As expected, the Horowhenua economy contracted slightly over the past year, with Infometrics provisional GDP estimates showing a decline of 0.5% in the year to June 2020, faring better than many parts of the country with a national decline of 2.1%.
Source: Infometrics Horowhenua District Quarterly Economic Monitor 2020-06
The district’s economy was growing steadily up until March, so this quarter’s negative result is due to a weak June quarter, during and immediately following the nationwide lockdown. Horowhenua’s robust primary sector is help protecting it from some of the negative economic consequences of the pandemic.
This insulation is reinforced by the slower growth of Jobseeker Support recipients. The number of recipients in Horowhenua increased by 12.2% over the year to June 2020 compared with 19.0% nationwide.
The Infometrics Local Economic Insights Dashboard shows that in the month of June 2020, there were 1,854 Jobseeker Support recipients and 45 COVID-19 Income Relief Payment recipients in the district.
Consumer spending has been relatively resilient in Horowhenua, up by 0.1% over the year to June 2020, compared to a national decline of 2.8%. Horowhenua has benefitted from Wellington commuters spending more time working from home and spending more locally.
The number of residential building consents issued in Horowhenua eased by 7.4% over the year to June 2020, although this fall disguises a particularly strong June 2020 quarter. Non-residential building consents are running at a level nearly double the 10-year average, sitting just over $23million.
After a sharp reduction in house sales during lockdown, activity in the housing market is bouncing back. House values in Horowhenua have grown strongly over the past year, up by 17% for the year to June 2020, to reach an average price of $421,000.
Infometrics estimates that the dairy pay-out to Horowhenua’s farmers will reach $128m in the 2019/20 season, an increase of $17m compared to the previous season.
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