Chch rebuild 'seven years' - Westpac

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 12:20 16/08/2012

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The repair and rebuild of Canterbury homes is likely to take seven years, a Westpac report says.

But when the rebuild finally gathers momentum it will be almost twice as big as the construction boom of 2004-05, the bank estimates.

The bank released a report today on how the reconstruction of Christchurch is tracking, and it is largely a positive picture of a city bouncing back.

Westpac said it was difficult to assess the reconstruction because the data had to be gathered ''far and wide''.

The total repair and rebuild is about $20 billion, and Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the largest chunk of that cost was about $13b for residential homes.

While the official estimates are that homes will be repaired or rebuilt within five years, Westpac is preparing its forecasts on the conservative assumption of a seven-year residential rebuild.

The rebuild of commercial buildings, including the central city, will probably cost about $4b and will happen over at least 10 years.

The peak in residential repairs and rebuilding was likely to start late next year and continue through 2014 before slowly declining through 2015 and 2016.

The Canterbury economy shrank markedly in 2011 after the February and June earthquakes.

However, Westpac said Canterbury's economy was now the fastest growing in New Zealand, although it was bouncing off a low base.

Stephens said electronic card transactions were a good indicator of how a regional economy was going and they showed Canterbury spending was back to where it was pre-quakes.

Another good indicator that Westpac had gathered was on notices of work on public roads showing a sharp increase since the beginning of the year.

Westpac said migration data suggested more people were now coming to the region than leaving it.

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- The Press

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