Canterbury economy 'hot' - bank
Canterbury has climbed further up the regional economic performance rankings, with the rebuild from earthquake damage sparking the local economy back to life, according to a new survey.
Canterbury's resurgence continues with the region moving into second place among 16 regions to match activity in Auckland.
Both regions received four stars in the rankings provided by the latest ASB/Main Report regional economic survey.
Five stars equates to ''hot'' on the scoreboard, and one to ''not''.
The scoreboard shows Christchurch and Auckland as the fastest-growing regions, and that the South Island was probably ahead of the North in terms of the ratings.
The report as a whole showed employment was surprisingly weak over the second half of 2012, although growing employment demand in Canterbury was starting to emerge.
Housing market activity continued to surge in the fourth quarter, with supply constraints driving up prices.
Auckland and Christchurch led the increases, but with evidence price gains were spreading to other regions.
Retail sales surged in the fourth quarter after a slight decline in the third quarter.
Signs were emerging of more rapid expansion of construction activity in Canterbury.
''With rebuilding activity sparking local activity back into life, a declining population over the two years since the earthquakes is the one weak spot,'' the scoreboard said.The lack of housing in the region continued to restrict sales numbers and was pushing house prices up quite rapidly.
However, this would likely ease over the next year or two as more of newly built homes came on line.
With signs emerging of increased rebuilding activity in Christchurch, retail sales and employment both improved quite strongly compared with most other regions in the second half of 2012.
Statistics New Zealand was reporting strong growth in hardware and building supplies sales. ''And with a growing population of tradies, beer sales probably aren't doing too badly either.
''Nelson performing slightly ahead of neighbouring Tasman in terms of the rankings although both were impacted by a weaker employment environment in 2012 as were the Marlborough and West Coast regions.
Otago climbed to third place in the rankings, buoyed by very strong retail sales data.
House price growth in the region has also outstripped all but Auckland and Canterbury.
Southland slipped towards the bottom of the rankings and the fourth quarter produced an apparent slowdown in the region.
Employment was also soft in the most southern region.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should the city council sell off some assets to pay for the rebuild?Related story: Sell non-core assets, Tim Carter says