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Christchurch building consents top $1 billion in first half

BUSINESSDESK: The value of building consents approved in Canterbury reached $1 billion quickly approaching the $1.2 billion consented for all of last year, Statistics New Zealand says.

Some $404 million was for non-residential building work and rest was for home building.

"Residential building consents have seen some large rises in the number of new dwellings authorised in Canterbury in the most recent months," the government department says.

"These rises have mainly been in the districts adjacent to Christchurch city (Waimakariri and Selwyn)."

Rebuild activity is largely funded by insurance claims. New Zealand insurance companies have made a total $15.7 billion of claims on overseas reinsurers for all the Canterbury earthquakes, Statistics NZ says.

At the end of March about a quarter of these claims had been settled with overseas reinsurers and some $11.9 billion worth of claims remained outstanding.

The construction sector is one of the few industries set to benefit from Christchurch's earthquake distribution, with the accommodation, food and retail sectors yet to recover.

Hotel capacity remains down by about 50%, with many located in the central business district.

Retail trade fell to a lesser extent post-earthquakes and has been able to quickly recover, surpassing pre-earthquake levels.