House prices were lumpy in May, with rises in 10 regions and declines in six, but flat overall, REINZ says

The national median house price was $540,000 in May, unchanged from April but still 6.7% ahead of May last year, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

In Auckland, the median price was $865,000, up 1.6% compared to April and up 5% compared to May last year.

The median price for all other regions (excluding Auckland), was $430,000, down 1.1% compared to April but up 5% compared to May last year.

Within the Auckland region, May's median price declined in three districts compared to April (Central Auckland, Franklin, Papakura), rose in three districts (Manukau, North Shore, Rodney) and was unchanged in Waitakere.

The median price rose in 10 regions around the country in May compared to April, (Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Whanganui, Taranaki, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast and Southland) and declined in six (Waikato, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago). The interactive graphs below plot the changes in regional and national median prices.

The most surprising fall in price was in the Wellington region, where it slipped from $540,100 in April to $521,300 in April.

In Canterbury it dropped from $447,000 in April to $431,500 in May, which was below the May 2016 median of $440,000.

The number of residential properties sold throughout the country increased to 7354 in May from 5985 in April, but remained well below the 9009 sold in May last year.

The median number of days to sell increased to 37 in May from 34 in April and 32 in May last year.

Nationally, the total number of homes available for sale through REINZ members was flat compared to a year ago, but was up a huge 47% in Auckland, while in the rest of the country (excluding Auckland) the number of properties for sale decreased by 14% compared to a year ago.

Click on the following link for the REINZ's full regional reports:

PDF iconREINZ Monthly Property Report - May 2017.pdf

Median price - REINZ

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New Zealand
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Northland
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Auckland
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Volumes sold growth - REINZ

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We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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82 Comments

These numbers look pretty bad for Auckland.

The big downside here is that people are moving away from Auckland to reigons. (Waikato and Northland). Teachers, Police, Nurses .. critical staff that are required to keep a city running, can't afford a house in Auckland.

You can't run a big city on white collar workers who earn 6 figures. Teachers, Nurses and Police earning the 50-70k mark just simply can't afford Auckland anymore.

According to the REINZ Index: Auckland Region prices are up +1.8% YoY. But if you factor in inflation of approx. 2% then this is negative growth in real terms.

Perhaps the more telling data is that the last 3 months for Auckland saw a -1% drop in median prices.
https://www.reinz.co.nz/Media/Default/Statistic%20Documents/2017/Residen...

That's right. Plus add in that sales are down -27.5% year on year and that inventory is up +47%! Wow

Another thing to point out is even if price manage to just stay flat by the time we get to November the gap year on year will be quite big.

They look great for me, waiting in the wings to buy a family home in Wellington with $700k deposit.

I shall wait till inventory and time on market starts declining again though before I buy. At the moment inventory and time on market are all still rising, so house prices my decrease further in Wellington.

They might go down quite a bit in Auckland if these indicators play out.

Wow, a $700k deposit! You will end up buying a family home outright with change left over and no mortgage debt :) That's great to hear, Gingerninja. I hope you and your family find the perfect home and live happy lives :)

The house we currently rent is worth $1.2M so unless house prices in Welly drop 40% we are not going to be mortgage free. My hubs and I have a mantra "mortgage free at 43" which we have been working towards for a very long time but are still half a decade away from. A big chunk of our capital is from buying and selling in a previous housing cycle in the UK, on a house the I renovated. I taught myself to plaster and brick lay etc. And we save more than half our wages per month and have some hard working investments. I bought my first house aged 19, and have always ridden the cycles, selling in a peak and buying in a slump. The idea of buying a house but paying double what you bought for it in mortgage interest, frankly, turns my blood cold.

Its a joyful thing watching the mortgage principal decreasing in an accelerating manner over time.
Some people don't seem to identify at all with this pleasure.

that's an awesome deposit!Good for you ninja

Again..would love to see some stratified data to really get a handle on this.

The RE people I know in my area (AKL North Shore) say the $1.5M market is still going ok but below $1M is absolutely dead in the water...very much a tale of 2 markets and a median easily skewed by that.

This is in line with the last two declines I experienced. Initially it is the lower value properties that suffer in sales volume and then price. This weakness slowly makes its way up the value chain. As you infer, median sales values get skewed in the early stages due to the multi tiered market deltas.

Yup it gona crash, nothing to do with the LVR for investors being doubled.

This makes a great deal of sense. Those owning properties above $1M will be higher earners and likely older, possibly having got on the property market before the boom and therefore having greater equity and ultimately lower mortgages. They will be able to hold out on lowering prices the longest. However, if the bottom of the market is gone, it is only a matter of time before the top of the market also needs to adjust expectations.

It is likely that lots of people at the top of the market will not suffer the same stress that would force a sale. They may be more financially literate and have more assets they can sell to protect them through hard times (boats, flash cars etc). But eventually, the numbers of those that need to sell, for reasons of moving areas, divorce etc, will start to appear.

I commented on here recently about a family member who was a property speculator and had over $3M in debt with a string of negatively geared properties. He is asset rich beyond his property portfolio. Last month he told me he had sold his flash car and buying a very modest one. And when I saw him recently he was openly discussing how if the market declines or National lose the election, he will sell a few of his properties to pay of mortgages on the others. So that would add to the housing inventory figures. His properties would be top of the market. I doubt he is alone in this demographic.

Buy now before they shut the gate!

Just interested in this comment;
Who is shutting the gate and on what?
And who are you telling to buy?

Little!

Got it!

Sell now the punch bowl is well and truly empty!

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This time its different.

I don't think it, is (different this time), prices will flatten, probably decrease a little but I think it will be the same as in previous cycles (i.e. 2008)

I love it!

Don't panic , prices had lost all sense of value last year , and this is a normal market reaction .

This is the way efficient markets function when they get ahead of themselves they will adjust , kind of like a rubber band being stretched and then let go .

In the meantime if you are in the market , do nothing , sit on your hands and wait to see where it bottoms out .

Has any body compared what the text is saying compared to the interactive charts.
The charts indicate that Otago rose strongly, while the text says it fell.

Hover the mouse over the RHS of the price line. You will see it is to End of April 2017 whereas the report is to end of May 2017

has anyone seen the AKL stratified figure?

The Stratified Median House Price Index ceased production in March 2017. It has been replaced by the SPAR House Price Index. Click here to find out more about the SPAR HPI.
-0.7% 1mnth. -1% vs 3months. And +1.8 vs a year ago.

ta

dictator, what do you have to say about your comment of yesterday of "the crash (of house price) is here"

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It is here. If you don't believe so buy more houses, they only ever go up in price. Plenty of mortgagee sales and desperate sellers if you are bargain hunting. Even then make sure you pay below current market rate.

My recommendation is pay down debt, accumulate cash, watch the market and don't buy until we're past one dead cat bounce at very least. No point having buyers remorse in a falling market.

No dictator, the crash is NOT here, prices may reduce, flatten or increase in the future but THE CRASH IS NOT HERE NOW. Have you read the article ? There is no data from the article that can possibly justify saying "the crash is here". Actually, why do you bother reading the article since you have clearly made up your mind and you are not interested in the slightest in actual facts.
When/if the real estate market is down 25% or more over a 12 months period, then it will be justified to say the crash is here.

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Remember that you're the one that requested a response from me. If you are getting angry at me that is entirely your own fault. It's obvious your entire purpose is to marginalise any comments I make. That is rather ridiculous as you have not presented any points worth discussion, and you have also avoided commenting on the trademe article as well.

When it comes to a crash you don't write the rules, the market does. Sales have slowed significantly, prices are having issues. All within the slow illiquid pace of a property market. The start of a crash will always look like this and when it ends in 2-3 years there will be a clear picture and everyone will suddenly have 20/20 vision in hindsight.

Instead of attacking me put your money where your mouth is and buy property in the market that you seem to be claiming is flat. If you're right you'll do well.

You're not describing a crash.

A decrease in house prices of 25% in New Zealand when we have debt to income ratios as high as they are and financing costs taking the majority of household pay in a rising rate environment.

You're describing an armageddon, great depression, no turning back, broke the economy forever type situation.

If I thought things were going to be that bad I'd be suggesting buying a hilux as they are good for mounting a machine gun. Taking some tips on defense and offense from Mad Max would also be helpful.

Haha! If I see 15% drop and the 3 Fed hikes by the end of the year I'm taking your Ute idea.

... heck ... after the GFC , the USA had a 50 % decrease in house prices ... an unthinkably humungous crash ... and yet , after just a few years in the doldrums , look at them now ...

They've trumped their doubters ...

hmmm... it has survived.

Have you factored in inflation and holding costs over those 9 years? Are you applying nominal or real values when "we look at them now"?

And have you factored in their insane govt debt in their "recovery" which was required to stop it all crashing down?

There's not much wriggle room for the next downturn.

The US survived because the banks took back the keys and are still holding alot of those houses. They didn't want to sell them off in a depressed market, so they rented them out and hiked up the rent prices. Hedge funds also bought them and are still holding.

Ditto ...
lol, some die hard CRASH cheerleaders just want it to happen ... I didnt need today's data to know what it was, I said in a post 2 days ago that Auckland DGZ, Northshore, and the West seem to still have gained about 5% over last June ....I had my data from the street, the sales and purchases of people who are in market ...
Oops Maybe this is another Patronizing comment that some feel intimidated with ? ..lol

"I had my data from the street, the sales and purchases of people who are in market ..."

You knew both of the purchasers eh?

Fact : massively reduced sales in Auckland, massively increased stock. That only puts pressure in one direction. You need to look at median prices through that lens. You understand maths, right?

Math I understand!... Math is different from looking through your lens of assumptions and as you know that: Assumption is the mother of all ,,,stuff-ups !!.... It is Winter and 3 months away from an Election ... No maths at all, just common sense!!

Increased stock and slow sales volumes do not necessarily mean that prices are going down or will go down - only when a large percentage of this stock is offered at a hugely discounted price when desperation gives way to reason, then after a while of that going on and a stagnation in the market, and Demand subsiding largely ... Only Then median prices CAN start coming down ...

Data from the street is what houses are sold for compared with what they were worth last year or in some areas compared with what their GVs are ... BTW, if prices remained at these levels this Winter, then that would be a price appreciation in my books because you can count on another +5% or more to be added next summer if there was no change.

Here is another fact: houses sold in auctions for less than what vendors are Asking ( hoping) for ( mostly based on Nov/Dec 16 prices) , however they are being sold at or near these numbers eventually - the ones that are passed on are either hugely overvalued ( too old or rubbish not worth buying unless discounted by 25% ) or the reserves are set too high based on more than last year prices.

these are facts at present, any other theories remain just that ... theories, wishful thinking, and bleak lenses !! -

Essentially his Article shows that despite all the fuss, Auckland is 5% YoY , no matter which part of the article it is buried in ...

Below is a link for the same data and news piece - can you spot the difference?

http://www.sharechat.co.nz/article/67be9fc7/nz-median-house-price-rises-...

from the report:

AUCTIONS RATES
The number of dwellings sold by auction continues to decline across New Zealand with 956 properties sold by auction, in comparison to 1,982 in May 2016 – a decrease of 52%. Additionally, auctions accounted for 13% of total property sales, down from 22% in May 2016.
When looking at auctions across the regions, Auckland saw 536 auctions in May 2017 (down from 1277 a year ago, representing 24% of sales in May 2017 versus 42% in May 2016)

!!

Anyone who sold an underperforming investment property or two in Auckland and Christchurch late last year will be feeling pretty pleased with their decision. Property is just like any other market. There are good times and there are times when it can be hard. Property does have one disadvantage though. It is not as easy to move and there are considerable costs when you move them on. It pays to be diversified in different areas of investing and it pays not to have your investments in one area of New Zealand. Just look at Christchurch where the property prices are slipping back month by month and rents are dropping accordingly.

Some here who repeatedly talk about house prices crashing must be surprised how resilient the market is. There is no doubt the market is softening, inventory is rising and prices are flattening or slightly decreasing. It's more of a trend back to normal, maybe a small correction than an "abysmal crash". I'm in my 50's, I've seen it all before in 2007-2008, some people waited for the "big crash" in house values, these people are still renting today and have missed out and they are bitter. Maybe it's not the best time to buy now but no one is going to call us to buy when house prices start lifting again.
"This time is different", no it's not

Absolutely .... it is just like the previous two cycles that I have lived through ... good point

"This time is different, no it's not".

Yes it is actually. The world has the lowest interest rates ever offered while the debt exceeds any other period in time.

If you don't realise this situation is very much different then you know neither history nor economics.

Exactly right!
OCR 2008 = 8.25%
OCR 2017 = 1.75%
Almost 5 time lower! That is not much room to soften a crash.

The reality is that immigration is through the roof (wealthy couples/families that can afford to buy houses, not just students), building consents are low, the banks have turned off the credit tap for developers (the effects of which have yet to fully materialise), much of the Unitary Plan’s newly zoned green-field land isn't infrastructure ready and interest rates remain relatively low.

Yes, inventory is high and prices are flattening, but I for one very much doubt that we’re going to see the disastrous crash that interest.co.nz commenters have long been ravenously lusting after. This is a position shared by the likes of Shamubeel Eaqub, who has said that he sees no change in the fundamental factors that have been keeping prices high.

The predictions of catastrophe have been going on for years now and are based on little more than emotion - If these commenters’ predictions come true it'll be because they’re a pack of blind squirrels that happen to find a nut (or a broken clock that is right twice a day, take your pick).

You sound quite bitter. Maybe buying a house will cheer you up.

Good idea, I'll do that tomorrow, after the "crash"

So what you're really saying is that if young Kiwis want a chance to own their own home they have to get politically interested in changing those factors, e.g. voting for parties that will reduce immigration and may initiate more government build activity than National's farcical 2,000 affordable houses over 10 years. Either that, or emigrate internally or internationally to greener pastures.

It reminds me of the events around the civil rights movement.
http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/fair-housing-act

People were discriminated against and couldn't get finance for housing. In response their were riots and buildings got burnt down. What National want is large scale civil unrest and property destruction.

No RS, BLSH is simply saying he doesn't believe a crash in property prices will happen, that's all

Yes. And until those factors change I don't see any reason for commenters to foam at the mouth with glee about a crash that aint coming.

Interest.co.nz likes to focus on market signals that suggest prices are coming down in a big way. They do this because they know their readership and what makes them feel good. The Herald does the same in the opposite direction. Just because it feels good doesn't make it true.

Because misery likes company ... and moaning about anything and everything feels good and falls well inline with specific political agendas ...
young or old can vote for any one who can make the country better - not to dip it in a new recession ....

just as moaning about others moaning feels good... and so on

Some of us that are expecting a correction have done both sides of your moniker. To be successful, one has also execute the "SellHigh" part. One needs to understand the fundamentals clearly without any bias filters so as to define when the good time for this sale to occur. Too early is definitely wrong, just as too late is wrong as well.

Back in 2006, many well educated people had the same views as you put forward about the fundamental factors keeping home prices high for the foreseeable future. We all know how that played out. The house I sold in 2006 lost more than 40% of its value over the following three years. That said, I do not think that there will be that level of correction in Auckland. I'm in the 20-30% correction range myself due to various data sets that I have evaluated. This will not happen overnight, just as the declines in other locations at other times happened over multiple years (the death of a thousand cuts for people expecting the downturn to be just a little blip).

Hi Yankiwi, can you please confirm the house you sold that lost 40% in value was in the USA. (the biggest dip in NZ was -8% in 2008)

Yes, in USA. Sold a year before we moved to NZ. That decision to sell a year early was one of the better decisions we made, although not as good as going conservative in equities in 2000, or cashing out almost entirely at the end of 2007. IOW, been REALLY fortunate in market timing... despite everyone advising that one shouldn't market time things. Some decisions seem to be easy to make with objective evaluation of the data. Then again, I could just be four time lucky now...

Good on you for doing well Yankiwi

NZ didn't have a proper correction back in 2008 because it jumped from the Atlantic wave of the cycle onto the Chinese-Aussie one.

@yankiwi - 20-30% drop is my prediction as well. In 2008 we bought in Freemans Bay at 24% lower than the asking price 10 months earlier. We moved to Queensland and sold it in 2013 for 40% higher than what I paid for it. But then our luck ran out, we bought in Brisbane (way way nicer house) and capital gain is like 20% in the last 3 years!!!

We bought in 2009 and it would take a 40% drop to bring us back to where you are now. Just shows how much of a bubble Aucklanders are in.

A crash? May be not but then again you can never tell
http://globalriskinsights.com/2017/06/chinas-debt-situation-next-possibl...

Of importance is the inversion of the yield curve in China... that is usually an indicator of an impending recession. That would cause ripples around the world. If that comes to fruition, I will reassess my predictions regarding the NZ economy and housing market downward.

BHSL, isn't it amazing how some people get so upset when you comment that you don't believe a crash is upcoming

It is the gratuitous adjectives that are used by BLSH that are a bit amiss... I'm pretty sure that I'm not (and most others are not) "ravenously lusting" after a "disastrous crash" (his terms not mine). Gratuitous sensationalist descriptions such as these do little for others to believe the accuracy of his views. A moderate correction of 20-30% doesn't even remove two full years of the best gains.

In my mind the real question is where prices are in five and ten years. There will be gyrations as there always are. I do find it interesting that NZ hasn't had much of a major decline in house prices in recent times. It may be that it is different here. It also may be that it is overdue here. I'm going with the latter as based on the high median house price as compared to median income, gradually increasing interest, and a reduction in foreign funding availability. The increasing inventory and decreasing sales volume suggests that the prices will be reducing in the near future. My estimate is something around 0.5 to 1% per month on average for a couple of years.

Yankiwi, agreed about using gratuitous adjectives, like dictator who proclaims "the crash is here"

It is. You also seem to lack confidence in what you are saying. If you are confident there is not crash you should be bragging about property deals.

Yes Yvil, very :)

Hey, BLSH. It's funny how angry people get here when you suggest there IS a crash =)

I'm not lusting after a correction (probably safer language than crash) but as a homeowner (no envy here) I know the only way we are going to get back to sensible fundamental (e.g. having the income to service debt) is through a correction. Even if I accepted house prices could grow another 10 percent in the next year, and the year after, at that point a correction would be inevitable. It can't go on forever folks. At some point incomes are going to have to grow faster than prices for a while. People who say - well the market has never corrected before by that much in NZ - look we just don't have that much data in the post 1984 period and the international experience is that housing corrects, hard. Look at the USA, pre 2007 they said the market was diversified and it couldn't crash everywhere at once - it did. Every bubble pops because every bubble represents a departure from fundamentals and every time there is some dude (or dudette) saying - but this time it's different. It never is!

Another comment. If you are investing, especially all your money, get in early or don't get in at all. No single investment is the golden goose if people have already been buying into for 5 years and the taxi drivers are talking about it. The gains are in the investments that crashed already and are yesterday's news. The danger of housing is that it's all or nothing. Shares are safe, not because they don't correct, but because you can get in for $20 a week and they don't involve leverage.

Listen "BuyLowSellHigh", every market looks good at the top. People buying overpriced markets can always point to some fundamentals that they say support the price, yet a top still gets put in place.

Often the price turns for no apparent reason, then a fundamental change comes along that completely confirms it. I have seen that time and time again over more than 20 years in the markets.

Have you factored into your analysis a change in government, or a major change in immigration policy after the election. How would your view stack up then? How likely is either of those events?

That is not reality, what you are seeing is blinkered, myopic, Auckland only picture. Reality is very, scarily, different.

Most of the western world is having a construction boom, with record numbers being built. Consents have reached record highs, global wealth is flowing and massive numbers are being constructed. There is now a Australasian regional over supply of housing and office space constructed in every market (apart from Auckland). The boom is on-going, it is looking a little fragile, but it continues and the over supply increases all of the time.

Nothing catastrophic is pending for the Australasian market, as a whole. The fundamentals are good, the region has plentiful supply homes and offices with which to attract jobs should a global correction occur.

Auckland is of course screwed, because Auckland has a Unitary Plan of complete incompetence that was written whilst Auckland Transport was taking a lot of bribes and under a useless legal framework set out by Rodney Hide. Auckland has positioned its greenfield land miles away from Auckland City in places where there is limited infrastructure and is now complaining about a lack of infrastructure for its greenfield land. .

If a correction period occurs, jobs will flow from the moribund decrepit old buildings of Auckland to the new modern exciting places of the world. Then Auckland will be almost catastrophically screwed.

If your scenario happens journalists will go back to writing stories about the "brain drain" again. Of course they'll be devoid of any sound reasoning.

What is this "journalist" profession you refer to?

Don't buy in Auckland.

Owing to the unique way Auckland planning works the land price in Auckland achieved new and exciting heights over the last decade. And the rate of building construction on this high cost land has fallen to new and depressing lows.

Rental costs in Auckland will post-correction be highly uncompetitive, because Auckland has spent a decade not building much. Internationally competitive jobs may soon exit the city of Auckland. Job flight would be a change to the trend of the last 30 years and if it happens the floor to the Auckland property market is going to be hard to judge.

Interesting times.

Auckland top 30 suburbs based on latest QV median value (May 2017).
1 Herne Bay $2,464,750.00
2 St Marys Bay $2,228,900.00
3 Remuera $2,052,300.00
4 Stanley Point $1,950,850.00
5 Campbells Bay $1,903,300.00
6 Westmere $1,862,150.00
7 Epsom $1,854,150.00
8 Mission Bay $1,786,050.00
9 Kohimarama $1,759,250.00
10 Orakei $1,758,200.00
11 St Heliers $1,725,700.00
12 Ponsonby $1,710,050.00
13 Takapuna $1,661,650.00
14 Devonport $1,656,700.00
15 Glendowie $1,648,150.00
16 Mellons Bay $1,625,050.00
17 Castor Bay $1,623,650.00
18 Parnell $1,609,700.00
19 Narrow Neck $1,517,600.00
20 Murrays Bay $1,496,350.00
21 Greenlane $1,488,300.00
22 Dannemora $1,480,800.00
23 Mairangi Bay $1,457,800.00
24 Mt Eden $1,451,800.00
25 Greenhithe $1,441,100.00
26 Pt Chev $1,416,950.00
27 Milford $1,414,250.00
28 Bayswater $1,397,100.00
29 Rothesay Bay $1,388,400.00
30 Grey Lynn $1,387,550.00

Good point DGZ, no one can possibly afford to buy anything anymore. Down is the only direction we have left to go.

Interesting to see from the REINZ data the huge listings increase of 47% in Auckland.

A similar thing is happening in a lot of the gateway cities such as Toronto, their listings are up 64%. Toronto also saw a huge increase in Chinese foreign buyers fairly recently in the last year.
Now that the Chinese foreign buyers tap has been turned off by the capital flight restrictions, all of a sudden they investors are trying to ditch their stock and people are trying to capture their capital gains before it's too late and prices fall.

Article: Toronto Sees A 64% Increase In New Detached Listings
https://betterdwelling.com/city/toronto/toronto-sees-64-increase-new-det...

It's all about timing the cycle lows...
Anecdote: I currently rent a sea-view, top dollar address, cliff-top North Shore AKL apartment. On QV I note it was bought by the then-owner in 2006 who sold it at a LOSS in 2013 for $60K LESS than originally purchased...
Anecdote: my sister lives in a sought-after Massachusetts (USA) town and bought a house in 2007. Today it is still valued BELOW its 2007 sale price...