7 Jun 2012

Building activity falls in first quarter

7:09 am on 7 June 2012

Building activity has fallen, with official figures showing the value of building work decreasing 0.4% in the first three months of the year, reversing a gain in the previous quarter.

Statistics New Zealand says building activity in Christchurch picked up after the earthquakes, but overall building work fell in the rest of the country.

ASB economist Jane Turner says the activity reflects weak building consent figures early in the year, but she's expecting a turnaround.

She says there has been a strong pick up in building consents more recently and this should flow through to more activity in the coming months.

Ms Turner says Christchurch should drive the pickup this year, though recent earthquakes could delay work.

"We had seen some fairly encouraging signs before these aftershocks that activity was starting to pick up and this data also supports that".

Ms Turner says rising house prices may encourage more people to build new homes.