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The value of new residential building work and some types of commercial construction, is starting to decline

Property / news
The value of new residential building work and some types of commercial construction, is starting to decline
Building site

The total value of building work commenced in the September quarter (Q3) of this year was almost unchanged from the 2022 September quarter.

The latest survey of building activity by Statistics NZ shows $9.293 billion of building work was commenced in Q3, up just 0.1% from Q3 2022.

The latest figures follow seven consecutive quarters of double digit percentage growth when compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

However the figures only measure the value of the work being undertaken and make no allowance for the effect of inflation.

If inflation was factored in, it would be likely that the volume of work being undertaken would be showing a significant decline compared to a year ago.

And some sectors of the construction industry are already showing declines in the value of work being undertaken.

The value of new dwelling starts declined by 4.5% in Q3 compared to Q3 2022, but an 11.5% increase in residential alteration work meant the value of all residential work was down just 2.5% comparted to a year ago.

The total value of non-residential building work, which includes commercial buildings such as shops and offices and non-commercial buildings such as hospitals and schools, was also still in the black, with $3.161 billion of work commenced in Q3, up 5.6% compared to Q3 last year.

However some types of buildings are already showing signs of a slowdown in the value of new starts compared to a year ago, such as hotels/motels -3.9%, retail premises -3.9%, warehouses/storage buildings -6.2%, factories and other industrial buildings -3.8% and farm buildings -12.6%.

There are also significant regional variations in the figures with the value of all new buildings commenced in Auckland in Q3 up 5.6% compared to a year ago, while Waikato showed a 1.2% increase, Wellington was down 17.2% and Canterbury was up 0.6%.

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Was informed by a client yesterday that concrete pour for their business in November was 15% of previous year. 

Look out.


Big lag there.

even while dwelling consents have slumped, dwelling construction has been very strong in 2023. Remember, most dwellings being built / completed this year were consented in 2022 or 2021. 
2024 is when it gets really interesting.


My two anecdotal tradie sources both report similar stories. Subbie work drying up quickly & that they could only see out 3-6 months rather than the 6-12 months earlier this year.


Been in the trade for over 40 years non stop work in the domestic market. 

No builders. Architects . Developers. 

It's simple.


From what I'm seeing the only segment about to hit a quiet 2024 is the house building companies (so the likes of Jennian and GJ Gardiner). Independent house builders full through most of 24 already, also commercial and other non new residential builders.


Subbies that thought they were a 'gift' to society and deserved to be paid a King's ransom to lift their weary heads from their pillows are fighting to pay the instalments on the Raptor's purchased in the lunch break.

Merchants have to be squeezed next.  Surely they are going to have to trim back their reward programmes and start charging honestly for materials.

About time rates pulled back.



Good luck there mate.

About the only thing that'll be scaled down is the type and nature of the projects people can afford to get commissioned.

Also a proper tradie won't own a Raptor - 30% less towing capacity.

If you think they're overpaid maybe pick up a shovel. Fairly imbalanced labour force out there.


Good tradies deserve to get paid well. Its honest work that actually results in tangible results. 

Costs have flattened out. Less spec or building for 30% more $$$ than 3 or 4 years ago. If you're rich the alterations or personal developments not an issue. If you're normal folk buying or doing alterations, tough titty, the tide has risen and you didn't float. 

Construction is a rich(er) persons game now and NZ will be poorer for it.