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NZ construction activity seen rebounding after slump

New Zealand construction activity is rebounding from a slump during the recession as private sector work picks ups, according to a property consultancy.

"Building construction activity is recovering strongly," Rider Levett Bucknall said in its 2015 first quarter report on trends in property and construction. "After a deep slump during the recession, activity has rebounded strongly and has surpassed the pre-recession peak."

Public sector construction on health and education projects has remained resilient, providing a buffer during the recession, and now private sector projects for offices, shops, industrial and storage buildings are recovering, the report said. Investment intentions and building consents suggest construction activity will improve further through 2015, it said.

Non-residential construction has been driven by the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Canterbury and increased demand from an expanding Auckland, and further aided by earthquake strengthening. In Christchurch, the focus is shifting to the CBD as residential repair work nears completion, while in Auckland strong demand is emerging for new buildings as the city's buoyant economy has soaked up vacant space, the report said.

Demand for industrial properties is supported by strong growth in the logistics sector, underpinned by increased imports as domestic manufacturing wanes, it said.

Still, farm building construction may slow as a slump in dairy incomes crimps farmer spending, the report said.