Residential construction activity has held up much better than expected since the economy went into lockdown in late March. Some areas have seen a strong burst of activity, but others have seen a softening in anticipated building levels. This article explores some of the emerging regional trends in consent numbers, with detailed regional forecasts of activity available as part of our Regional Construction Outlook.
Housing remains a hot issue across New Zealand. But there’s not as much focus on the quality of the housing we endlessly debate. In part, this lack of focus is because we haven’t had great insights to work with – and what gets measured gets managed. But Infometrics analysis of Census 2018 data shows some disturbing results, with a concerning number of mouldy, damp or cold houses.
Despite rebounding well from the initial lockdown and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, the New Zealand economy remains vulnerable, according to the latest projections from Infometrics. The company is forecasting a double-dip recession to hit during 2021, as delayed job losses punch a hole in consumer spending and drag economic activity lower.
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The government has a clear opportunity to address New Zealand’s shortage of social housing and support the residential construction industry by significantly increasing construction of state houses over the next two years, says economics consultancy Infometrics.
A commitment from the government to build an additional 9,400 state houses over the next two years would mitigate the construction sector’s downturn, helping to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of capacity that occurred following the Global Financial Crisis. It is also an opportunity for the government to make a real difference in housing outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable people, contributing to better wellbeing in a way that KiwiBuild was never going to do.
From a few concerns about the effects on Chinese tourism in late January to a full-blown pandemic and lockdown in New Zealand, the COVID-19 crisis has evolved rapidly over the last two months. We communicate just how quickly the economic ramifications have unfolded and examine how things might play out for the economy over the next 1-2 years.
Infometrics’ latest forecasts suggest there is little reason to be feeling more upbeat about New Zealand’s economic prospects, despite some improvement in confidence surveys over the last few months. The company expects growth to regain some momentum over the next year, but it believes nothing has changed to help the economy avoid mediocre results beyond 2021.
Housing looks set to continue dominating headlines in 2020, as house prices look to rally again and rent pressures grow. Who’s got property, who’s paying for property, and how many need property will all be key issues through the year as we build towards another election. But separate from that, the spotlight will keep shining on the housing market as New Zealand’s primary method of wealth creation. With so much money and interest wrapped up in property, here are some of the components to watch in 2020.
House prices rose almost 50% during the last decade over and above consumer price inflation. It would be brave to expect a repeat performance over the next 10 years, although we might have felt the same way looking at the market 10 years ago, after the 60% lift in real house prices during the 2000s.