"The housing gap in Auckland is bigger than is being talked about," says CoreLogic

Less than half the number of new homes that Auckland needed last year were actually built, according to property data company CoreLogic.

"Our analysis looked behind the building consents data to reveal what's really going on and the picture isn't particularly pretty," CoreLogic's Head of Research Nick Goodall said.

CoreLogic's Property Market & Economic Update Report for July/August found that population projections for Auckland suggested 13,500 new homes need to be built in the city each year, but less than 6000 were built last year.

"The housing gap is bigger than is being talked about," Goodall said.

The report found that building consents were trending down in Auckland and were flat across the rest of the country.

"The trend in Auckland is particularly troubling in light of the need to massively increase house building in Auckland for the next few decades to meet projected population growth," it said.

"Our own analysis has shown that while Auckland consents increased by almost 10,000 in the past year, the housing stock increased by less than 6000 dwellings.

The report also found that sales activity was continuing to trend down, with sales volumes in Auckland down 32% compared to the same time last year.

"It's not just Auckland either," the report ;said.

"Hamilton is down 28%, although it looks to have bottomed out now, as does Tauranga.

"Wellington is now showing a very real and consistent decline, down 17% year on year.

"Dunedin is the only main centre that looks to be going through a typical winter cycle with volumes similar to last year."

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76 Comments

Chief economist ANZ Bank. Property focus July 2017. " In Auckland , where housing shortages are supposedly most prevalent rents are growing at 2.9 % y/y pace. However that is down from 3.5 % y/y just 12 months prior. Modest rental inflation is a signal that housing shortages was not the key reason house prices exploded in Auckland between 2010-2016 "

Who said that, Bagrie? This was obvious to anyone who cared to look at the rent and price data. This analysis is spot on.

Are saying we can import 40000 people plus per year, only build 6000 houses, and not have a housing shortage?

Look at the rent numbers. They are going nowhere. If there was truly a shortage driving prices, both rents and prices would be moving in broadly similar directions. They are not. While increasing owner occupier is a driver of price increases, it's not the driver of the scale of price increases we have see . It's a credit bubble, pure and simple.

No it's not a credit bubble. Inner city homes rents are going up. Just all the cheap investment grade housing keeps the median down.

Wow. You can't even bring yourself to accept the data. Both the bond data and trademe show v modest increase in rents as an average across Auckland. The MBIE HAM study showed that rental affordablity had actually IMPROVED in Auckland up to the end of 2015. I can't see anything that has changed since then in terms of rental prices. Any increase in rent is completely disproportionate to the increase in prices. If rents were increasing in central Auckland you would see an increase in yields. You don't, yields are pitiful at 3-4%.

At the same time, household debt to income has gone to 170%, from 80% in 1996. And this mortgage credit has gone straight into house prices.

The data does not indicate a serious shortfall in housing accomodation. It seriously looks like a credit bubble. Please try to be rational.

Good grief.

To be rational would require acknowledging a credit bubble and a housing shortage are not mutually exclusive.

A credit bubble, inflates prices of goods for which credit can be obtained. Rent is not a good for which credit can easily be obtained.

A housing shortage will cause rents to rise if the rental population can afford rent rises. A housing shortage will not cause rent rises if the rental population crowds into existing houses.

Relative rental affordability has improved, not declined. Rentals are not unusually unaffordable. Rents represent the price of accomodation, stripped of credit growth. You agree with that. Housing shortages do cause rents to rise sharply, see the aftermath of the Christchurch quakes. Also note the unusually high level of investor purchases. It's a classic speculative credit bubble. In 15 years time kids will probably study it at school. Then they will understand why daddy was made a bankrupt.

After an earthquake you have a lot of rich people with well paying jobs forced into rental accommodation, a flood of insurance pay-outs and lots of new reconstruction jobs are created. Rents go up.

In a building slowdown there is a suppression of a normal class of economic activity, the construction sector, which partially suppresses wages amongst tenants. Rents don't go up.

I don't know how you measure the stimulatory effect of an earthquake in terms of income. People lose their jobs, people leave, new people come in, some people get income replacement via insurance. But last tme I looked the most immediate and significant effect of an earthquake is....buildings fall down. So Christchurch post earthquake is to me an obvious supply issue, hence both prices and rents hugely increased (relatively proportionately?) post quake.

FYI - By the end of 2016 $19billion insurance was paid out for the Canterbury earthquakes, this might have had an impact.

Sure, and the vast majority of this was for reinstatement costs, not business interruption or loss of income cover. If you lost your job, your income may not be protected. So the earthquake had positive and negative effects on demand (aggregate incomes). It certainly had a significant obvious adverse effect on supply. Lots of buildings were unusable, and whole residential areas were red zoned.

Landlords hiked rents after the earthquake, because the rental payments were coming direct from the EQC. Yes I remember. Landlords could charge what they liked, and nobody cared, because if you lost your home, you got free rent, courtesy of EQC.

My beloved Gareth Morgan said approximately 2 years ago - we have a demand problem not supply. With the overseas buyers and specuvestors jumping on the gravy train (which may turn into diarrhea train shortly) frantically selling and buying to each other...Daffodil anyone ?

Im not going to use the term bubble but it is indeed because of credit that house prices exploded upwards.

That's the easy bit. What's your view on WHY that has happened. Is it owner occupier demand, or is it speculative demand ie purchases in expectation of capital gains by both investors and owner occupiers? Rents would indicate, it's the latter?

My best estimate is that there is some amount of shortage that would cause affordability to be stretched in any circumstances, but the majority of the rise was resultant from interest rate cuts.
Affordability is a band, when scarcity is low prices move towards the upper end of the band, and visa versa. However affordability can only be stretched so far, for moves of the scale we have seen over the last 15 years you need to move the entire band upwards and you do that by changing the underlying cost fundamentals, mostly interest rates.

Interest rate cuts explain people can CAN borrow, but it doesn't explain why they HAVE borrowed. Why have people bid up the cost of houses so much, so far beyond its accomodation (ie rental) value?

I think we agree increased owner occupier demand is a factor, but it's limited. Isn't the reality that many purchasers have borrowed to the max because they believe prices are going up and whatever they pay there will be someone lining up (the "greater fool") to take it of heir hands at a higher price? Investor yelds are so low, can't the only rationale be assumptions of guaranteed capital gain ie it's a speculative purchase?

And I don't think we have just seen a movement of the "band". Plainly people who were in the band have fallen out of it ie basically people who service debt from salary. For a large chunk of them current prices are unaffordable. Affordability has deteriorated significantly. Why? Because the increase in prices has advantaged those who already own property, especially investors, who can releverage their new equity to fund ever more purchases. It's like the private equity boom, where trade purchasers of companies were losing out to financial purchasers ie privare equity who were taking in more and more leverage as the banks threw money at them. Companies who actually made stuff and wanted to buy other companies could barely get a look in, and when credit contracted much private equity was exposed as the one trick pony it really was, that trick bring debt and leverage.

You can only charge so much for rent, poor people can't afford 10% yoy increases every year. There is something wrong with you if you think 6,000 houses is enough for 70,000 immigrants + natural population increase, which given the high Maori and Pascifika population in Auckland is bound to growing much faster in the 'renter' category than the 'owner' category.

I appreciate the migrant numbers are big, but excess accomodation demand that would explain the huge price increases just isn't feeding into the rent figures. So, we should be asking...does this excess demand over supply for housing as accommodation (as opposed to an investment) really exist? To put it another way, are the crazy prices caused by a shortage of houses to invest in, not a shortage of houses to live in?

That 40,000 is the supposed immigration into Auckland?
What I want to know is; how do they work out (apart from an actual census) what is happening to internal migration and where are the newcomers settling? Something just doesn't add up unless there are tens (hundreds?) of thousands sleeping under bridges or living in garages. I know this is going on, plus overcrowding but suspect the figures are inaccurate due to outward internal immigration out of Auckland not being properly accounted for. You don't need to fill out a form if you move; do they just guess?
You can't move for ex Aucklanders around here.

I sometimes ask beggars where they were born before giving them five bucks. I haven't come across any non Kiwis yet. I'd still give it to them regardless, just doing a bit of research. When we have foreign beggars we know we have definitely gone too far.

I would have assumed having any beggars was too far.

I would have assumed it's "a sign of our success" and "a good problem to have", as Bill English describes our other negative social traits at the moment.

What happened was that for a relatively small increase in rentals, people found different accommodation options. Over a quarter of Sydney's population life in apartments. In comparison Auckland has a very high proportion of stand alone houses.This means that there is lots of opportunity for more flatmates in houses; adult children staying at home, or taking in borders. When you look at how much of the net immigration is an increase in overseas students you can see how the assumption of 2.5 people per household may overstate the need.

I think Core Logic has kept centering on the ratio of immigration to house construction to continually paint a picture of house price inflation, missing the point that at higher accommodation costs people find alternative options. I actually also believe that their previous assertion that prices would go up further misses the fundamental economics of housing. It was also a risky projection when so many may buy houses on their analysis. For instance, I believe we will see a lot of industry leave Auckland because of house prices.

The first paragraph seems well founded but industry wont leave Auckland because of house prices. Auckland population is growing, its economy is growing and its wages are growing. Industry will come to Auckland.

Haven't you lot talked to Wild Bill?
It's just crazy that all you researchers can't validate the government's numbers on the shortage.

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What a surprise!
It is so difficult to build in NZ that it is unbelievable!
Lets see...
Topograpic survey $2500, project $15000, Building Consent $5000, Water / waste water connection $15000 (Watercare only!) Actual drainage work - $25000...
This is over $62000 .... and this is assuming you have power on site. and now you need to spend BIG BUCKS for the actual building. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for a regular John Kiwi !!!

Why you buy a section from a developer, isn't the water and waste connection paid when the developer does the subdivision, when they pay the the infrastructure cost? In my area it was, and have water to the site edge, and a sewage connection inside the site. I believe they also have to pay for power and fibre to the site edge too.

I'm referring to my personal experience when I wanted to do the sleep-out/guest house at the back of the section with the toilet in it. As it is putting 'additional load on infrastructure' you need to cover the costs. Funny enough when the 'guest' will s**t into existing pipe - there is no extra infrastructure load - what a nonsense!
You could put a organic compost toilet .... but you cant do it in the city! So you need to PAY PAY PAY...

$5000 for building consent as this is the cost of verifying the documentation by the council. I though that the council employees are paid from the taxes I pay every month...

Yes unfortunately it's much cheaper to do it illegally and hope you don't get caught or rip it out if you do.
I think they should make anything under 100m2 exempt from building consent. Plumbing ok so long as done by registered plumber.

Except it will devalue the property, as any careful buyer will pick it up that it needed consent etc. ALso once the agents know, they have to disclose it. I can understand the cost, because otherwise people are piggy backing on existing users, and it places additional strain on infrastructure. So everyone's rates then have to go up.

The appeal of Tiny Houses becomes apparent......none of the above required, but a definite no-no for Claustrophobes, or those with Intimacy Issues.....YMMV

Yes although in NZ you aren't even allowed to build a tiny house unless it is under 10m2 which is very tiny.

You can add architects 10% of the cost of the build, engineers, geotechs. It is impossible unless you have a huge amount of money. Unless the government give some sort of relief in the form of maybe a cut in GST which applies to all people that want to build, not just FHB, and an enquiry into prices fixing, houses will not be built.

Yet another reason no one is building smaller affordable houses. If you are gonna spend 100k on paperwork and pipes regardless of the size of the house, you may as well make it worthwhile.

Exactly, you would be mad, it makes better economical sense to buy an existing house and make alterations as and when you can afford it. The profit the main building companies are making is outrageous specifically around their kitchens, bathrooms etc. (They say they are passing on their discount, but I assure you they are not, they make up the price difference elsewhere)

This is precisely why for most of the 20th century the government was involved (via HNZ, and public-private partnerships) in increasing the supply of affordable housing. There's precious little motivation for private developers to create affordable housing, when all the profit is in bigger houses for older folks. This farce that has evolved over the last two decades was not the norm in NZ in the past, when the government saw it as pretty important that people doing average jobs were able to have a path to home ownership.

Since these efforts have been abandoned, those born early enough to get in when things were still affordable (from these earlier efforts) have seen the subsequent scarcity hand them an unearned lottery win, at the ultimate cost of the following generations.

Funnily enough, Housing NZ doesn't seem to build leaky houses either.

In fact all of those costs should be reflected in the land value.

Actually they are reflected in land costs, which is slightly different.

I think the point is that without the tackling costs in each component of a build the profit will just be transferred between land/materials/labour like a game of wack-a-mole. If land is cheap Fletchers can charge more for materials. If materials are cheap buyers will bid more on land.

I don't think a GST cut would work. They're all useless price gougers. Fletchers/Carters have all the products tied up under stupid certifications. Trades people will pad out invoices if you're not really careful.

The best thing would be to allow people to build on their own land whatever they want as long as it can be insured. This is Act's policy.

My wife is fed up trying to build a house and just wants to plonk a relocatable down. Of course that's not allowed with all the NIMBYism here.

That is a very uncomfortable 7 people per house.... with immigration at current levels to Auckland, say 43,000 and 6000 houses built... The numbers do not add up, we dont want to build at a faster rate than what we already are, we should cut immigration by two thirds.

That makes sense. One third would still be higher than the majority of countries. The experiment with unusually high immigration has been continuing for decades with little success. Now we don't have a large exodus of Kiwis to Oz and Europe it certainly is causing problems. The main difference between Labours 9 years of immigration and Nationals 9 years is the later has seen us move to low wage immigrants which is bad for low qualified Kiwis but may have the minor advantage that they are more willing to crush themselves into our limited inventory of Auckland houses.

I feel the need to point out that the other article today was that Sales and Prices are falling year on year....

But HERE we have a shortage in housing that's getting worse year on year....

So New Zealand has management to break the fundamentals of Economics by having a shortage in supply and a shortage in demand at the same time.

Well done guys!! That's amazing!

"The housing gap is bigger than is being talked about,"

Sooo .. All you Doomsters and chicken littles want house prices to Crash eh?
How will that be possible when we cannot build enough to meet the increasing demand?? and in a time when bank lending is so tight?

Keep calling for a crash guys and you will be the only ones who will look like fools -

Oh! remember Vancouver?

Asset bubbles don't burst because a minority of people "will" prices down. The same minority are also not "fools" by entertaining the idea that bubbles exist. "Fool" is a harsh word. However, what we do know about bubbles is that the "majority" don't really admit the possibility that bubbles exist, not because of their wisdom and perceptual powers, but mainly through their emotional defense systems (govts and media manipulate this to their own advantage). When bubbles pop, the vast majority become aware after the fact. .

You never know eco chicken, a change of government might make all that projected population growth disappear like a fart in the wind.

Lol. A change in Gov , will stall the market for 3 years !! that's all ...

House prices in labours tenure grew by a higher percentage than national, but heh, who likes an inconvenient truth?

Well, we sure are lucky that National identified there was a crisis, campaigned on that, then followed up with effective action to improve home affordability over the next nine years, eh? Oh, wait...

dp

triple post

How the heck did this system post my comment three times? I must have almost as many personalities as DGZ!

Look at the rent numbers. Rents in Auckland are going nowhere. If there was truly a shortage driving prices, both rents and prices would be moving in broadly similar directions. They are not. While increasing owner occupier is a driver of price increases, it's not the driver of the scale of price increases we have see It's a credit bubble, pure and simple.

Lol, That's right smart Boobster --- rents are going nowhere but UP

here is some homework for you :
https://www.crockers.co.nz/research-hub/auckland-rental-prices/auckland-...

Trademe and bond deposit figures for auckland show modest or zero growth YOY, and any growth is completely disproportionate to price increases. And that's been the pattern for the last 5 years.

The crockers figures show some falls but mostly increases. Many increases are between 1-3%. Some sre larger, but there's no sense of the weighting between the various categories. So it's not clear this analysis is contrary to the trademe aggregate averages, it may well be consistent with it.

Few more facts, please....

Eco Bird and tothepoint now both refer to you as "Boobster". Must have forgotten which login to use.

(yes, same person with 2 accounts)

The simpler explanation is that one of them used it first, the other thought it was funny and started using it too. It seems a bit desperate to accuse commenters of having multiple accounts.

I think i can deal with Eco Turd and Missedthepoint

The point that people are making is that the prices weren't based on fundamental demand (which would have been reflected in rentals) but rather an on-going expectation that house prices would continue to rise. Effectively too much price escalation expectation was built into the price

Most of the price was based on fundamental demand, however that fundamental demand is drying up at this price point and with the additional restrictions imposed by the reserve bank. Property will (maybe/hopefully) trend downwards until it finds a price where there is adequate demand and that demand can be bought forward if the reserve bank chooses to lower rates or remove LVR restrictions. The proportion of the market that buys thinking about the short term gain is fantastically small. Interest rates roughly halved and prices have consequentially roughly doubled, there is nothing notable about that, its just mathematically what was known would occur. Interest rates change the fair value equilibrium and in Auckland a shortfall in housing stretched affordability and those two factors will be almost 100% of the change in house prices. Overseas buying and a possible speculative overshoot adds the froth, but most of the rise came off the back of interest rates and not speculation. The froth will typically cause a correction with a slight overshoot but for anything more substantial youd likely need rate hikes. Personally Id be pretty excited if we can a get a genuine 15% fall year on year. In that sort of market there would be pockets of panic and some great deals.

Just shows how feekin incompetent our powers that be are. "Stupid is as stupid does... " says Forrest Gump. How can these people look at themselves in the mirror and think they are competent and performing at any form of level of function. Dumb asses the lot of them

We must have a lot of government ministers commenting on this website then?

Great post ; )

ROFL

... it's eerie I know ... but when I see Nick Smith dithering , bumbling and twittering on the telly .... I think that I'm looking into a mirror ...

And that scares me sh*tless .. rattles me to the very marrow in my bones ... .... 'cos I dream that I'm more like Paula Bennett ... in the leather suit and jack-boots ... whip by my side ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !

Freedom of speech has limits , and David Chaston would ban me for life from this forum ( I have had 2 warnings before ) if I typed what needs to be said about the way we have cocked up our immigration policies.

So lets keep it simple and without upsetting anyone :-

76,000 immigrants year -to-date (most settle in Auckland )
7,000 houses built in Auckland

Net result :-

21,000 people allegedly homeless or living in cars

What did we expect ?

That the fairy Godmother would magically drop houses from the sky ?

Why did the Government do something so utterly irresponsible with immigration , and do it without even giving us a heads up ?

Now we live with the irreversable consequences of a problem of our own making , road congestion , strained services , overburdened infrastructure , and homelessness .

The issue is not just a dire shortage of houses being built in Auckland: it's also Auckland's sustained population growth.

For sure, there's always a lot of "white noise" in the system in the short term. But, in the medium/long term house prices (and rents) will almost certainly remain on an upward trajectory in Auckland.

Property owners/investors who adopt a longer term horizon are well placed for the future.

Straightforward measures, such as making improvements to the family home or investment property continue to make a lot of sense. Better than money in the bank earning less than 3% after tax!

The sustainability of population growth is the unknown. Auckland builds so much slower than every other place that when the credit boom ends the costs of being Auckland based will be high. Why will employers stay?

"The housing shortage" is based on the assumption of avg 2.7 people living per house. This data is old and I think it's changing (has already changed) rapidly. Simply put, if living in a house becomes too expensive what can one do ? Well, get another person to live in the house and share the rent or interest cost (via paying rent). In my opinion, there are a lot more than 3 people living in a house in Auckland on average, which makes the housing shortage magically disappear

I think the ratio's are nearer to 2.4 persons per household. However, a change to 2.6 persons per household reduces the demand by 50,000 houses

It's a really important issue, right? Cos if the crazy prices aren't primarily caused by owner occupier demand then the policy response is being shaped to address an issue which isn't actually the problem? And we don't focus on what is actually the problem? The "housing crisis" has just taken on a life of its own, to the point where that hypothesis isn't challenged, when maybe it should be.

Shortage of houses not making any difference. Prices down almost 10% and will continue. Glad I convinced mum and dad to sell their rentals last year that money then got spread across funds which have returned over 10%pa. for a reasonable level of risk. No exposure to the AKL market apart from their home in Epsom which doesn't matter. They can watch it all unfold without anxiety. Many don't have that luxury and I feel for my mates who bought their first last year and are now underwater but I told them the risks again and again. The mentality was they were married had a dog and a kid and just had to keep up with the Joneses. Terrible decision.

Hi Tui,

I can tell you now that funds are a great deal more risky than property.

Best you tell your parents right now to get their money back into property.

They'll appreciate the security of land/bricks/mortar as they grow older. No such security can be found in funds - which are merely paper assets.

Well if they followed your magical advice they would have lost over $200k already. Present valuations are only a paper asset.

I think some Auckland developers will wait for section prices to hit there 'par' value under the new unitary plan before investing heavily. So in a couple of years time building might ramp up. All I can say is poor tenants, I don't know how they manage in Auckland