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ASB ‘Scoreboard’ win streak is over

Gisborne the nation's third fastest-growing economy.

Gisborne's regional economy remains in good stead relative to the rest of New Zealand, a new report shows.

ASB Bank's latest Regional Economic Scoreboard rates Gisborne the nation's third fastest-growing economy — just behind Manawatu-Whanganui and Hawke's Bay, which are joint first.

“Having topped the Scoreboard for four consecutive quarters, Gisborne's winning streak has come to an end although the region remains in a comparatively good position nationally,” ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said.

“Gisborne once again topped the country for annual house price growth and was also in the top tier of regions in terms of annual employment, building consents and retail sales growth (although the region tightened its purse strings like everyone else).

“With new car sales cratering nationwide, East Coasters were relative petrolheads, with registrations (down 11.5 percent) falling far less than elsewhere off the back of more resilient consumer confidence.

“We'll be paying close attention to the sectors Gisborne is exposed to for signs of whether it can regain that top spot.

“We've highlighted the Chinese rebound as a source of support and, sure enough, we saw a lift in forestry prices over August.”

The 21 percent house prices hike here was by far the nation's biggest and Bayley's Gisborne franchise owner Simon Bousfield said the market was still “very active”. One house last week sold after being listed for just nine hours.

“Buyers have confidence to invest, with a number of these coming from out of town (both ex-pats and investors), and also a very large local buyer market,” Mr Bousfield said.

“Of the 11 properties at our recent auction day, 10 have sold at extremely good levels — some properties having up to 10 buyers competing in the auction room.”

The NZ Regional Economic Scoreboard ranks the nation's 16 regional council areas on a range of measures, including employment, construction, retail and house prices.

The report shows retail sales fell 10.1 percent to $129m for the quarter but the construction industry was up 16 percent, pumping $30m into the regional economy.

Gisborne Chamber of Commerce president Paul Naske said people should not read too much into the region's drop to third place.

“We are still very much in a strong growth position relative to other regions and remain close to the top of the list.

“This report mirrors conversations within the business community about the relative strength and optimism for the future.”