Months, if not years ahead for Auckland's flood recovery - expert

It could be months, if not years before Auckland's damaged homes are completely rebuilt, one building expert says.

The sector was only just beginning to catch-up with demand, but the estimated millions of dollars of storm damage is swinging the pendulum back.

The final tally is yet to be confirmed, as officials and insurers are still assessing properties, but hundreds of homes have been damaged, many deemed unlivable.

NZ Certified Builders Association chief executive Malcolm Fleming said throughout Covid demand well outstripped capacity.

"It was going to start coming back into that's going to tip on its head again," he said. "There's still a lot of work that builders have right in front of them, right now, that are keeping them busy. So there's not a lot of additional capacity to jump off existing projects to start new projects or do remediation work."

New Zealand Institute of Building's Pamela Bell said Auckland's recovery is going to be a really challenging time for the building industry, local government and the insurance sector.

"I think the most efficient and effective way to coordinate a response is to really learn from what we have learned in the Canterbury earthquakes," she said. "How central and/or local government brings us together is going to be key."

Economic experts say the up-tick in demand could see building costs rise, adding to our economic woes.

Westpac's Satish Ranchhod said the expected building boom is, on the whole, bad for the economy.

"While we are going to see some stronger growth, as a result of post-flood construction, this is still a big negative for our economy. Reconstruction is going to be very expensive and a lot of families are going to be doing it tough for some time."

He said, in turn, the higher costs will keep inflation afloat.

"New Zealand housing costs are a big part of inflation in New Zealand, with these essential repairs now necessary, and already stretched capacity in the construction sector, that's likely to keep inflation at firm levels."


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