Data released on 2 September by Statistics New Zealand shows that while the value of building work put in place for the 2016 June quarter is at record levels, the actual building activity is now nearly reaching 2004 peak levels.
The value of building work grew 5.5 percent in the June quarter, following 5.7 percent growth in the March 2016 quarter. The actual value of building work for the June 2016 quarter was $4.9 billion up 21 percent from the same quarter in 2015 and the highest since the series began in 1989.
Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says this should come as no surprise to anyone given the amount of recent media coverage and the Government’s initiatives to spur residential construction in Auckland to help address housing affordability concerns.
However, it can be misleading to look solely at the value of work in place as a single measure for building activity, says Quinn.
“While there is no disputing the value of work in place is at record levels and the construction market is booming, the actual number of residential buildings being consented is still some way off previous highs, particularly in Auckland.”
Quinn says when comparing the latest results to the June 2013 quarter, residential building activity has increased 45 percent but there has been a 74 percent increase in the value of work in place while the average cost of each residential housing unit, (new dwellings and apartments) has increased 20 per cent since 2013.
“The growth in apprentice numbers is more closely aligned to the level of actual building activity and not the value of that activity,” says Quinn.
“While New Zealand is at record levels in terms of the value of building work in place, training levels are similar to where they have traditionally been when compared to the number of builds. New Zealand is currently building around 29,000 new residential units per annum and BCITO has a similar number of carpentry apprentices when New Zealand had that number of new builds prior to the global financial crisis.
“Demand for apprentices in all areas of construction remains strong and looks to remain that way for some years to come,” says Quinn. “This was indicated in the National Construction Occupations Projections Report and the National Construction Pipeline Report, and we strongly recommend this as a career option for New Zealand’s interested in the industry.”
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