The top of the South Island is New Zealandís best performing economic region at present, according to ASB/Main Reportís latest regional economic scoreboard.
The Tasman region takes out the top spot and Nelson is second, according to the scoreboard which ranks the economic performance of New Zealandís 16 regional council areas on a quarterly basis, based on measures such as employment, construction, retail trade and house prices.
Both the Tasman and Nelson regions are benefitting from above-average population growth which has increased seven percent over the past year as a result of the relocation of earthquake-affected Cantabrians. This has provided a boost to employment and retail spending. There has also been much stronger housing market activity in the Tasman region. The report says the rebound in consumer confidence in the top of the South Island to be the highest in New Zealand, along with Wellington, reflects the bright prospects for the region.
Also doing well is neighbouring West Coast which has rebounded from close to the bottom of the rankings to third place in the latest scoreboard. The revival is partly due to healthy growth in retail spending over the past year, likely reflecting increased visitor numbers, says the report. Strong employment growth has also boosted its household sector.
Sharing fourth place are Canterbury and Auckland. The report says there have been encouraging signs of recovery in Canterbury, with employment rebounding sharply in the first quarter of 2012, although it remains below year-ago levels. Given the extensive earthquake damage to houses, supply constraints have emerged which has underpinned relatively strong house price growth in Canterbury. Another positive development has been the recent improvement in dwelling consents, indicating the region is on track for the rebuilding process to gather momentum later this year.
The decline in non-residential construction over the past year is weighing on activity in the Auckland region, says the report. However, activity is still reasonably healthy and the outlook for the region still looks highly favourable.
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