The nine new homes authorised to be built in Wanganui last November did not thwart a continuing decline in home building.
Figures released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand showed building consents continued to fall in November last year, with a 15 per cent drop in new dwellings authorised nationally, in comparison to November 2009.
And Wanganui’s building industry has been no exception to this decline, said Wanganui Registered Master Builders’ Association president Bruce Morris.
Mr Morris, who also operates Morris & Son Builders, does not expect an improvement in the local industry until the middle of this year.
“I think Wanganui acts as its own micro-economy,” he said. “It was a bit slower heading into the downturn, and I think it’s going to be a bit slower getting out.”
But there are indications that summer has brought a mini-boom for some of the country’s tradespeople.
Builderscrack.co.nz, a website where homeowners get quotes from tradespeople located all over New Zealand, reported the number of jobs posted on their site in the first week of January was up 50 per cent on last year.
The site’s co-director Keith Roberts said: “Some of these jobs, like reroofing, you can’t postpone forever, and I think the quiet real estate market is encouraging people to renovate and stay put,” he said.
The strongest growth areas for the site were Wellington, Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga and Christchurch.
Registered Master Builders’ Federation chief executive Warwick Quinn said that while additions and alterations had held up throughout the recent downturn, the signs were encouraging. “Perhaps builders who are quieter during this period have been taking on smaller jobs to keep busy,” he said. “But I’m also hopeful it’s a sign of things to come.”