Building work increased by its biggest margin in 10 years in the March quarter, data from Statistics NZ shows.
Residential construction activity increased 12% in the quarter.
Industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said: “Activity in the residential building sector has been steadily rising, and by March 2013 we had the fourth consecutive quarter of growth. Looking long-term, residential building activity has been trending up since September 2011, and is now at a level last seen in late 2008. The trend for overall building activity is also close to the level of the September 2008 quarter, after recovering from the low point of 18 months ago.”
Figures last week showed 17,922 new dwellings have been issued building consents in the 12 months ended April 31, worth $6.66 billion. That's 21 per cent more consents issued than a year earlier, at a 26 per cent greater value.
Westpac economist Nathan Penny said the building work results were stronger than expected.
“The nationwide level of building activity is about half way to the peak of the last cycle. We will be watching for signs of capacity constraints emerging as activity accelerates over the next couple of years."