Tag Archives: Construction

Canterbury construction at record levels

Construction ChristchurchLiz McDonald at The Press reports:

Construction in Canterbury is at record levels with the peak yet to come.

Nearly $4 billion worth of construction work was done in the region last year – a record high and 38 per cent more than in 2013.
The Statistics New Zealand figures include more than $2.5b worth of home building, up from $1.6b the previous year.

Anthony Leighs, head of Christchurch’s Leighs Construction and chairman of the New Zealand Master Builders Federation, said the industry was “very, very busy” and would remain so until at least 2016.

“We haven’t peaked yet. I think that will happen towards the end of this year and into the next year, when some really significant projects will be ramping up.”

The last three months of 2014 were the busiest on record for construction in Canterbury. The region is the second-busiest for building work in New Zealand, behind Auckland.

And it’s certainly noticeable! Almost everyday, I’m seeing new houses being built, new buildings in the central city, roads repaired and infrastructure being laid. While momentarily disruptive, there’s solace in the fact that soon our surrounds will be much improved.

Statistics New Zealand said Canterbury’s construction spend had been rising steadily since the earthquakes, and was almost two-and-a-half times what it was before the start of the quakes in 2010. The rate of increase now appeared to be flattening, it said.

A total of 7300 new homes and 5200 alterations got consent. Ninety eight per cent of house building approved was private.

Major Canterbury building projects under way include $650m of work at Burwood and Christchurch hospitals, the central Christchurch bus interchange and emergency services and justice precinct, and school and university builds. Yet to start are the convention centre, performing arts precinct, metro sports facility and central library, and a new school for the north-east suburbs.

Nationally, more than $15 billion worth of building work was carried out in 2014, up almost a quarter from 2013. Together, Auckland and Canterbury accounted for $9.7b of this.

With all that our city has been through over the past few years, it’s definitely exciting to see that things are on the up.

Reserve Bank exempts new builds from LVR restrictions

House ConstructionIn what some may consider an about-face, the Reserve Bank has announced that it will be exempting new builds from its new lending restrictions. The Press reports:

New builds will be exempted from new lending restrictions, the Reserve Bank has announced.

It comes after the building industry raised concerns the lending restrictions would affect the number of new houses being built, affecting Government efforts to increase the supply of new homes to help curb house price inflation.

The Registered Master Builders Federation had claimed the central bank policy could jeopardise the construction of up to 5000 new homes a year and they were seeing an increased number of planned new builds cancelled as a result.

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said they had decided on the exemption following consultation with the industry.

“While high LVR construction lending is only around 1 per cent of total residential lending, it finances around 12 per cent of residential building activity.

“This exemption will help to support the supply of new housing and, in doing so, reduce some of the pressure arising from excess demand in the New Zealand housing market,” he said.

It did seem that an exemption for new builds would be inevitable. Further, it is a good move for housing affordability. The exemption now creates an incentive for first-home buyers who are short of a 20 per cent deposit to embark upon a new build, which will in turn create an increase in housing supply.

A recent report entitled, Priced Out: How New Zealand Lost its Housing Affordability by the New Zealand Initiative notes that despite a richer and larger population, our country’s rates of building since the 1980s have not reached the levels of the 1960s and 70s. As a result, our new house building is lagging with a shortfall of at least 10,000 new houses annually – a shortfall that is continuing to grow. Here’s hoping that this exemption will go some way in mitigating that shortfall – but we still have a long way to go yet!

Exciting new residential opportunities for Christchurch

The proposed Highfield Park Subdivision

The proposed Highfield Park Subdivision
(Source: Stuff.co.nz)

With the onset of two substantial residential developments in the north and north-east of the city – Highfield Park and Prestons – I think as locals we can look forward to the exciting opportunities and the momentum this unprecedented growth will bring with it. It is the obvious space for the city to expand its borders and with the lifestyle Mecca that the east provides, prospective purchasers will need little further enticement. I may have to get used to sharing my mountain bike tracks and the open space that Bottle Lake Forest and the shores of Waimari Beach provide though!

About Prestons:

Prestons is a dynamic new residential subdivision located in the north east of Christchurch, approximately 20 minutes drive from the city centre.

The development, designed to be a sustainable urban village, is 203-hectares in size and will become a residential precinct for over 2,500 houses and 8,000 residents.

About Highfield Park:

One of only a few new developments on the northern side of Christchurch City, the Highfield area will progressively release 2,200 home sites. Our sites will be sold with a focus on complete land and building packages, tailored to your budget.

See also Liz McDonald’s article in The Press: ‘High interest in giant subdivision’.

These are exciting times and it’s great to see growth virtually on our back door step!

New repair strategy comes to the fore

NEW TECHNOLOGY: A high-lift jack is tested on a Rolleston house.

Earlier this week I received this update from IAG (my insurer) and it caught my eye as to the new innovation for concrete floor slab replacement. Who would have thought we would have been working under homes a couple of years ago, let alone one that is on 2.7m on stilts?!

… the volume of earthquake repairs involving house lifting provided the right opportunity for local company, Smith Cranes and Construction, to innovate and improve on existing methods.

Smiths set about developing a high-lift hydraulic jack around 18 months ago, spending time developing and testing the new system to get it right at a cost of around half a million dollars. Last month IAG was the first insurer to use this exciting new system as part of repairing a customer’s home.

It makes for interesting reading and it really is quite remarkable what technology is out there to assist with progressing the rebuild of our homes. 



JUST LISTED: 3 Corsican Grove

Uninsured “As Is” Homes
Both these properties provide opportunity in their own way – 12A Woodgrove Ave is likely to be one of the cheaper homes we have sold and certainly the reserve price reinforces that! 3 Corsican Grove, our new listing for the week falls into the repairable category and now that we are able to source insurance from overseas this property is now even more viable! Check them out online at www.griff.net.nz.

Enjoy the great weather, however with having been a farmer, I do feel for them now in the grip of ‘the big dry’.

More Good News for TC3 Homeowners

Firth Industries national technical manager John Hambling demonstrates the new foundation system.
Photo: Kirk Hargreaves/The Press

Further to last week’s post on the way forward for TC3 property owners, Liz McDonald in The Weekend Press writes:

House foundations poured on top of the ground that can be re-leveled with the turn of a screw are the newest earthquake fix to appear in Christchurch.

The first foundation to use the new system – intended for rebuilds and repairs on technical category 3 (TC3) sites – has been poured in the suburb of Hoon Hay.

Jon Hambling, national technical manager for Firth Industries, said the system would suit 90 per cent of homes, could be built in a week, and meant a home could be re-leveled in just a few hours if quakes shifted the land.

Instead of piles it involves two poured reinforced concrete slabs, separated by about 25 individual raft jacks which can be adjusted by pulling back carpets. It can be used for both repairs and rebuilds.

I think it is great to see such fresh and creative thinking coming to the fore providing solutions for the future. It would be rather ironic, looking forward, if you were hosting a dinner party following an earthquake – one would be busy texting the guests notifying them that the party will be delayed by an hour while you are waiting for the house to be re-leveled! It all seems too easy really after what most of us have been through over the last two and half years of not living on the level.

Highest research into TC3
One thing about TC3 land is that it indisputably has had the most research done on it over the last two years and probably has more readily available info than any other type of land in the city. In fact I know of a purchaser who purchased a TC3 section for that reason. While he certainly didn’t pay a premium for the site it does make a lot of sense.

I like Gerry Brownlee’s comment, “TC3 is not the bogey some people were making it out to be, dealing with TC3 is not a terminal problem for anyone.” I guess we will be watching this space Gerry!


And more good news…
My last week’s auction was on TC3 land and the property sold under the hammer; so that goes to prove that both the buying public and lending institutions have confidence to progress such properties. What’s more is that the property did not have land damage and all the dwelling’s quake repairs had been completed. This is how it should be – normality restored for home and family!

On that positive note, enjoy your week and I trust you too are finding more normality as we move into the “rebuild” phase.

PS – Don’t forget to check out this property at 335 Estuary Road, one of my first “as is where is” sales for the year.

Government Land Moves Welcomed

From the New Zealand Herald:

The house-building sector has welcomed the Government’s moves to solve the housing affordability crisis, saying it could be a big boost to the multibillion-dollar industry.

Philip King, Fletcher Building’s investor relations manager, said freeing up land was the key.

“Any moves that will facilitate greater land availability for new housing construction, particularly in the Auckland region, are welcome,” King said.

The Government announced yesterday that it would put a six-month time limit on councils processing consents for medium-sized projects, including housing developments, as part of a range of measures to make homes affordable.

While it does appear that there is no ‘quick fix’ for housing affordability at least the government is tackling the issue and taking some positive steps in the right direction.

Personally, I think it will be interesting see how things pan out here in Canterbury with large quantities of sections coming on stream over coming months. It is predicted that around 20,000 sections will be freed into the local Canterbury market. Now that is a lot of land and literally new communities!

While it is difficult to predict the actual effect that this will have on both land and building costs I do question whether demand will actually be as high as what is expected. I guess the big question is just how many of the earthquake displaced have already purchased? From experience I have found a lot of the post quake purchasers have gone and bought existing homes once cashed up with their insures. I think the jury is still out on this one – will we see a building boom or will we have a glut of land, I guess time will tell?