Report shows economic growth on 'upward swing'

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 11:45 21/08/2014

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A collection of economic reports and resources has been posted online to aid Hamilton businesses and assist those with an interest in the city.

Hamilton City Council has set up the page on its website which collates economic reports and information relating to the city.

Council's business manager Chris Simpson yesterday provided the council's business and investment subcommittee with a "snapshot" of what appeared on the site.

Simpson said the webpage entitled "Economic Reports and Indicators" aimed to be user-friendly for businesses.

"So if they [businesses] are going to do presentations around the world they can actually use this, it's quality data," Simpson told the subcommittee.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said council staff previously tried to collate a "whole pile of data" themselves but decided it was not a productive use of staff time.

The council had since contracted Infometrics to collect the data.

One report available on the website entitled Quarterly Economic Monitor Hamilton City March 2014 showed the city's economy on the upward swing.

The report said Hamilton's economy grew by 3 per cent over the year to March, higher than national growth (2.5 per cent) and region-wide growth (1.8 per cent). The report writers said Hamilton's economy was orientated toward the service sector with the city acting as the key service hub to the wider Waikato.

"With agricultural output and returns having soared during recent quarters, willingness to spend and invest in the city has picked up," the report said.

Simpson said Hamilton's GDP was worth $7.07 billion and was a substantial contributor to New Zealand's economy.

During the year to March, residential and non-residential building consents grew strongly, up 18 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

Hamilton house prices increased by 4.9 per cent during the same period, with some of the lift attributed to home buyers looking for more affordable options outside the Auckland market.

"The thing to take out of this is it is affordable to live in Hamilton and that house prices aren't getting ahead of inflation and it's not getting ahead in the sense it's hard to buy a house in Hamilton," Simpson said.

"We're a very productive city and the liveability is just really good and people are starting to realise that."

Council's events and economic development general manager Sean Murray said he had recently talked with commercial real estate agents who indicated there was a lot of interest in the central city, especially from Auckland. "A lot of things are happening, even refurbishment activity, not just talk about new buildings, so I feel really confident," Murray said.

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Hardaker said it was positive the council was capturing economic information and making it available to businesses in an easy-to-use format.

The next step was to contact business associations and make them aware the information and resources were available on the council website.

aaron.leaman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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