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Building activity bounces back to pre-Covid levels


The volume of building activity bounced back to normal levels in the September 2020 quarter, following the significant drop in the Covid-hit June 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

Volume measures of building work put in place exclude the effects of increasing construction costs to show underlying changes in the volume of work.

“Overall building activity was at pre-Covid levels in the September 2020 quarter, with residential work up 4.2 percent on the same period in 2019,” construction statistics manager Michael Heslop said.

“This quarter’s residential building volume is the highest estimate since the series began in 1989, but is still provisional due to Covid-related measurement challenges.”

After accounting for higher construction costs, estimated total building activity fell 0.6 percent in the September 2020 quarter compared with the September 2019 quarter. While the volume of work on residential buildings rose 4.2 percent, work on non-residential buildings fell 7.2 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

“Estimated non-residential building work fell 7.2 percent in the latest quarter, compared with the  series high a year ago in the September 2019 quarter. Non-residential building activity can fluctuate from quarter to quarter, partly reflecting large commercial projects starting, ending, and, in some cases, pausing during construction,” Mr Heslop said.

Building activity down compared with September 2019 year

In the year ended September 2020, the overall volume of building activity was 7.2 percent lower than in the September 2019 year. Residential building activity was down 5.4 percent, and non-residential down 9.6 percent over the same period.