The central North Island region is bucking the national trend by remaining "steadfastly buoyant" about the local economy, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens says.
The Westpac-McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey for the September quarter shows a net 18 per cent of households in the Whanganui, Manawatū and Taranaki region expect their local economy to strengthen over the coming year. This is up on the 11 per cent recorded for the June quarter.
"The central North Island remains steadfastly buoyant even as confidence in other regions tanks," Stephens said.
"This is possibly to do with strongly rising house prices, especially in the Manawatū and Whanganui regions."
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The Westpac-McDermott Miller survey also asks respondents how they view their own financial situation, their current willingness to buy a major household item and the outlook for the national economy. The Westpac-McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index for the Taranaki, Manawatū and Whanganui region edged up from 103 in June to 104 in the September quarter.
"While households in the Taranaki/Manawatū-Whanganui region are feeling more pessimistic about the economic outlook for the country, they are slightly more optimistic about their own financial prospects over the next 12 months," Stephens said.
"They are also feeling a lot more optimistic about the long term prospects for the New Zealand economy and this may be one of the reasons why most still think that now
is a good time to purchase a major household item."