Infometrics predicts the next decade's economic 'hotspots'

Central Otago is the most promising provincial region, and its prospects over the long-term look upbeat.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Central Otago is the most promising provincial region, and its prospects over the long-term look upbeat.

The country's economy is coming in hot on high population growth but some regions are tipped to get hotter still over the next decade, and it is not just in and around Auckland.

In fact Central Otago, as well as parts of Whangarei, New Plymouth and Palmerston North, are all part of the country's regional "hotspot" picture, a report from economics firm Infometrics has found.

The report, released Thursday, looked to pinpoint key growth areas for the country over the next five to 10 years.

Central Auckland's population growth is running well ahead of projections.
MICHAEL BRADLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Central Auckland's population growth is running well ahead of projections.

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said the entire country felt like an economic "hotspot" this year as the population grew at its fastest rate since the mid-1970s.

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Auckland's housing market boom was an obvious consequence of this, and had clearly had an impact on the "halo" regions around it.

Hobsonville is set to "really take off" over the next five years, Infometrics says.
SUPPLIED

Hobsonville is set to "really take off" over the next five years, Infometrics says.

But a growing population had wider implications than just adding heat to the property market, Kiernan said.

"One of the most significant effects of an increasing population is the relative ease it provides businesses for increasing their revenue or sales volumes.

"Growth areas can sustain more businesses and bigger firms, even if the average spending by each individual is not increasing."

Housing affordability issues in Auckland are having spill-over effects for surrounding areas, and Whangarei, ...
STEPHEN RUSSEL/FAIRFAX NZ

Housing affordability issues in Auckland are having spill-over effects for surrounding areas, and Whangarei, particularly Marsden Point, will likely experience population growth.

The report pinpointed four urban hotspots in Auckland, North Hamilton, Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty, central Wellington and two areas in Christchurch.

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But it also looked at a few provincial regions set for growth, which included Central Otago, Marsden Point and Ruakaka in Whangarei, Bell Block in New Plymouth and Kelvin Grove in Palmerston North.

Central Otago, and particularly Queenstown, Wanaka, and Cromwell, had had economic activity rekindled by the massive growth in the country's tourism industry.

Infometrics says Palmerston North's Kelvin Grove is transforming from a semi-rural lifestyle area to residential.
JONATHAN CAMERON

Infometrics says Palmerston North's Kelvin Grove is transforming from a semi-rural lifestyle area to residential.

Kiernan said these hotspots were chosen because they were areas which would face rapid, rather than just run-of-the-mill, population growth over the next decade.

Hobsonville in Auckland, for instance, was set to record the country's fastest population growth, increasing by more than 250 per cent by 2023.

"Growth of this magnitude doesn't just require new houses to be built, but also needs to be accompanied by appropriate physical and social infrastructure, the integration of business areas and employment opportunities, and the provision of new retail service centres."

Infometrics says Palmerston North's Kelvin Grove is transforming from a semi-rural lifestyle area to residential.
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Infometrics says Palmerston North's Kelvin Grove is transforming from a semi-rural lifestyle area to residential.

Kiernan said limiting Auckland to just four hotspots was a little unfair when the region was "creaking under the weight" of population growth and undersupply of housing.

These areas included north from Orewa to Albany, Beachlands to Drury in the south-east, Hobsonville and the central city.

"The four areas we have chosen for Auckland look set to be standouts for the region, even if affordability issues and stresses around infrastructure provision do end up constraining the wider region's ability to grow over the medium term."

 - Stuff

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