13 Feb 2013

Domestic economy continues to pick up

8:15 am on 13 February 2013

Low mortgage rates are propping up the housing market, while cheaper imports due to the high New Zealand dollar are driving consumer spending.

Real Estate Institute figures show house sales jumped a fifth to nearly 5000 last month compared with January 2102, the biggest rise for the month in five years.

Electronic retail card spending picked up last month on an annual basis, growing nearly 6% to $4.6 billion.

But ANZ Bank senior economist Mark Smith, says subdued wage growth and high unemployment will cap growth, and rising house sales are being restrained by low inventory.

Mr Smith says the Reserve Bank is likely to keep interest rates on hold until March next year, and expects the next move will be up.