Steady growth, record low unemployment for Timaru economy

Timaru District has recorded steady economic growth in the year to June, along with buoyant house sales and an increase in house values.

The latest economic figures have been released for Aoraki Development for the June quarter by analysts Infometrics, showing overall continued growth in the economy of 1.8 per cent, slightly up on the previous period.  House sales are up by 8.2 per cent, with house values ahead of national growth on 3.1 per cent.

Aoraki Development chief executive Nigel Davenport said the figures show confidence in the Timaru District economy, despite a big drop in the expected earnings of the dairy sector in the region.

“The report shows dairy farmers are expecting to earn $11million less from the season, with a tally of $351 million.  But our economists are expecting the farmgate prices ahead will be the same, if not higher than the last season, which we hope will give farmers confidence to invest,” he said.

“We’re tracking even lower with our unemployment, as it’s dropped to a new record low of 2.1 per cent – at the same time last year it was 2.7 percent,” said Davenport. “This highlights even further how challenging it is for our employers to get skilled staff and therefore the importance of the campaigns Aoraki Development is working on to attract newcomers to the region and to position Timaru as a desired location to live and work.”

The economic report shows an increase in the average current house value in Timaru District to $365,818, compared to a national figure of $686,691.  Figures for Auckland show the average house price for the same period to June is just over $1 million.

“We’re continuing to focus on affordable housing and better work-life balance as the key attractions for people to move to Timaru and these comparable figures will certainly help back that up,” said Davenport.

Aoraki Development currently has a billboard promoting the area in downtown Auckland and later this year will begin another push with social media videos and other focussed advertising in various publications.

“It’s also interesting to note that while Timaru District isn’t seen as a major tourism destination, we continue to record a steady increase in tourism spending in the district.  Currently it’s bringing in approximately $228 million into the district, up 4.1 percent.  It’s an area to keep a watch for the future.”