House prices still rising in Auckland and Wellington but down in Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Canterbury; Big drop in Auckland sales volumes year-on-year

House prices were a bit of a mixed bag in August. The national median selling price dropped slightly to $492,000 compared to $505,000 in July, and its all time high of $506,000 set in May.

As the chart below shows, the national median price has remained within a fairly narrow price band since March, suggesting that overall prices throughout the country have been flattening out.

However there remain significant differences around the country.

In Auckland the median house price is continuing to climb and hit a new record of $842,500 in August. That's up 13.9% compared to August last year.

The median price is also rising in Wellington where it hit $461,000 in August, although it remains just below the peak of $465,000 set in May.

Prices are also rising in Hawke's Bay, Nelson/Marlborough, Otago and Southland, but dropped back in August in Northland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu/Whanganui, Canterbury and Central Otago/Lakes (refer chart below).

The number of homes being sold was also a mixed bag, with the REINZ recording 7527 residential sales in August, up 3% compared to July but down 3% compared to August last year.

However there was a big drop in the number of homes sold in Auckland, with 2413 sales recorded in August, down 4.2% compared to July and down a massive 19.6% compared to August last year.

Within the Auckland region prices were up strongly in the central isthmus suburbs that fell within the old boundaries of the former Auckland City Council, where the median price in August was $911,750, up 8.9% compared to July.

Across the country the number of homes available for sale remains tight, which will help maintain upward pressure on prices, although the number of homes available for sale in Auckland is slowly increasing.

"The indications are that the struggle for stock is the biggest single factor driving market behaviour and price expectations across the country as we await spring listings," REINZ spokesman Bryan Thomson said.

However median prices dropped back 1.6% on the North Shore and were down 0.4% in Waitakere compared to July.

Within the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regions, Hamilton's median price dropped from $510,00 in July to $493,750 in August (-3.2%) but that was still up 18.8% compared to August last year.

In Tauranga the median was flat on $544,000 compared to July and in Mt Maunganui/Papamoa it dropped from $647,500 in July to $640,000 in August.

The biggest drop in the median price occurred in Queenstown, where it fell from $910,000 in July to $796,000 in August (-12.5%).

However even after August's fall, Queenstown's median price remains 44% higher than it was in August last year.

Click on the link below to view the REINZ's full regional sales statistics and commentary:

PDF iconREINZ Residential Regional Commentary - August 2016.pdf

Median price - REINZ

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NZ total
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The 'Northland' chart will be drawn here.
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Northland
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Auckland
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The 'Waikato' chart will be drawn here.
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Waikato
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Bay of Plenty
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Gisborne
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Hawke's Bay
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Manawatu
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Taranaki
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Wellington
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Southland
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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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84 Comments

As I said recently it is still a good time to buy in Auckland as this bull run has some distance to run still.

With what came out yesterday it would appear you are correct. There was, however, a whiff of desperation about our Dear Leader as he struggles to keep the whole thing afloat until the November election. Looks like we'll be seeing some hot inflows from Asian "investors" getting the finger from the Aussies and Canadians.
Somehow it's supposed to be all for the good of our first home buyers.

Everyone's holding on to their hats until Summer kicks in. That will be the real telling point. Historically there is a pretty good uptick in the summer months. Just depends if the party will keep on going...

It's actually getting quite hysterical now. I know it's bad for me and I understand it won't get better for first home buyers and we're royally screwed, but I can't help but have a laugh at it. Even my colleague at the desk next to me who's buying every property he can whenever he's got a free moment is awkwardly laughing about it. I do sense some panic from him in a way but I think he's pretty safe.
He had a moan yesterday about how much his recent rental is costing him in renovations, I suggested selling it as he's probably much hundred of thousands on it already. Shut him up for a while.

I find that you are way more hysterical. Like how you CANNOT move away from Auckland but MUST own a house here at extremely cheap prices. I am generally sympathetic but you come across as extremely whiny and childish across many posts.

Did you tell him your "plight" and get him to sell to you?

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Our beloved leader JK has clearly taken sides and will not stop the tsunami of buyers and dodgey money flowing into NZ, plus speculators flicking houses on a daily basis.
Does National really think this is the best path for NZ, fighting each other and overseas buyers for our limited housing stock..taking illegal funds...not collecting tax on huge capital gains.
Gobsmacked ....but like you laughing now

Tired Immigrant.
Why would you feel sympathetic towards me when you say 'extremely cheap prices'? Surely if they were extremely cheap you'd have nothing to feel sympathetic towards me about? Because, with 3 jobs I could surely get the deposit together right?

Either I don't understand you or you are not understanding what I said. Probably the latter. Try to re-read what I said again about "extremely cheap prices" which was my understanding of what you are demanding.

My sympathy towards you was mustered by your initial complaints about extremely high prices until you started blabbering about how you can't leave Auckland and how you had to save and save because you can't leave Auckland yet must have a house blah blah.

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Thanks for pointing out my low intelligence, which by the way I have never hidden. This isn't about me anymore. I'm worried for my friends kids, for the future of Auckland and NZ. I cannot see how this is good for the next generation. I have accepted my fate but I cannot possibly see how any promising kid will benefit from this sitiuation in the future. Why shouldn't I be angry? We have absolutely NO ONE in our corner, we are told day in day out we are entitled whiners. We are told day in day out we made the wrong choices. Why shouldn't I express my disdain? Why shouldn't I fight you on this?

Totally agree!!!!

Have you given the Salvation army a ring? Maybe they will be interested in your sad story. Geeeees.

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And people wonder why I'm angry?

Why , are you angry ?

... chin up , friend ... it's only money , not life or death ...

And that is exactly what I'll be telling the speculators and foreign buyers , after the " Hindenberg " crashes and burns ... with my patented Gummy smile of course , to lessen their pain ...

... and that is a dead set certainty , oh yes , this housing market is inflated to insanity and beyond ... it is just a matter of conjecture when the bubble will burst , not if ...

Stay happy buddy : have a Gummy Bear , and smile !

Oprah, is that you?

Don't you listen to the nasties HW. You are just voicing the frustrations of hundreds of thousands of people. The worst thing is that the people ridiculing you are the ones who are obviously in a better situation so why they feel the need to vent at you, I have no idea. Life is not always so simple that you can just leave a city just like that.

" Life is not always so simple that you can just leave a city just like that."

Completely agree. Many have done it though.

Agree. I also know people who have moved away but can't find work so are having to come back to Auckland and sleep on friends couches during the week just to maintain an income

onward and upward - you are really the whinny one here. The reality is that this is a bubble; it will burst and a lot of self-described experts will lose money. The really worrying aspect is that the longer it lasts the more people will be sucked in. This is a pattern that has been repeated throughout the world - and New Zealand is far more vulnerable because we don't lack land. Hardworking should bless his stars that he is not in the current ponzi scheme.

Unfortunately HW, a very large population of this country are doing well out of this and they have a current government backing them along with a central bank.
Id forget waiting for some moral courage from them. The market will correct at some point but it will hurt everyone when it does. Some as you are well aware simply don't care about anyone but themselves.
That won't change. I feel you need to step back for health reasons alone. Don't let it do other personal harm.
I really think Auckland is a lost cause

You can certainly express your disdain and I am always happy to hear and understand more. You have, however, not demonstrated the steps you have taken to improve your situation (one of which is explaining what entitles you to a "affordable" house in Auckland and nowhere else).

You mentioned about your colleague buying up all the houses etc. Have you considered approaching him to understand how he does it and whether you can participate? BUT if you have taken the view that prices will fall or crash, then as they say: lie in the bed that you have made. Whining (here and anywhere) gets you nowhere and yes, you have been told that you are making wrong choices by several commentators here. Life is about choices; I doubt any "investor" or "purchaser" of houses here have been made at gunpoint to buy them.

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explaining what entitles you to a "affordable" house in Auckland and nowhere else

I can do that.

Back in the late 1990s early 2000s I was a manager of a 100+ staff at a head office + a number of branches in a government business. The higher ups in that bureaucratic pecking order wanted me to consider paying my Auckland staff a higher rate than my everywhere-else staff. To me this was a no go - for reasons of national equity. Nurses in Invercargill should be paid what nurses in Auckland are paid. If government starts/started making these pay distinctions, the cost of government to everyone would balloon.

Auckland's problem is that it MUST have affordable housing choices - or else it won't have teachers, nurses, police officers, social workers, or almost anyone on a government payroll.

In my profession now (planning) - local government is already paying different rates for planners in Auckland - again, all that does is raise the cost of government.

So tired_immigrant, eat that - Auckland MUST and I mean MUST have affordable housing options.

You are a naive jerk.

Affordable housing could mean affordable rentals though. Auckland has plenty of rental properties that are fairly affordable.

Renting doesn't provide stability. Families need stability.

Have rented for 20 years and like the fact i don't have to fix stuff all the time..

"To me this was a no go - for reasons of national equity. Nurses in Invercargill should be paid what nurses in Auckland are paid. If government starts/started making these pay distinctions, the cost of government to everyone would balloon."

Isn't this the problem? Given the varying cost of living in the various cities, I am not sure what "national equity" are you talking about and I am not sure how it will follow that the "cost of government to everyone will balloon". Sure total costs may increase if not managed properly but it enables services to be provided to areas where the highest incomes are. If businesses pay more for people living in certain locations (just look at various places around the world), I am not sure why you think government is so special. And don't take it from me; have a look at UK's teachers' salaries where they differentiate between London, nearby suburbs and outside London as an example: http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/TrainingEventsandPublications/NASUWTPublication...

It's known as a cost of living allowance or an uplift. And I think a commentator below addressed the problem about having affordable housing - there is a distinction between owning and renting.

Before you call me a naive jerk, do some research first. Otherwise, you come off as a ranting ill-informed hillbilly. I also hope you are no longer a manager at planning; I consider that as mismanagement. Or maybe that explains why planning is so terrible here.

EVEN if you are right (and I am being generous) about being "equitable", you will end up with a situation where there are not enough teachers in the areas where they are needed and too much where they are not; "equitable" to teachers at a cost of inefficiency and misallocation of resources to the taxpayers.

Yes, the UK is the perfect example of what we don't want to happen here - and yes, I know other jurisdictions have got themselves into this ridiculous pickle - it's talked about lots in planning literature.

It's not a cost of living allowance, it's a cost of housing allowance - and I don't want to pay it in my taxes just because Auckland house prices are out-of-control - highest in the world on a price-to-income ratio.

Check out this link about Vancouver - under the heading "Leaving Town";
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/12/25/vancouver-s-hot-housing-market-s...

Forget the distinction between owning and renting - our tenancy laws provide no stability/security for tenants. And moving costs are horrendous - water down the drain for something you had no choice over as a tenant.

Nope, no other solution aside from affordable housing. Misallocation of resources? LOL - so we could reduce the pay of teachers in Invercargill, as a means to pay the teachers in AKL more?

Most NZ economists are on board now - Auckland MUST have affordable houses. The differential in prices between it and the rest of NZ has become too great - the gap between it and the rest-of-the-world is becoming too great.

The party could be over tomorrow and the Government knows it and how to do it. That's why JK is coming out and stating that he thinks it his responsibility to 'protect' homeowners equity!. But, sadly for him, accommodation supplements, even though there is a differential for AKL - that differential isn't great enough. Teachers, nurses, police will all be lobbying for the housing component of cost of living to be compensated. Welcome to a right mess. Trying to manage a soft landing isn't going to be easy - he's hoping for a slow decrease in prices - and biding his time.

None of the solutions are attractive, but affordable housing there must be!

Absolutely nurses, teachers and policemen should be paid more money in Auckland than invercargill, how on earth did we drop the ball on this inequity?

It'd mean double subsidy/welfare for landlords, rents will go up to scoop any rise in wages which would trigger the need for top ups from MSD. No wonder the greedy buggars want higher pay for these vital people in Auckland.

Man, these have been a whimsical few comments.
You would do well to understand the distinction between nominal and real terms. Oh, and how the market works.

Perhaps we have finally found out the reason as to why we have such substandard medium and long term planning in Auckland and New Zealand, if this is the basis our 'planners' are working off of.

Tired_immigrant, today's latest from London - the model for Auckland in your view;

https://sputniknews.com/europe/20160914/1045300429/uk-housing-crisis-rep...

Great comment Kate you sorted tired_immigrant out... of course big cities need affordable housing for key workers

Houses after all should not be just commodities for investors and foreign buyers (Temp + Stud)

their primary purpose should be to provide shelter

I'd go a bit further and say the purpose of houses is to be HOMES!

In no way did she 'sort him out'.
Mindlessly typing isn't 'sorting someone out'.

No, it's you who appears to have misunderstood. I think where it went wrong was that in your eagerness to be a supercilious dick and get a bit of passive-aggressive bullying in, you wilfully misinterpreted, and thus came to start beating on a strawman of your own construction.

Hope this helps!

I reckon it was not me who started whining in the first place. Don't think I ever wilfully misinterpreted what he/she was pushing for, having observed alot of his/her comments over time. I am perfectly happy to be proven wrong, something that cannot be said for quite a few commentators here.

Proved you wrong - see above.

Did you really?

Yes she did. Take it on the chin.

Hardworker does...Imagine if you could just afford a crappy house way out in the deep West of Auckland and you mortgaged yourself to the hilt to buy it. You end up paying way more in mortgage a week for a place that is further away and needs quite a bit of maintenance. It may not be such a great thing. It may be quite depressing especially if you start worrying about a price crash too. Imagine on the other hand, money in investments, living in a rental you don't have to worry about too much and being free.

Yes, I hear you. I truly do, the latter situation is exactly where I'm at, so maybe I am doing something right. This has given me the boost I needed after my outburst above which I'm sorry about. All afternoon I've felt sick. Thank you Zach. I'm really tired and angry.

Good advice Zac. HW, health really is wealth mate. Don't forget it. This whole housing thing particularly here in NZ is bordering on insanity and will be a disaster at some point. Stay sane, stay healthy, stay cash rich and focus of enjoying the more important things in life. You know what those are, particularly with a spring & summer fast approaching

Thank you Justice! Thank you Zach :) I will, I'll try.

Zachary Smith,

A couple of comments come to mind. First, I think is very unfortunate that we come to a position where many people who want to buy a house in Auckland,have been priced out of the market. It cannot be healthy that Auckland prices are amongst the most expensive in the world,relative to incomes.
However, since it is,then for most,the rental market beckons,but there the system is loaded in favour of the landlord. I would like to see long-term rental agreements become normal. It works in other countries and could work here.

Wait for summer.

What do you think will happen?

Will Big Kev come out to play ?

So are we saying that the new investor rules are going to make absolutely no difference whatsoever even in the short term?

yes, winter months are not very good indicators and can be tricky at times (both ways) ... Auck sales down 19.6% is a worry !! ... That could by itself push prices higher if continued , again summer is coming and these numbers should change ...unfortunately they is no let off in this market for another 12 months ... It would be good if the market finds a ceiling and stops there this summer ..!

Just spoke to agent in Hamilton. He tells me the Auckland buyers are thinning out and he seems to think as the lvrs are forty percent across the board.Auckland buyers are starting to invest in there own backyard again.

Heard exactly the same here in Auckland. A house we viewed has just been reduced in price. Can't imagine it will make a huge difference in long run but may dampen September figures.

What do you think will happen?

sick of RE sticking their cards in my letterbox, why would I sell then I have to buy again happy where I am debt free

Just been talking to a professional in the market, he seems to think that the market is thinning out a bit for the last 6 weeks or so ... and buyers showing up at open homes are much less and some prices are dropping ... but it also depends who you are talking to ... some real estate agents are still selling at good prices ... it will always be the quality and the location of the house that dictates/ affects its sellability in a slow market -- and these will hold their prices ... while the lower quality , old , and rubbish will be left behind ....and eventually drop from prices they did not originally deserve!
We might start seeing Speculators ( masquerading as investors ) start getting nervous and panic a bit ... wont be surprised if a lot of these people would put their second / third properties on the market this summer ter making a coin !! ... Real Investors won't sell , they buy and Hold long term ( and even go out shopping in panic sale markets).
Will be interesting to see how it all plays out ...

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NatBird
real investors = speculators ie the two are the same thing

Any investment is by definition speculation. Both investors & speculators have the exact same risk and returns. Both investors and speculators can hold long terms and short term. Just ridiculous that in NZ we try and differentiate the two because of the silly tax laws.

Overseas such as in the UK they are treated equally. Any property bought outside your main residence is an investment property whether you are after yield, capital gains , want to hold for 1 or 100 years. All subject to stamp duty and capital gains tax. None of this well i just want to rent it BS and wasn't after Capital Gains ...lol

What a joke

Wake up NZ just BS terms no one else uses for real estate.

Just like NZ media definition of foreign buyer being offshore only.

The rest of the developed world classifies all non-citizens as foreign buyers. Foreign students and temp workers are therefore counted as foreign buyers.

There is no joke in this !!....

In NZ property investors are very different to seasonal high income / cash positive people who at times like these don't know/ want to park their cash in any other investment instrument ( and pay tax on profits) while they can "invest" in property and have a negative gearing too ....

so your overseas pattern is not quite what we have here and risk and reward does not define who is in this business for long and who is not .... so they are not the same !!

Real investors do not need to sell they hold long term for yield and capital gain ( just like long term share investors - Not traders).

Foreigners generally don't sell, majority have bought to live in or hold for their kids etc..maybe some have parked money here but again it is an investment ...

So not everything we see/know about overseas applies here ....and every country has its own issues, dynamics, and demographics to deal with ... getting excited about UK or Canada does not help us at all ....

Nat bird did you even read what you wrote ... what a load of gibberish

I read your comment and nothing in it explained how nz property is any different to property in any other country ....

So all my points are still valid

Investors = speculators

Just IRD that has come up with this silly distinction. The risks and returns are exactly the same as the asset and market are the same. Overseas they are taxed equally irrespective of the intention.

Wake up nz

The bright line test is a step in the right direction
The next step would be to tax all investments with capital gains tax on sale irrespective of intention and length

Sorry Joe but there is a difference between 'Investors' and 'Speculators'. Sure there is a big overlap, but the different titles exist to explain some things in a useful way. English is a rich language. I would think the difference is to do with motivations.

Where do you see prices going in Hamilton and tauronga guys

Don't know much about Tauranga .. But it seems to have a mind of its own ... will always be beautiful and attractive to Retired people wanting a piece of that paradise ... Business wise it is actually saturated ... but very attractive for lifestyle block seekers.

Hamilton is strategic and prices have only one direction to go and that is Up, it has always had a lagging price action behind Auckland ( usually 3-5 years to catch up ) .. but it will be the next business and commercial hub in the next 3-5 years ... adding more businesses, employment, the Dry Port, Students, and expansion towards the North and South. With the expressway completed in 2 years it will be so easily connected to Auckland ...
I know people who actually bought nice houses in Hamilton and commute to Auckland for work everyday ...

Thanks for that!!!

Just had 2 open days at elderly relatives property.Only 2 people came along both thought house was worth 360k to 400k.Agents mentioned 450k to 500k when first listed.Be interesting to see what happens this weekend.

Wow !! so where are all the FHBs then ???
Where is this house? and how big is it?

3 bedroom with double garage in Hamilton

Aha !! so these prices make sense now ...
Well , you have a more realistic, stable and competitive market in Hamilton .... out of your numbers, I might suggest that this house would probably worth 400-420K for someone who might fall in love with it if the market is buoyant and the house is in reasonable area and shape .... So a private sale for $400K could be reasonable. Should the house need some TLC then that needs to be taken into account too and the price goes south accordingly...

If the house can only fetch $350 - $360 per week in rent, then it won't be worth more than 360K to an investor ...

but that is just my opinion ..

225-260k for 380 a week in Palmy if your savvy.

Undoubtedly True ...

It's nuts. (The rent being charged for a house in that price range, that is!).

Ask Asian Real Estate Agent , The Asian investor only buys and they don't sell. They have brought so many now its having an effort on the listing numbers.

When the music stops they will all be rushing for the doors, check Melbourne at the moment.

Yes, but the banks there were the cause and effect ... it was silly of them to lend to foreigners in the first place, No wonder why 150,000 units were sold off the plans to chinese investors with 10% down financed by the big 4 banks in AUS --- Greed both ways .. now reaping the rewards !! ...

thanks heavens , We don't have that kind of nonsense here ... only play soft music :) and No oversupply here , lol on the contrary we are begging for 30,000 units today !!
This is a fresh article better read with a cold one ...
http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/australia-six-...

link not working for me - back up now..

You all can't read the facts and figures properly. Auckland house price rises halved
NBR today:

"The latest housing market figures show the Reserve Bank’s latest loan-to-valuation restrictions had a surprisingly mild impact on dragging annual house price inflation down a notch or two in most parts of the country.
Indeed, the pace of annual price inflation in Auckland is now down to single digits.
The Real Estate Institute’s stratified index, based on unconditional sales in August, showed annual house price inflation eased to 11.7% from 16.3% in July while Auckland’s rate eased to 8.2% from 13.6%.

I might not be reading it properly, what does this mean:

Within the Auckland region prices were up strongly in the central isthmus suburbs that fell within the old boundaries of the former Auckland City Council, where the median price in August was $911,750, up 8.9% compared to July.

Does that mean up 8.9% in one month?

That is a lot dolleros.
Serious cash,

Wages in New Zealand increased to 29.67 NZD/Hour in the second quarter of 2016 from 29.48 NZD/Hour in the first quarter of 2016. Wages in New Zealand averaged 20.32 NZD/Hour from 1989 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 29.67 NZD/Hour in the second quarter of 2016 and a record low of 13.07 NZD/Hour in the first quarter of 1989. Wages in New Zealand is reported by the Statistics New Zealand.

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/wages

Good news big daddy so houses in Auckland were only up 80k on the year..... fantastic however the average salary rise of 3k isn't quite covering it

Time for a vancouver tax on existing property purchases by investors and foreign buyers (stud + temp + off shore)

Time for loan to income ratios 4. To 1

4 to 1: Average NZ household income say at $100k means most NZers can only afford a $500k house...what happens when one of the parents has to leave work to look after children, what then a $250k house? why not make it 1 to 1, why don't we just pay cash for our houses then if we cant afford one then the government can just build one for everyone...stuff it, why dont we give back our houses and have the government build us one each.

Why not have houses that are by and large affordable for those that NEED them, this speculative feeding frenzy that has taken over the NZ psyche is extremely ugly.

Works for the UK .... why wouldn't it work for NZ ?

Just irresponsible lending allowing ratio's of more than 4 to 1...... and what you get is credit growth growing at 8.8% pa to 250bln NZD. This is not sustainable.

Like I said Vancouver Tax (15%) on Investors and Foreign (stud & temp) Buyers. Give owner occupiers a chance.

We have the 2nd highest house prices to incomes in the world. This is not a good thing.

meanwhile our government wants to build a new building to replace bowen house(which national sold) because owning the building in the long run is cheaper for the country.
is this not the party that believes in private owners are better than the government?
http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/parliament-expansion-on-the-cards-2016...
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1609/S00238/no-new-parliamentary-buildi...

Oh FFS. Funny how that's the total opposite for what they claim for state housing.

If some preening narcissist wants a major construction project so he can get a kickback from the developers and get his name on a foundation stone, how about putting that money and construction capacity into some housing instead? Talk about skewed priorities.

Thank goodness for Winston Peters.

People still haven't grasped the concept of Intensification and that this is part of the reason Auckland house prices are going up. Many(including myself) are in the position that where we live can now have 2 houses built on the site rather than one-not that I have any intention to sell-however the Unitary Plan has just pushed up the value of the land. If left for another 20 years blocks of flats will probably be allowed to be built on the same sites.

People forget AKL has very low density housing compared with other international cities.

Yes, in planning terms we call it "betterment" - you have made a private gain as a result of a public administration decision. In many jurisdictions, a form of additional land tax would be levied on your property to compensate for that betterment. And the reverse is also true, where a planning decision negatively affects a property value (i.e. a private property right), land tax is lowered to compensate (for example lower land rates when a large roading project ends up in your 'backyard')..