sales, an uptick in the unemployment rate, an increase in the number of jobseeker support recipients, and weak prices for both dairy and meat putting pressure on the primary sector.

However, in addition to the expected construction bounce-back, Miles believes other factors including increased consumer spending (up 6.1%), increased employment (up 2.5%) and an increase in the number of businesses (up 2%) will contribute to the district economy’s growth over the coming quarter.

“Overall we’re seeing a strong local economy, buffeted by cold side winds like inflation and the cost of living. It’s a bit more of a mixed bag than we’ve seen in recent years, but the Waimakariri economy continues to demonstrate good strength overall.”

The Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor is released four times a year, commissioned by the Waimakariri District Council. The most recent report includes new reporting data on housing indicators, including rental affordability, housing affordability and housing register applications; and social indicators such as school attendance, crime rate and gaming machine profits, which will be included where applicable in future analysis from ENC.

Read the full Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor to December 2023 here.

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