24 Dec 2013

Construction drives increased Canterbury activity

7:43 am on 24 December 2013

Activity in Canterbury accelerated in December, driven by a 20% increase in both residential and other types of construction.

The ASB Bank's monthly Cantometer measures about 17 different statistics in five indicies, including construction, migration and employment.

The index, which was set to zero in June 2010, rose to 1.2 points in December after holding steady at 1 in each of the four previous months.

ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley said construction activity was nowhere near peaking yet.

"We have seen in recent months that the Cantometer had been pretty flat at a high level and we have seen a pretty big spurt in activity in this latest one," Mr Tuffley said.

Much of the surge was around measured construction activity, which rose 20% in the third quarter, he said.

"We have also seen building consents start to pick up again, and particularly the residential consents."

Residential consents had looked like they were going sideways but had now picked up, which suggested the near-term pipeline for construction was also looking pretty good, Mr Tuffley said.