Statistics NZ said that the volatile non-residential building work sector led the volume fall, decreasing a seasonally adjusted 7.2%, while residential building work decreased 0.8%.
"Building activity adjusted for price changes fell for the first time in two years, due to a decrease in commercial and other non-residential building work this quarter," said Jason Attewell, senior manager. "Building work has been at historically high levels since late 2015." The seasonally adjusted value of all building activity fell 2.2%, following a 3.0% rise in the December 2016 quarter. "When not adjusted for inflation, building activity fell for the first time in five years," he said.
Attewell added: “In Auckland, the value of non-residential building work decreased a seasonally adjusted 17%, following a 15% rise in the December 2016 quarter. We sometimes see bigger movements in non-residential activity because of volatile timing with large building projects. In Auckland, residential building work held up in the March 2017 quarter, including almost $1 billion worth of work on new homes. In fact, over half of all building work in Auckland is on new homes.”
The value trend for residential building work in Auckland has been growing for almost six years, while that for non-residential buildings has eased, after rising since mid-2015.
Nationally, the actual value of building work on new homes was NZ$2.7bn (£1.5bn) in the March 2017 quarter, making a total of NZ$3.3bn residential work including alterations and additions. There was also NZ$1.7bn work on commercial and other non-residential buildings.