Median house prices rebounded strongly in March, although the REINZ's new House Price Index suggests prices could be declining in Auckland

There was a big lift in the volume of residential property sales and their median prices in March, with several regions including Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Canterbury/Otago setting new median price records, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

There were 8504 residential properties sold in March, up 35% compared to February but still down 11% compared to March last year.

The National median sales price hit a new record of $546,000, up 10% compared to February and up 10.3% compared to March last year.

New median price records were also set in Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki, Canterbury/Westland and Otago.

However much, of the upward movement in prices was likely due to a change in the composition of the properties being sold, with more higher priced properties selling and fewer lower value ones, which could move the median needle.

This month the REINZ has launched a new House Price Index (HPI) which has been designed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank and adjusts for monthly differences in the composition of the homes that are sold.

The HPI showed that nationally, prices in March were up 10% compared to March last year but unchanged from February.

In Auckland, the HPI was up 8.3% compared to March last year but down 0.3% compared to February.

The national figures with Auckland removed showed a gain of 13% compared to March last year, and a gain of 0.6% compared to February.

That suggests that prices in Auckland are flat or declining overall and starting to flatten out around the rest of the country.

The Index showed that prices are down in most parts of Auckland, with the biggest decline occurring Rodney, where the Index declined 1.7% in March compared to February, followed by the North Shore -0.4%, Central Auckland suburbs -0.4%, and Manukau -0.3%.

However the Index posted gains in Waitakere +0.4% (although it was down 0.4% in Waitakere compared to three months earlier), Papakura +1% and Franklin +3%.

The only other major centres where the Index declined in March compared to February were Rotorua -0.6% (-2.1% compared to three months earlier), Christchurch -1.6% and Queenstown -0.3% (-2.9% compared to three months earlier).

Nationally, the biggest gains in the HPI in March compared to February were in Franklin (Auckland's southernmost district) +3%, Napier +3%, Dunedin +2.5% and New Plymouth +2.2%.

"The REINZ HPI takes many aspects of market composition into account, and thus provides more accurate results," REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said in the REINZ's March report (se below).

"When applied to the March data, the HPI indicates that the lift in the median price was largely driven by changes in the underlying mix of dwellings sold in March compared to February.

"While the median price went up $51,000 across New Zealand, the HPI was stable month-on-month at 0% change, indicating more sales in higher price brackets than lower ones."

House price inflation has 'cooled substantially'

In a First Impressions newsletter on the REINZ figures,Westpac Acting Chief Economist Michael Gordon said the new HPI gave a clearer picture of the direction of prices.

"The new index confirms our sense that house price inflation has cooled substantially in recent months," he said.

"In particular, prices in Auckland have been effectively flat since August.

"Previous hotspots such as Hamilton and Tauranga have also slowed.

However prices are still rising at a moderate pace in many of the smaller regions."

Click on the link below to read the REINZ's full regional report for March, with details of its new Housing Price Index:

PDF iconREINZ Monthly Property Report including Regional Commentary- Showing March data 2017.pdf

Volumes sold - REINZ

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95 Comments

“Furthermore, the HPI numbers are backed by anecdotal evidence from around the country saying that investors and first home buyers are facing more challenges in securing bank lending compared to this time last year, which is lowering the number of dwellings sold in the lower price bracket. As a result, there are comparatively more sales in higher price brackets, which is lifting the median price. Although this gives the overall impression of rising prices, the underlying data shows that the median is moving more due to differences in the mix of dwellings being sold each month.”

https://www.reinz.co.nz/Media/Default/Statistic%20Documents/2017/Residen...

Please explain? If seasonal adjusted median price growth for national ex Auck is 4.9%, and Auck is 3.2%, then how can National be 1.7%?

Latest B&T sales, 6 out of 31

Canada is not alone in facing a housing-price policy panic. There are housing bubbles expanding all over the global economy.
http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-from-toron...

How do you know its a bubble until it bursts? What do you call it if it just flattens off for a few years with no substantial regression?

Lets coin a term: Housing Condom?

Ours has been upstanding for a while but is looking slightly limp at the moment.

Though specuvestors are certainly maintaining the circlejerk.

Hello AJ : to paraphrase the great economist Philip Fisher ( October 1929 ) " House prices have reached what looks to be a permanently high plateau . "

... he was referring to the exuberant USA stockmarket at the time ...

But , I think the basic concept will hold true for the housing market bubbles popping up around the planet ...

Thats what happens when the discount rate used to calculate the NPV of an asset drops dramtically......

"...double-digit house-price rises on multiple continents..."
Wow, I didn't know NZ's National Party could influence house prices on several continents

Useless governments appear to be abound.

Still, National have done a stellar job of stuffing up the housing prospects of many younger New Zealanders, and for that we must give credit where credit is due: indeed 'a brighter future together' (together being literal as many young are now crammed in overflowing rental properties).

I mean...this probably warrants an equally silly answer, but ah well, I'll provide a more constructive one.

If you do some reading up on Vancouver you'll find some interesting similarities. Authorities carefully avoiding looking at the origin of funds. Uses of terms like "xenophobia" for years to shout down anyone objecting to a foreign buy-up. Open acknowledgement within the industry that massive capital inflows from China are a major factor, coupled with political insistence that "There's nothing to see here, folks".

Awfully similar stuff, indeed. Likewise, a generation of politicians and voters with vested interest happily selling out the city from under the young and next generations of Canadians...Probably also shouting "You're having too much evil, evil, smashed avocado! Things were hard in my day!" too.

Kiwis should harden up, join the army....

And while gaming, take the time to marry a rich girl whose daddy can put you into your first house.

Biggest army base is in Palmy - all are welcome

... I never realized that Palmy had to have an army based there to quell the locals riotous behavior , uprisings , and revolutionary insurgents ...

The place must've changed since I last visited .... WOW !

Sure, if you want to live in the darkest wettest city in NZ (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/88229139/Palmerston-North-...).

The lack of sunshine and therefore seratonin could be why Palmy is the suicide capital of NZ.

I like the advice the Doctor in the article gives to those who live in Palmy... "You might want to travel...".

rotorua has higher suicide rate... so does Westcoast and wanganui and many others on a per capita basis; strange myth this one as never seen pn top this list.

and many places have less sunshine hours, palmy was worst of the bigger cities in this one particular year,

That fertile land and vast water is whats makes palmy great food producer; home of FoodHQ, agResearch etc etc.

"The matter is not as simple as this article implies. 60+ years of sun data (using Campbell--Stokes recorders) showed Palmerston North to be significantly sunnier than Dunedin and Invercargill (but not the other major centres). I see no climatological reason why this should change. There is probably an issue with the electronic recordings at the current PN site - most likely an inadequate exposure to sunlight due to the surroundings" - researcher

Also saw in original article they lost data for a number of days for Palmy , that might explain a lot. But hey keep up the Palmy bashing, like the Hamilton bashing, doesn't stop people thriving and economies thriving in these cities. Silicon Valley not known for its sunshine hours..

Palmy is silicon valley? Wait, what?

You are joking, right?

Yeah mate I'm joking about biotech and PN being a global leader . . What a comedian I am

Growing weed maybe a sort of biotec, I guess

Read the article dude - PN isn't know as the knowledge city for nothing.

It's not known as the city of knowledge. It's known as the city of suicide - those two concepts don't sound intuitively related to me

Some say there is a correlation between high intelligence and suicide:

Only the bright commit suicide

Again, you mistake correlation for causation.

Studies find a positive correlation between high IQ and suicide.
People can draw their own conclusions.
Like Palmy being a city of knowledge and a city of suicide is entirely plausible..

Correction: some studies find a weak correlation between the extremes of intelligence and suicide. Mostly, it is inconclusive.

However, a lot of research finds causation between mental health issues, financial issues and suicide.

Correction: some studies find a weak correlation between the extremes of intelligence and suicide. Mostly, it is inconclusive.

However, a lot of research finds causation between mental health issues, financial issues and suicide.

Again, it makes my day & hooray!!
Median house prices rebounded strongly in March. New median price records were also set in Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki, Canterbury/Westland and Otago.

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Can you please stop being a D!$K?

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"Hooray, stuff the next generations of Kiwis so I can have a few more dollars!"

"Hip hip hooray!"

What do you mean Rick? How do you know the next generation won't be able to afford a house?

Have you considered Auckland is not the whole NZ??? Have you considered this might push skilled workers and more businesses to the regions?

You're just another one of these doomsday predictors who have cried wolf way to many times!

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But not all can move to the regions!!!

The fact is that Auckland house prices are extravagantly high.. over one third of NZ's population lives there

Yeah they are high but who are you to say they are overpriced? That's the price you pay to live and work in a top internationally rated City. Look at any city around that's desirable to live in and the corresponding price of housing. You may say price relative to wages is too high and I agree. We are in a cycle, wages need to catch up in Auckland and you are starting to see that (My personal view not stated as fact).

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which world are you living in?? who am I to say housing is overpriced??? did you see moody's comments yesterday.. get real..

your name reflects your personality

So you can make predictions about my personality based on my username?? Ill take that as a joke but i wouldn't mind if that were true either!. Moody's never said that housing was overpriced or even that it is inevitable that we are going to see a crash. They just said that we are tracking along the same lines as US, Spain Ireland etc before their housing busts so we are at risk of that happening here. I'm not saying there won't be a bust but we have alot stronger bank regulatory systems in place than the US did in their last bust, more immigration than Ireland did etc. There is risk to everything you do. If you worry about every potential risk all the time you mayaswell not get out of bed in the morning.

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On the other hand, as affordability is measured internationally, plenty of sources have noted how overpriced Auckland's houses are. Realistically, houses can only stay out of the reach of local incomes for so long unless they are disconnected from those local incomes through other factors. E.g. Vancouver and capital outflows from China displacing Canadians.

Okay Rick, you go and sit there and twiddle your thumbs complaining about the cost of housing and never achieve anything. That's your prerogative. I don't have any housing investment at all and I probably will never invest in housing as there are better earners out there (Probably not in the last 3 years though!). My views are no more valid than yours. Whos to say in 5 years time prices of housing in Auckland won't be 30% higher than todays prices?

Wait... what... you said houses weren't overpriced and now you're saying you may never invest in housing because its there are better investments? So which is it???

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Your arguments don't flow. International measures of affordability ≠ me twiddling my thumbs. Neither have I said anywhere that your view is not valid (feel free to quote an example if you feel I have).

What I have done is point out that Auckland house prices are terribly unaffordable to locals, as considered by globally-accepted measures. No need to consider that an attack on your right to have a view.

I will be okay either way. However, it's not only about you and I. is it? Shouldn't we also be considering the needs of young and upcoming generations of Kiwis? That's what earlier generations did that helped foster such high levels of home ownership as were seen in the 1980s - including multiple earlier government builds.

There were good reasons why houses became affordable for those born at the right time. It's irresponsible to hold no regard for what we leave to next generations, solely for a bit of selfish profit.

(NB. Don't assume the last is a personal attack directed at you. I don't know anything about you.)

woooo woooo woooo Trump Supporter alert

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this is a great myth that wages will somehow catch up to ensure the bubble doesn't burst. In reality wages are set by market conditions and unlikely to increase, and if they did our export competitiveness would decline. What we are seeing is house prices in Auckland being beyond the reach of police, teachers and other skilled workers who could legitimately expect to own their own house. What we have also seen is minimal increase in rentals. What we can deduce is that for even small increases in rentals people change their living arrangements (kids staying at home, students flat sharing). We also see industry and professions moving from Auckland. The massive growth in auckland house prices has not been brought about by immigration, because if it was rentals would be higher. It has been brought about by speculators gambling on further house price increases. Now house prices increases have stopped more people will start to exit the massive ponzi scheme that is Auckland house investment.

this is a great myth that wages will somehow catch up to ensure the bubble doesn't burst. In reality wages are set by market conditions and unlikely to increase, and if they did our export competitiveness would decline. What we are seeing is house prices in Auckland being beyond the reach of police, teachers and other skilled workers who could legitimately expect to own their own house. What we have also seen is minimal increase in rentals. What we can deduce is that for even small increases in rentals people change their living arrangements (kids staying at home, students flat sharing). We also see industry and professions moving from Auckland. The massive growth in auckland house prices has not been brought about by immigration, because if it was rentals would be higher. It has been brought about by speculators gambling on further house price increases. Now house prices increases have stopped more people will start to exit the massive ponzi scheme that is Auckland house investment.

"Top internationally rated city". That is hilarious. Auckland may score on some arbitrary scale but let's be honest it is a relatively small city, with low paying jobs, at the arse end of the world. It has a crushing infrastructure shortage (with the debt to match) and the main reason it has high prices is ineffective planning and workforce management. The only thing Auckland has going for it is that it is not in China or India and is therefore better than the cities in those countries. I love New Zealand but let's not pretend we compete with the big boys on most metrics, the main advantage we have is that there aren't that many people living here.

"the main advantage we have is that there aren't that many people living here"
The Nats are fixing that for us and forcing wages down with low quality mass immigration, what's not to like?
Auckland 2100: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2017/mar/02/plast...

Yes and the other major problem with over priced property in Auckland is it makes it a lot harder to recruit staff for existing business due to the extreme cost of living via rents.

And if a business can't function, it shuts down.

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>You're just another one of these doomsday predictors who have cried wolf way to many times!

Well, that's quite wrong...I haven't cried wolf at all.

But let's consider your post. Your best suggestion is for young Kiwis to move out of Auckland and cede it to...who, foreign investors?

What a great legacy for our politicians to leave, the abandonment of Auckland because global investors want it instead.

I thought it was proven that it wasn't foreign buyers buying up all of Auckland was it not? Did your neighbor tell you that it was foreign buyers? Sure they are contributing to high prices but i think its a supply demand thing and immigration is causing prices to soar. If you know whats going to happen in the future whats this weekends lotto numbers?

No, you're quite incorrect. No such thing was proven.

And where am I predicting the future? Would you like to cite the sentence?

You can still buy affordable apartments in Auckland but like any big city globally; inner city suburb free standing homes are not for Low income families anymore like they used to be...ask any Sydneysider...

Are you citing another city with a bubble/crisis to say Auckland's bubble isn't bad? Err...okay...

It's not only central Auckland houses that are unaffordable relative to NZers salaries.

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Dear David C: Now could be a good time to consider a downvote feature in these fine comment threads. I, for one, would be interested to see the *net* popularity of some of these comments!

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Seconded.

Having planted industry spruikers and trolls detracts from the quality of the comments section. Whether someone is "pro" property or a so called "doomster" isn't the issue - all commenters should have to put together a reasonable argument and not spam aimlessly.

Please implement the down vote and ban trolls accordingly.

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Sorry high flier ... but the voting feature at interest.co.nz is deeply symbolic of our housing market ...

... it can only ever go UP .... mate !

*mic drop*

So if someone is happy with they way things are going at the moment they are not allowed to reflect that in the comments? I guess everyone has to share the same opinion as you?

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Of course you can bgballz, but like anything in life - if your actions/success/happiness come at the expense of the success/happiness of others, they are going to resent you for it.

It appears the greedy want to be greedy and have others adore them for it. Not sure what reality you live in, but that's not how human interactions work....

DGZ and ZS (and perhaps you) remind me of an obese child who has eaten too much cake and gloat about how great it is, then get upset when others tell you you're fat.

Not at all, my dear fellow! My personal feelings don't enter into it, and I'm quite happy to see DGZ's comments on principle, even if I may not agree with them. I am simply suggesting that we might have the ability to downvote, as you would also be most welcome to do to any comment I or anyone else might make. Let the market decide!

ANYONE happy with Auckland house prices has a short sighted and vested interest. A properly vibrant economy needs real growth from jobs & output and hard working people deserve to have clean, warm and safe housing (rent or buy).

No one can sanely argue a house to income ratio > 10 is good.

Manawatu record at sub 300k from memory of report?

Bargain buying there. Just stay away from Wanganui, and avoid any hype around feilding which sux and has serious issues with the Oroua river which will make feildings already very high rates go even higher... New builds on $200k sections in Feilding wont do much to supply side - 800k+ houses will be built on these

Double GZ - This not only your feelings but will also be of national and all its supporters.

Election in few months.

Interesting note in the report: "The level of inventory in Auckland are rising quickly with 47% increase in inventory over the past month, offering buyers more choice.”
And in a while not only offering more choice but lower prices! That's how ballooning inventory works...

Investors and developers trying to exit as fast as they can. Going to drag all prices down....headlines are always months behind the times...

TradeMe listings still going down for Auckland, now 10889.

There is only One Direction it will go and that is down.

Less houses sold, median up does not a rebound make.

I suspect people are holding off paying over $600,000 for some of the less desirable Auckland suburbs and thus skewing the median upwards.

If anyone is looking for a laugh at the expense of the NZ Herald check out the facebook group:
"My parents gave me 200k and all I have to show for it is a two bedroom unit"

https://www.facebook.com/162540460936142/photos/a.162584877598367.107374...

OMG thanks for the FB group link. Very amusing *laughsbitterly*

Told you so, I said everyone was on holiday mode and now they are all back.

Told who, what?

Did you read the article?

Says sales compared to March last year are down.

"There were 8504 residential properties sold in March ... still down 11% compared to March last year."

Who is back, exactly? They're all gone...

Sorry to burst your bubble (pun)

Another indicator showing credit growth has collapsed. Loved this mornings news story of the 15 year old buying his first home .

I know a one year old who bought a house - now in the terrible two's and has some advice..... :-)

Seriously - a contract with a 15 year old may not be enforceable

https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/consumer-law-and-your-rights/cont...

The story also marginalised that he bought it 20 years ago. It was a pretty grim time and there wasn't a boom so the story is not just irrelevant but they acknowledged that they're pushing shit uphill.

Banks are continuing to tighten lending. The focus has shifted to retention of existing customers rather than rather accumulation of new mortgages. Expect a painful experience if you're buying and you need more than a $120 per fortnight buffer in case of interest rate increases.

When are these interest rates going up.
My mate down the road tells me that if interest rates go too high he will have to sell his Ford Ranger and buy something more practical for his family ,and guess what,i wouldn't mind buying a Ranger at a reduced price.

There's going to be a slow ramp up over the next year as the Fed stops it's bond purchasing program. That assumes that there's no outbreak of war or any other events that increase volatility.

All I can say is be patient when waiting for deals.

Have you seen swap rates lately? (read today's 90 at 9) US 10 year back down at 2.28% a level not seen since 2016, if anything interest rates are going down

Yellen said that the FED will raise rates 3-4 times in 2017. She has been extremely cautious about any announcements and waited a long time to start tightening. I think there is every reason to believe that US interest rates will rise this year.
This will impact NZ.
Chinese inflation will spread globally also effecting NZ.

Inflation is contagious. Some commentators even predict stagflation.

But the longer interest rates stay low, the greater the damage later. That can't be denied. Unless you think pensions can be materialised out of the current interest rates? Or that asset bubbles continue forever? If you think any bubble can grow forever, please show me a single example.

For all those nasty speculators, there's still an easy 80k+ to be made per house purchase in palmy over next 2 years as median goes from 320k to 400k (the new limit for all the FHB grants, kiwisaver etc etc). All while tenant pays the mortage payments. Late cycle action in full thrust as equity rich auckland and welly speculators ride the wave of price ripples

Isn't palmy going to be in the ocean after tonight?

Let's see mate. We'll discuss tomorrow.

Palmy being 85k population and within 1 mill ppl has infrastructure far greater than small towns.

They have flood gates that open to drown opiki and west side of Palmy (feilding might be in trouble).

Bet you a dozen Palmy comes through better than feilding and a number of small towns that lack population and infrastructure to keep them safe.

Dear lord - every time I see a comment from 'Simon' I think to myself.. god damn, it's gonna be about palmerston north again... a comment that no one actually cares about.

Also, if you think there is an "easy" 80k to be made in the next 2 years, mortgage yourself up to the hills and take full advantage. No one here is going to stop you... although I doubt anyone else is going be on the next flight down...

Palmy is a truly awful town. Flat, windy and souless. John Cleese was spot on.

Amen to that. Clearly heavily invested in Palmy as he has been spruiking the place for at least 18 months if not more. What a hole of a place, it would die without Massey.

Nothing wrong with being a champion of your home town. Simon is to Palmy what DGZ and ZS are to Auckland and TM2 is to Christchurch. I like Simon's comments and his one-eyed vewpoint. It 's all probably really good advice too, to be honest.

Nothing is wrong with Palmy. I'm quite happy to buy there, especially in the areas close to Massey University.

Yes - Palmy has a lot going for it.

I reckon that right now, the smart money is on a balanced property portfolio - and one that includes some solid provincial cities.

Palmy is well-placed for the future. It has Massey University, a regional hospital, a central locality (and an easy drive to Wgtn), strong agricultural hub, an airport with flights to Australia and numerous satellite towns.

Further you can buy a reasonable 3brm family home for $350,000 - but that won't last for much longer I fear.

Buy into Palmy now and you'll do alright I'd wager. "Hokowhitu" is the suburb to go for: it has the best quality housing and, being close to Massey, has high rental accommodation demand as well.

Plus Palmy has great recreational/sporting facilities and a young population demographic...

Thanks, spot on, Palmy is best buying town in NZ from investors pov, the others miss my post on valuing assets on NPV to explain global boom in equities and house prices at start of trend? Know what a discount rate is and when lowered it's effect on asset prices from an investors point of view? Try stop moaning about being poor and learn how money works

Totalling wrong DellBoy. Been promoting it for atleast 4 years now (not 18 months). Please pay attention. A few grumpy at losing the bet that pn can handle rain better than most due to state of art flood gates? Maybe when you become Dellman your comments might become more mature.

One-man pump and dump scheme

DC (not you Daniel Carter), can you please explain how the new HPI is calculated.
Many thanks

I understand the reasoning for creating it and I read REINZ's report but I'm not that enlightened with their description:
“The REINZ HPI takes many aspects of market composition into account, and thus provides more accurate results"

Been around for ages, similar to QV index; basically it normalizes data to GVs; so if a bunch of cheap houses sold (investor activity increase) the median would drop; but the index looks at gv of houses sold also; so if all sold 20% over GV, when previous year they were selling at gv, then index would be up 20% yoy dispite an apparent drop if looking just at medians.

In essence it takes into account the types and mix of houses sold, not just looking at a bunch of sale prices like the median does

See I'm not convinced that Auckland's top end house prices will remain high, not if you look at the latest auction results where most of the expensive area properties are selling just below or a little over the million mark even in highly desirable areas such as Devonport.

And this is also being reflected in the recent figures: The Index showed that prices are down in most parts of Auckland, with the biggest decline occurring Rodney, where the Index declined 1.7% in March compared to February, followed by the North Shore -0.4%, Central Auckland suburbs -0.4%, and Manukau -0.3%.

However the Index posted gains in Waitakere +0.4% (although it was down 0.4% in Waitakere compared to three months earlier), Papakura +1% and Franklin +3%.