Business confidence is taking a leap forward, hitting its highest level in 16 months, according to a Bank of New Zealand survey.
The survey showed a net 38 per cent were positive about the state of the economy in a year from now, compared with a net 20 per cent a month ago.
The result was the highest since July last year and BNZ said the result was likely to be repeated in other confidence surveys due out later this month. The survey results have see-sawed sharply in the past couple of years, but have only briefly dipped into negative territory twice in the past year.
BNZ said the responses from businesses showed a continued shortage of house listings was dominating the real estate sector, with more talk of rising prices. One Auckland agent said a Freeman's Bay complex has seen apartment prices rise about $200,000 in the past two years, to more than $700,000.
There are signs of activity starting to pick up in Christchurch and many respondents to the survey were expecting increased business because of the city's rebuilding work after the big earthquake.
Manufacturing showed a mixed picture with one industrial electronics firm saying it was the most depressed state they'd seen in 30 years. But a metal products maker said they had their best month in 26 years, in part due to two special projects.