Building activity updateUS building activity
Building approvals in the US are, for the third month in row, trending upward. Approvals for March are up 4.5% on the month before and 30% year-on-year. March figures are the highest they have been since 2008 before the Global Financial Crisis. Approvals in the US have been trending upward since early 2011, following a small double dip in housing figures out of the US.
Starts on new houses in the US were down in March on the previous month, 5.8%. This is the second consecutive month now that start figures were lower. However, the March figure was up 10.3% year-on-year, and the highest March figure since 2008.
The US housing market is a little slower to recover from a bumpy bottom than many would like. With cheap existing housing available right now and record low interest rates to new home buyers many are feeling pressure to step onto the property ladder.
Australian building activity
Australian new dwelling approvals continue their downward trend that they have been on since early 2010. Despite a small lift in approvals in late 2009 after the 2008 dip when the Global Financial Crisis hit Australian building markets have been in a steady decline. As in every other market where we monitor building activity there is clear picture that shows a double dip recession having occurred in late 2008 and in 2010/2011.
Here in New Zealand most market watchers have seen the Christchurch earthquake as a reason for slow building activity in early 2011, however this trend exists in the US and Australia also. Australia seems to be the last of the markets we monitor to climb out of the latest slowdown in activity.
New Zealand building activity
The New Zealand’s building industry remains very weak despite the market price for properties in some key regions lifting. There was a very small gain in new residential and non-residential figures for February, this was of course helped by a dip in December and January months that have fewer working weeks for consents to be lodged and or processed.
A significant number of units were part of this number, mainly retirement villages that boost numbers. Floor area consents for residential dwellings were up in February on the previous month, as were non-residential consents. The combined figure for floor area was also up year-on-year. This was however the second lowest February figure in the past five years, second only to the 2011 February figure.
Source: NZX Agrifax at www.nzxagri.com/agrifax
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