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Barfoot & Thompson's February sales were "exceptional" as Auckland housing market booms

Barfoot & Thompson's February sales were "exceptional" as Auckland housing market booms

Auckland's largest real estate agency, Barfoot & Thompson, had a spectacular month in February, with the highest sales volumes in 17 years the median selling price hitting a record high.

The agency sold 1124 residential properties in February, up 40% on the 804 it sold in February last year.

The was the highest number of homes the agency has sold in the month of February since 2004.

The median selling price hit a record high of $1,010,000, passing the previous record of $1,005,000 set in December last year and up $190,000 (+23%) compared to February last year.

"In terms of sales numbers and the prices paid, February was exceptional," Barfoot & Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson said.

However the exceptional February follows an exceptional January and an exceptional December and caps off an exceptional five month run of near record sales volumes, underlying the strength of the current housing boom in Auckland.

Thompson said 56% of all sales the company made in February were for prices above $1 million.

And the market does not appear to be slowing down, with the amount of stock the agency had available to sell at the end of last month being down 7% compared to February last year, even though new listings in February were up 18% compared to a year earlier.

The company will now be anticipating a cracker month in March, which is traditionally the busiest month of the year for the residential property market.

"The market is now set to remain active throughout autumn," Thompson said.

The comment stream on this story is now closed.

Barfoot Auckland

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136 Comments

14
up

WIN-WIN for all Kiwis – Thank you Labour, thank you Gracinda!!

12
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Agreed, in 2004 was thanking Helen for the huge increase in the value of my property and now in 2021 I’m thanking Jacinda for the huge capital gains she’s given my properties.

Sarcasm, surely ...

Let's also not forget to thank her for the 602 KiwiBuild homes she delivered :D

If I recall correctly sales in prev 2 months were up over 55%
Notable that NSC leading sales rush (seeking space further away from CV19 epicentre = density of pop)

Market clearly v strong
But not AS strong as last 5 months

I do not think there is any hope for 20 to 30 years old to own their home without any help from parents.

They should think about buying apartments instead.

Edit:
For whom arguing that young NZers should go overseas, I am afraid that they are not competitive in global stage given NZ's education outputs have been continuously dropping for 20 years.

18
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They should think about leaving

25
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I wouldn't be surprised if there's a massive emigration wave after borders reopen. This is literally killing the future of young kiwis.

24
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The future of young kiwis was already dead. This nonsense is just nails in the coffin.

Aroha.

Can still vote while living in aussie... then the rest of us who stay have to endure the gubmint.

Pretty sure it's whether you've been back or not in the last three years that determines whether you can still vote or not? Plenty of overseas Kiwis voting all over the world.

Like the overseas voters that vote Green and have them impose backward policies on us residents

Yes you are so right, locking up the country would benefit the future of young kiwis and NZ economy. :D

unfortunately the underlying issues are global. Going overseas may work (temporarily) for an individual, but everythings interlinked now.
Thats why the Central bankers have to work in tandem to keep the ponzi afloat. BUt collectively the resources for continued growth are no longer available.

https://ourfiniteworld.com/2021/02/25/why-collapse-occurs-why-it-may-not...

Leave NZ to go overseas for a “better life” and come back 20 years later realise you have nothing.

Why would they have less than staying here?

Experienced professionals that come back often have much less than people who stayed here and took up landlording

10
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Definitely. The interest rates available to investors have now sealed the fate for young people - no chance. If investors want the benefits of rent write off against business costs, why should they not have to pay the bussiness loan rate (8%) ? I have 2 young family members who have the qualifications and skills NZ wants, but as soon as the vaccines kick in, they are GONE.

Unless employers want to give 30% pay rises to match the housing market ? I dont think so.

Following the logic that investors have an advantage due to being able to deduct mortgage costs from taxable income lower interest rates obviously reduce that advantage , not increase it.

Unless you increase the amount of your debt. Aka buy another rental

maybe because they arent actually businesses ...

If government wabts can stop interest only loan but do they want to control speculstors.

The business loan rate is not 8%. It’s 4% right now if you have good security and cash flow.

27
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I can also confirm there is precious little hope for late 40 divorcees with teens …
The two years it took to settle matters saw 3 bdrm homes in our area inflate out of reach.
Might buy a section now, continue renting until kids leave, then build a tiny home.
Having said that, odds are the kids will be living at home for a long time to come……..

While our high school education outcomes may have dropped on average, our best and brightest still do very well overseas.

Parents will naturally help their children... usually. That’s why if you have children the pressure is on.

Interesting that now days divorced families also adding pressure to housing demand as they are not in the same house anymore. So “one family” requires two houses to live in.

#vanlife
Encourage a new story other than the one we've been conditioned to.
Take the power back.
No renting from landlords or banks.
Mass civil disobedience.
Be the change.

38
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GOVERNMENT/RBNZ are to be blamed for your misery and demise.
You can thank them for having an unhappy, childless life. Working till you're dead, to pay off an over inflated asset on a miserable NZ wage, so that others will become wealthy and retire early.
F#%& this system.

21
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Yip the current economic settings are ^%#@%%@ and are completely unsustainable. It wouldn't surprise me to see some type of revolution in the coming years if the state (not just NZ, but primarily the Fed) continue with the current settings/doctrine/philosophies.

IO
I’m starting to agree with you.

Are you feeling ok? (jokes)

IO
:)

12
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This feeling the system is unfair, rigged, biased towards landlords, elites and capitalism reminds me of something.

That's it, the feeling Maori have had for the last 150 years.

14
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Of whom the elders have been very quiet about the likes of mass immigration. Almost as if they were doing well out it.

Well said. The mass immigration polcies have hurt Maori more than anyone but the maori leaders have generally been quiet on the issue.

I'm not sure what you're experience is with kaumatua, but for the vast majority there isn't a whole lot of people knocking on the door for an interview.

Maybe if we get some F+++++g Maori Wards we might be able to fix your mess though.

If you watched the election debates on Maori TV, you would have seen that the candidates for the Maori electorates, for all parties, were much more anti-immigration than their general electorate counterparts. They said some things that, frankly, would have jeopardised the careers of any Pakeha colleague who used the same words. I believe they speak for their electorates in this regard.

That's correct, but like all cultures Maori are unlikely to have a single view on a topic. Some Maori run businesses that have benefited from immigration (construction specifically). Maori also have a lot of land that will have risen significantly in value, though that can rarely be realised at a personal level.

Blame them for not creating enough employment. House prices are just a symptom of a lack of national productivity.

High house prices should be a symptom of a highly productive and consequently universally affluent society, not "a symptom of a lack of national productivity".

Question: Who voted this and previous governments in on the policy platforms of letting housing be a run away train?

Answer: About 85% of all NZ'ers vote for either labour or national.

Expect nothing to change unless the 85% of voters demand change. Why would we expect the govt to change policy when that's not what the (voting) people want?

A central selling point of the first Key government and the first Adern government was doing something about housing affordability. Just when they get in power they only then seem to realize the problem "is a good one to have", and back track on their electioneering.

I think the majority want housing prices to fall currently. I guess the government is just scared what the after effects of that would be. Easier to continue kicking the can down the road I guess?

Yeah, but we the people are the ones buying into it, feeding the frenzy, consuming the BS...

Real Estate agents are creaming it! Years ago, when I bought my current house, and when I bought and sold other houses Real estate agent contracts paid a commission that was a fixed amount of money of just a few $hundred plus a percentage of commission. the exact figures escape me but I seem to remember in the range of 300 - 500 and 1.5 - 3%. this covered ALL the costs for the RE - advertising and so on. Now as I understand it, the commission is all money for jam and the additional costs are payable by the seller. what a rip off!

Murray, the RE agent's commission structure has not changed this millennium, if anything some offer a lower percentage commission (as low as 1%). Typically it is $500 base fee +3.95% on the first $250k then 2-2.5% on the amount above. This is negotiable at the time when you engage the agent and most will discount their fee. But yes, in dollar terms, since houses are so much more expensive nowadays, RE agents make commission

yes they've always got a commission, I agree and don't have an issue with the %s as indicated. My issue is with them not covering their costs from that commission structure. A local chap I know told me that he did RE for about four years on the late 2000s and had never had so much money coming in, before or after, and he had had some pretty good jobs!

Yvil... I have tried to negotiate fees over the years as little as 6 years ago. Best I ever got was some free advertising thrown in and that was even when I gave them more than one property at the same time. Even when two properties were next door to each other they refused to drop the fees.
They are an untalented, greedy bunch and their fees are extortionate. I met about 100 agents in 2019 and 2020 and the vast majority of them had inferior sales skills to the (probably close to minimum wage) employees I bought my household stuff from at Harvey Norman and Farmers.

These days you're lucky if they can even communicate in English.

Yvil 2yrs ago Property Brokers in Hawkes Bay charging 4% on first $400000 2.5% above.

B and T Commission rates reduce to 2 percent when price exceeds 250k. That is every property including the unloved unkempt crap in small king country towns. Dont forget that the gubmint gouges 15 percent

I invite all readers to pull the cursor on the chart above all the way back to 2002. We can then notice that the current price appreciation is not unique, there was a higher % price increase over the 2002-2007 period and while the 2012-2017 period had lower peaks, the gains were consistently well over 10% for that period.
(this is not a comment on whether this is "right" or not, it's simply stating the facts)

10
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What about the 100 years before that?

Why do you always counter my comment with a ridiculous one. We're trying to have a serious debate here. Did you manage to pull the cursor back to 100 years before? No, now think about why this could be.

I've been posting data about inflation adjusted house prices (going back to 1890) on this website for the last 5 years so nothing new.

And i'm completely serious in my debate about this - its just that it doesn't fit your narrative so in your limited view point my comments appear ridiculous to you.

I'm not going to apologise for your limited mental capacity and decision to only look at limited data sets (sorry but not sorry).

10
up

More insults "your limited mental capacity"

I'll add emotional capacity to that list as well now ;-)

You need a hug Yvil?

Have a look at Shillers work on inflation adjusted house prices and then you can reassess your initial comment. Or you can live in your little shell of limited thinking and limited data sets.

Oh and I don't really see the difference between inferring somebody has a limited mental capacity by saying their comments are rediculous vs actually just saying such directly.

You can tell me directly that you think I have limited mental capacity - water off a ducks back...couldn't care less.

He does not need to say it .. everyone on the site knows it already.

Thanks for clarifying that paashaas

Priceless, for the fool doesn't know he's a fool

Indeed.

IO replying to Yvil: "You can tell me directly that you think I have limited mental capacity"
Paashaas: "He does not need to say it .. everyone on the site knows it already"
IO:"Thanks for clarifying that paashaas"

It least he's driving an Auston Martin.

I would take 1 Yvil to 100 of the contributors here over-analysing house inflation data from the 1890's, give me strength.
It's irrelevant, try valuing Tesla with your 1890's abacus and you might find that over-valued as well. Or $50k for some lines
of code. You are over-thinking everything.

Can you guys cease being little children?

You consistently ignore the decoupling of wages and house prices that occured in the late 80's when financial markets were deregulated. Everything since has bucked long term trends. We have seen falling real wages, ever increasing asset prices and an increasing share of wealth going those with capital.

We have seen this before - in the roaring 20's - and that didn't end well for anyone. It's simple math, debts can't increase at a faster rate than the ability to repay it indefinitely.

Unfortunately those in power seem to think the lesson we should learn from the great depression was that when banks stopped lending we got a economic crises. The lesson they should have learnt was the excessive build up of private debt that created the inevitable problems, not the tigger that caused the house of cards to collapse.

If you want to restrict your views on house prices, debt bubbles, to a 20 year window and ignore other periods in history that closely resemble what we are seeing today, then don't be surprised when people point out the limitations of your viewpoint.

Lending just delays the inevitable, those in power hope that they can stave off the crisis long enough that it becomes somebody else's problem.

When we look at graphs we need to look over a much longer time frame. After 1971 all hell broke out. The US dollar was no longer backed by gold and the banks started to create their own money. That is when “borrow the max you can” started and maybe it’s reaching a point where that could start to slow down. But I’m sure that the Central bankers have our backs...

Try telling Te Kooti that, he only works in 40 year time frames as a Mr Ashley Church does.

Barfoots, previous percentage annual increase peak was in May 2004 as mortgage rates were rising . The current rate of appreciation is during a period of falling mortgage rates ,let alone mortgage rates that have historically not been lower. Although the rate of increase peaked in May 2004, Barfoots average/median price would increase a further 25 percent in the following 3 years with the OCR reaching 8.25 percent. The current OCR setting is apparent to all, ongoing price changes may surprise.

Quite right.
And what did we learn from the previous experiences; ones that led to the GFC?
Nothing.
What did try to teach us the error of our ways? The GFC.
And whilst that has been ignored and subverted, yet again, without a doubt one of many things we don't know about 'what's coming' is:
"What letters will we give to the next financial meltdown?"
Perhaps the EB Crisis - the Everything Bubbles all popped at the same time?

The current market started to go stupid in the early 2000s, mostly for Auckland initially, the other centres and by 2004 it had spread to the regions, and it was mostly driven by investors, more than a few from overseas. Simple facts - agreed.

Yes however in dollar amounts however a 10% increase on $300,000 is a lot less than 10% on $1,000,000. What have salaries done in that period I wonder?

Salaries have increased at a much lower pace but interest rates have gone down significantly, meaning that a much higher mortgage is still serviceable, for now

Serviceable, but not as easily attainable. The deposit required is much higher in dollar terms, meanwhile term deposit rates are a pittance.

Relative changes matter, but so do absolute ones.
If the price of a house goes from $100k to $200k, ie 50%, that might be two years of your working life to pay the difference.
If the price of a house goes from $500k to $1m, that would be an entire decade of your working life to pay the difference. Yet you're claiming that it's the same thing, because in both cases it's 50%.
I don't think you're actually that stupid.

That's 100% not 50%

:) got me. Hopefully the point still stands.

Yvil... the last 40 years have been unique. 40 years is a very short time in finance related domains such as property.

Can you plot interest rates against it too? Tell me if you see a relationship. No tell me what you expect interest rates to do over the next 10yrs and what that will mean for house prices?

Well that's the point indeed, will interest rates stay low? Can they raise at all (I think not because there is far too much debt and any significant rises will plunge the country in a proper recession)? Are we going to see much easier credit terms? Imagine 1% interest, interest only, why not never reply your loan, I know it's a shift of paradigm for most but why not? Banks don't really want the mortgages repaid, they're happy with collecting interest income and the owner has the advantages of owning his house over renting, such as security of tenure, freedom to do any alteration etc…

Sure, rates could go lower, but how much lower? (hint retail deposit rates can't go negative) Sure, people could move to interest only, but the debt will start pilling up quicker. Sure you could do no-doc sub-prime loans, package up the debt in CDO's and then ... oh wait.

Everything you propose just delays the inevitable. It doesn't fix the underlying problem that debt can not increase at a rate faster than the ability to service it. Eventually the house of cards will collapse, but the only real question is how/when it will unfold and who the winners and losers will be.

Agreed Miguel

It's kind of physics really

Yvil... you are presuming the RBNZ has complete control over our interest rates. They don't.

Karl, could you please tell that to Adrian Orr?

Yvil... no more than a week ago Ashley Church said interest rates would not go up for at least 4 or 5 years. And now, a mere 7 days later........

And rates were over 8 percent

This is the last hurrah. I know this because Nick from Corelogic confirmed it this morning that the OCR will probably, almost definitely, increase in two years time.

Two years too late?

Three years too late.

So what?

You think NZ is going to have it’s borders closed forever? Just wait when they open them again and that demand comes on.

The rate of growth has to slow of course but it ain’t going backwards.

What are you even talking about? If anything there will be a massive wave of young people leaving the country, what would you do if you cannot find a future not even talking about affording your own home?

The last normalised net immigration figures are something like 10 or 20 immigrants for every 1 kiwi that leaves. It simply won’t matter if you’re young kiwi theory materialises when borders are open again.

The vast majority of kiwis always come home in the end when they realise that the world is highly competitive and especially so if you want to raise a family. They’ll be back.

ld.. but surely sooner rather than later, in the interests of NZ, these immigration settings will be reviewed and slashed accordingly. One an only hope.

10
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Hmmm, I wonder wether money printing could have something to do with this incredible activity and price rises??? Orr is still not sure himself

Yvil

No... House price rises are based on economic productivity and economic fundamentals.

Ho ho ho

I think you are onto something there Yvil.... needs further investigation.

excellent news
Barfoot & Thompson for sportsman of the year

Jacinda and Grant haven't made any "decisions" yet... there are too many stuffed bunnies to save and too many pies to eat first.

Don't hold your breath, based on what they have said in the past they are planning to:
- Give some sort of money to FHB for their deposit. Guess where that extra money will go right away?
- Increase the bright line test. Effectively pushing sales of homes recently bought by investors further in time.

They may as well just give up and start planning some workshops to start pondering what the driver was for the latest kiwi braindrain.

Yes wonderful news it makes us all richer. If everyone sold their houses and spent it all on products there would be no inflation because house price inflation is based on economic fundemantals and productivity.

Keep it coming!! Lets see where this ends to. I believe in housing affordability! If it's extremely inflated and unaffordable, it's gonna fall one day!!

I agree. I want to see it pushed to the limit like a Soviet athlete with endless supplements and resources. There has to be a ceiling for house prices so the quicker we get there the quicker we can move on!

Flo Jo was also looking fantastic and moving at record speeds until......

Flo Jo was clearly drugged to the eyeballs and then dropped dead. Then again the property market is pretty Juiced but I think its still a long way from dead.

The last record was set under Clark’s Labour government. Labour is the party of housing unaffordability. Everyone aboard the Labour housing Ponzi scheme!!

I think that's largely, if not totally, coincidence.
The boom from 2001 to 2006 was largely a product of a huge wave of wealthy poms and returning kiwis hitting our sures with lots of pounds sterling.
The boom over the last year or so is largely due to monetary policy in response to covid.

Sure about that? If we can't accurately count who is coming to NZ and what they're buying now, you think we could 20 years ago? Referring to the reporting around returning kiwis in 2020, where it was reported that they were both buying up a storm and only single digit percentages of the market.

Sure, I don't have data to hand. It's a hunch. I am sure the data would show larges volumes of immigration from the UK post 9/11 though. Both English people and returning kiwis.
In those days Auckland property was a bargain by international standards, especially when one pound equalled 3 kiwi dollars.
It certainly wasn't a low interest rate environment back then.

I thought returning kiwi’s were doing 2 weeks in isolation then going straight to Australia.

I thought returning kiwi’s were doing 2 weeks in isolation then going straight to Australia.

Cant believe National arnt making Hay on this.

Perfect ammo for any party in opposition to attack the credibility of the current govt

Exactly, it's part of the reason DonKey was elected. He ignored it of course after he was elected, no reason Crusher couldn't do the same.

Neither of the major parties genuinely care. End of story.

We would expect this under Nats - its why most voted elsewhere. To see the same under a majority lab govt is a very very sad day. Perhaps Cindy will get bank funding for her UN job.

Tony Alexanders comments from his most recent agents survey
"The market overall remains exceptionally strong, but there are early signs of a pullback starting with fewer new investors and first home buyers being seen, and a rise in the net percent of agents saying they are seeing investors wanting to sell "

If you in the slot to retire - now is definitely the time to cash out to the moon.

Govt fiddles while kiwi workers get crushed under rent and mortgage enslavement. Country voted in this Govt to help the average wage payer. So far it looks like all in sell out to housing speculation (aka bank profits).

Will Jacinda and Grant be remembered as the greatest left wing sell out's in the history of NZ...?

No...that honour (?) still resides with Roger and his gifting the freedom to the banks to create this scenario.

Yes our generation will thank Gracinda for the bolstering of their retirement nesteggs. What of the next generation that will be locked out of home ownership. They will look back at reports such as these with utter scorn!

So in January jump was 19% and in February 23% so 4% jump in a year - No wonder. Jacinda Arden and Mr Orr try ti delay announcing any policy to control ponzi as every months adds to the ponzi and therby screwing FHB.

Award for screwing FHB should go to current government as earlier national government though were screwing but it was on the face as never mentioned that will control ponzi - infact were proud if the way they were running and manging the oinzi unlike Jacinda.....

High house prices are being driven by Central Bank action rather then political action. If you give a bank licence to create money (debt) then they are going to lend to anyone with a pulse. 2008 nearly caught them out but they were mostly bailed out. That would have bought down the entire banking system. They have learnt nothing and continue to fight the problem of too much debt by issuing even more debt. It is the only thing they can do! They do not have a tool box. They have a box of matches, and as each week progresses they are getting closer to (accidentally?) lighting the big pile of kindling that is world debt. NZ is no different to anywhere else. It’s not a National/Labour issue it’s a banking issue. Debt from 18 to when you die is their policy and people need to wake up and realise what is going on.

Central bank, yes but if have political will than speculative demand can be controlled.

Government voted have to act in interest and they are acting but for speculators.

August to February BT sales resemble classic bell curve.
August (cf a year earlier) sales were up 41%
Sept up 42%
Oct up 60%
Nov up 61%
Dec up 90%
Jan up 60%
Feb up 40%

Clearly, a mania is dissipating.
Hosepipe of LVR and interest rate cuts is not repeated and conditions altering to moderation.

So, yes, a v strong market, but slowing pace of increase

Labour problem is an old one: to help the bottom 30% costs votes of those in the range 30 - 70% in the income distribution. And that segment has al the floating non-political cuddly votes in it. So, if house prices went down and gov got blame , out you go. So, no, gov will not do anything that makes prices decline , such as building ITSELF, a shit load of houses, rather than relying on private sector. labour still inthrall to 1980s rules of finance in NZ

Property investment is the bastion of financial security for your family.

With ongoing quantitative easing and low interest rates, your property will act as a hedge against devaluation on your hard earned money- they can print money but they can't print houses.

Forget about doomsday prophets, they had been proven wrong again as recent as today. If you'd held off buying last month because you subscribed to them, it would have cost you $21,000 of pure capital gains today!

As supply trend is bolted downwards in the long term, there is no reason to believe that even in the most severe scenario, any market correction would be meaningful.

Ignore virtue signalling posters who frequently beguile you with a false moral dilemma. Given the same circumstances, most of those same people would be out buying in full force. The only reason for all that false moral dilemma is to compensate for their own personal bad decisions- why should you suffer the consequences of bad decisions of first home dreamers (FHDs)? You are not responsible for the personal decisions of others, you are only accountable for you own destiny and your family.

Investors and first home buyers with viable deposits should not wait but go all in.

And yes, anything and everything. No one can print real assets.

Is this meant to be satire???

Tim is that you?

This comment is an example of why I despise what my country has become

People ain't seem nothing yet in Auckland and Wellington. Once the councils do all the rezoning for 6 storey apartments that the National Policy Statement- Urban Development demands, we'll have another round of house price boom...

Since I joined interest.co, five and a half years ago, there has been a fierce struggle between the so called spruikers and the the rest, DGMs if you like, over what the future held for the property market.

I remember making what I thought was a fairly innocuous comment probably something like, "you can't go wrong buying a house in Auckland" in response to someone claiming it was certain that prices would collapse soon, look at Ireland and so on and on. It was game on from then with many running battles.

Now, five years later, it's hard to deny that the spruikers property realists have been consistently correct, their advice should have been listened to. Yvil, THE MAN2 especially have been consistently correct.

Now it's devolved to purely an argument about the ethics of it all. From the point of view of predicting the future the property bulls have been totally on the money.

Agree. One word of caution is to be mindful of using past performance as an indicator of future performance. You should always live in the now. Back then I also predicted property prices going up in response to QE's lower interest rates. It's actually really simple. If someone can borrow more from the bank than you did to buy your house then your house price goes up. If house prices go up then owners equity goes up and they can borrow more. If prices get too high, because people using their new hard earned equity to purchase rentals are outbidding owner occupiers, then you lower interest rates which allows those owner occupiers to borrow more as it lowers their servicing cost. Basically it's all built on the ability of the next person to borrow more and that's determined by interest rates. We have always had the ability to lower interest rates to combat high house prices and so the cycle goes. EXCEPT now the OCR is at 0.25% so our ability to ensure the next person can borrow more looks limited from here. That means house price appreciation looks limited from here (regardless of it's past performance).

So why have “one roof” estimated valuations in Totara Heights, South Auckland gone down recently?