The most recently available figures, based on card transactions, show retail spending in Lower Hutt during the December 2017 quarter jumped 14.4 per cent compared to the same 2016 quarter. This compares with 4.9 per cent growth in Wellington City and 3.6 per cent in Porirua for the same period.
Lower Hutt CBD retailers experienced 13.9 per cent revenue growth for the period pulling in $529 million for the calendar year. Petone retailers’ income was boosted 17.4 per cent with a total annual revenue of $375 million. The total retail spend in Lower Hutt for the year was $1.21 billion.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says retail is just one of several sets of indicators that show the city’s economy has firmed in recent years.
“So it’s encouraging to see a resilient and hard-working city in action and Council’s vision of the rejuvenation of our city being realised, but there’s still much to be done.”
Last financial year, an additional 126 businesses opened their doors in Lower Hutt bringing the total to 10,158. This number has steadily risen from 9627 in 2013, when Council first introduced economic development incentives.
Lower Hutt’s gross domestic product rose 1.4 per cent to $4.77 billion last financial year. This follows a decade of average annual growth of only 0.1 per cent in the wake of the global financial crisis.
After several decades of relatively flat population growth, Lower Hutt’s population in recent years has started to rise – an estimated 1.4 and 1.3 per cent for each of the last two financial years. This brings the number of residents to an estimated 104,700, compared to 101,000 in 2013. This may not seem like a dramatic movement but between the 2006 and 2013 censuses, the city’s population rose by only 0.55 per cent.
To house this growing population, the number of completed residential builds climbed from 232 in the 2016 financial year to 325 in 2017.
The value of building work for the 2017 calendar year was $264 million, up 21 per cent on the previous year. 2017 also saw a 10 per cent increase in building consents, and 2018 is looking to be a busy year with a number of significant projects in the pipeline.