19 Sep 2019

Christchurch economy slowing down

2:41 pm on 19 September 2019

Christchurch's economy continues to fall well below the national average due to declining rebuild activity.


Christchurch. Photo: 123RF

New figures from Christchurch-NZ's quartely June 2019 economic update painted a dire picture for the city's economy, as it transitioned out of the rebuild period.

The city's real GDP grew by 1.2 percent in the year to June, compared to a national growth rate of 2.5 percent.

This sustained 0.8 percent points difference in growth between Christchurch and national economies reflects the impact of declining rebuild activity.

The report mentioned a need to attract more business, activity and people to the region and grow productivity, essential to replace construction activity.

Visitors had been spending more in the central city. Central city retail growth, particularly from spenders from outside the city, suggested Christchurch's central city was an attractive proposition.

The unemployment rate sat at 3.8 percent for June 2019. This rate remains low and is below the national average, which the report suggested our underlying economy is robust.

Meanwhile, housing affordability remains strong for Canterbury households and below the national average.

Investor confidence for office and retail property remained low, with high supply and tenant churn in the CBD. There was a risk that further regeneration of the central city could slow and potentially stall in the short term.

However, global uncertainty posed a risk to the local and national economies in coming months.