CPI – the consumers price index – rose 0.5% from the June quarter to September, and rose 1.9% for the year, pushed up by housing-related rises and held down by transport-related falls.
There was nothing unusual about the rise from one quarter to the next. Statistics NZ’s graph shows only one quarterly rise reaching 1% since June 2011, and 5 quarterly falls along the way. The March 2017 quarter was notable for a rise from the same quarter a year earlier exceeding 2% (it was 2.2%), falling back to 1.7% and then 1.9% in the 2 most recent quarters.
The index was last in bigger-than-2% territory in September 2011, with a 4.6% annual rise as New Zealand began to emerge from the depth of the global financial crisis. Since then, housing prices have skyrocketed, without great effect on the CPI.
In the latest quarter, however, Statistics NZ said:
- Rents rose 0.6% from June & 2.2% over a year
- The cost of construction of new homes, excluding land, rose 1.1% from June, 5.4% for the year
- Council rates rose 3.5% from June, 3.7% for the year, and
- Home insurance rose 6.1% from June, 12% for the year.
Auckland had the lowest annual increases in rent & construction costs since March 2015.
In Canterbury, rents fell 1.9% for the year, the fifth consecutive annual decrease in rents for the region. The 2.6% increase for the year for construction of new homes (excluding land) was the lowest annual increase since September 2010, before the Canterbury earthquakes.
In Wellington, construction costs rose 1.4% from June, 3.2% for the year, and rents rose 1.0% from June, 3.7% for the year. That was the largest annual increase in Wellington rents since December 2008.
Among other price shifts:
- Petrol fell 1.7% from June but rose 4.5% for the year
- International airfares fell 5.5% for the quarter, 2.7% for the year
- Vehicle relicensing fees fell 8% for the quarter & year
- Prices for second-hand cars fell 0.9% from June but rose 1.8% for the year
Statistics NZ said it would release the December quarter CPI a week later than usual because it’s implementing a review of the index. It carries out these reviews every 3 years to ensure the index remains relevant. The next quarterly index will be published on 25 January 2018, and a paper on the review will be released on 12 January.
Attribution: Statistics NZ release & tables.