Whangarei District Quarterly economic monitor - September 2018

Overview

Indicator Whangarei District Northland Region New Zealand
Annual average % change
Gross domestic product
2.9%
3.2%
2.9%
Traffic flow
1.7%
4.1%
3.9%
Residential consents
-14%
-13%
5.4%
Non-residential consents
22%
57%
4.9%
House prices*
12%
5.0%
8.4%
House sales
-5.5%
-8.4%
-0.6%
Guest nights
5.3%
2.2%
2.7%
Retail trade
5.0%
6.5%
4.8%
Car registrations
2.2%
0.6%
-1.7%
Commercial vehicle registrations
2.5%
0.9%
2.3%
Jobseeker Support recipients
-0.6%
0.09%
2.2%
Tourism expenditure
1.7%
2.7%
8.2%
Level
Unemployment rate
5.7%
5.6%
4.3%
International net migration
390
650
62,735
* Annual percentage change (latest quarter compared to a year earlier)

Overview of Whangarei District

Whāngārei’s economy grew by around 2.9%pa in the 12 months to September 2018, based on our latest provisional estimates. This growth matched the NZ total growth rate and was above the 2.6%pa estimated in the 12 months to June 2018. However, wider Northland Region growth was faster still, at 3.2%pa.

A strong labour market has pushed unemployment even lower, falling to a nine-year low of 5.7%. Whāngārei’s unemployment rate has fallen at a faster rate than the national average, closing the gap with the annual average NZ rate over the last year of 4.3%. The strong employment opportunities in Whāngārei have also seen Jobseeker support recipients drop 0.6%pa since last September, even though the September 2018 total is slightly higher than the average in previous quarters.

Retail spending growth remains above the national average, but only just. Marketview data shows spending grew 5.0%pa over the last year, above the 4.8%pa growth recorded for NZ. However, Whāngārei’s retail spending growth has been slowing over 2018, which will be a trend to watch closely in the December quarter.

The building and property sector were the only negatives for Whāngārei this quarter, mirroring wider Northland changes. Residential dwelling consents fell 14%pa across the last year, a slightly faster drop than the Northland average drop of 13%pa, even as NZ consents grew 5.4%pa. House sales slipped back 5.5%pa over the year, slightly slower than the Northland average fall of 8.4%pa, but faster than the NZ drop of 0.6%pa.

Tourism in Whāngārei remains healthy, with guest nights rising 5.3%pa over the last 12 months, double the New Zealand average of 2.7%pa. Although tourist spending has also risen, it hasn’t matched the rise in visitors. Tourism expenditure rose 1.7%pa over the last 12 months, lower than the Northland (2.7%pa) and NZ (8.2%pa) average.

Overview of national economy

We’ve revised up our forecasts of economic growth. It’s not a big change – our growth projection for the year to June 2019 has lifted from 2.7% to 2.9%. But it’s an upward revision and so is at odds with the air of despair being generated by negative business and consumer confidence surveys. Better economic growth in the near term is largely about government spending. Aside from government spending, the other major upward revision is the export outlook. Export prices are at their highest level since 2014 in NZ dollar terms.