ASB CEO Barbara Chapman attributes slowness in housing market to upcoming election, says she doesn't have any particular concerns

ASB CEO Barbara Chapman says she's not concerned about the slow state of the housing market, blaming the slowness on the September 23 election.

"Right at the moment I think we've got to realise we're in the throes of an election period," Chapman told

"And we do see that during an election period activity in the market can quieten down. And so I've got no concerns with where the market is at the moment."

Barfoot & Thompson, Auckland's biggest real estate agent, last week said its July median selling price was down $30,000 year-on-year, and its monthly sales volumes were 28% lower at 747. Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said sellers need to be willing to set themselves realistic expectations and listen to what the market is telling them. Also out last week was the latest monthly values report from Quotable Value, and new listings data from, which were both also soft.

ASB's June quarterly disclosure statement shows the bank grew residential mortgage lending by a net $493 million, or 1%, in the June quarter to $51.283 billion. It's New Zealand's second biggest mortgage lending after ANZ with 21.7% marketshare.

"I do think that the Reserve Bank [loan-to-value ratio] restrictions have had an impact and I think that's been a good thing," Chapman said.

Just prior to the introduction of the high loan-to-value ratio restrictions in 2013 the majority of ASB's net new mortgage lending was coming from high LVR loans.

"I do think that there still is a shortage of housing in Auckland, which puts a floor on any thought of any price falls. We still need more housing stock in Auckland and that will still hold the market high. So I don't have any particular concerns about where the market is at the moment. And I just think we wait to see what happens with the election and just see what happens in the market after that," said Chapman.

*This article was first published in our email for paying subscribers early on Thursday morning. See here for more details and how to subscribe.

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?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.


Buying property for long term is always good but have to control speculators and overseas buyer for it rising 10% or 30% a year. Anything in extreme is bad. This ponzi has to stop as kiwi dream of owning a home is at stake.

Think and Vote. Election not far away.

.... yes think and vote. If you really think its a good idea to have less money in your pocket, go ahead and vote Labour/Greens. They will tax us all more heavily and reduce even more people's aspirations for home ownership to pipe dreams.
Think people think. Adern and Co. don't have any idea about running a country other than wanting to tax the so-called "haves" in favour of the "have nots". Guess what you can tax the rich into oblivion and that won't give you enough to lift the poor out of poverty.
Give a man a fish .....etc and he will ask for another one tomorrow.

Think people think....thats the problem...we haven't done any thinking for about nine years now...

Or vote national for less affordable homes, higher immigration, more homelessness and buckets of sand to repeatedly stick your head in.

High Property prices are a tax, high rent is a tax. These are my biggest outlays. Tax me more wont impact me as much as these.

Poor hospital waiting times is a tax, poor roading infrastructure and traffic jams are a tax. Reduction in schools is poor for NZ children. Low wage economy. These impact my quality of life.

At the end of the day I am much poorer with National and my quality of life is getting worse.

Immigration needs to slow, and that isnt happening with national.

Well said, I agree with all of this.

Give a man a fish.........because he can't afford another one tomorrow (not at $45/kg).

Lacking charity you dine on snapper and bemoan the lack of middle-class grift afflicting the "have nots" for not aspiring to be like their superiors like you. They just lack the integrity and privilege that comes from being rich.

WELL !!.. there you go folks, fresh news and facts from the horse's mouth ...
So to all those doomers gloomers crash callers - there goes the theories of Bubbles, crashes, immigration and all the related BS dished around...
enjoy your day ...


Oh Eco Turd.....someone who's business is pretty much dependent on people buying and selling houses at ever increasing prices says.....nows a good time to buy and sell houses at ever inreasing prices.

You so so sweet and innocent, I worry about you.

Wow! You had me at "Eco Turd".


Very refreshing to my mind listening to Eco Bird chirping early this morning. I love this "floor on any thoughts of price falls". It is a solid floor that we have, more so than the American oak I bet.

Hahaha.....I'm sure you ignored when ANZ CEO David Hisco warned in the NZ Herald that:

"Auckland house prices and the New Zealand dollar are over-cooked.Having been in banking since 1980 I have seen this movie before. The ending is pretty much the same - sometimes a little plot twist, but usually messy".

When you latch onto the data/information you like and ignore anything you don't like that's called confirmation bias. You have a severe case.

Yeah really Eco Bird, have you taken a look at to see how much your Auckland property prices have dropped recently?

Good point, I just looked at mine. It's dropped 0.7% (Post Code 1071 - Auckland Eastern Bays). It needs to drop another 58% until reaches the purchase price in 2009. If I had listened to BH in 2009 I would be financially FUBAR.

You may have misunderstood, this isn't news or facts, it's an opinion piece.

I'm pretty sure you just called Barbara Chapman a horse?

"... I just think we wait to see what happens..." Famous last words, Barbara!

Commercial bank says nothing to worry about, keep growing the debt pyramid please. Falling wages will have no impact on immigration, yields, debt servicing or anything.

here is something i posted this morning and felt it is related to the comment and the herald article - maybe if we listen to the world we might understand some of our issues a bit better:

Inflation is dead !! for now at least ....( Every economist in the world has put the old book on the shelf, for now ... because it does not make any sense with what is happening today - this is new theory!!)

Technology and huge corporations / online selling ( Amazon, AIRbnb, Uber etc) are putting a cap on consumer product prices , low energy prices have squashed production and shipping costs and hence inflation despite high employment rates almost everywhere ..... online selling is becoming a major component of turnover of almost all consumer related supplier, whoever is not in e-commerce will be counting his days !!

As long as there is no significant inflation and Margins remain slim ( pie slices are getting thinner) There wont be much of wage appreciation if any at all going forward ....No one will give away pay rises when they are not making (enough) money !!

The FED is expected to tweak interest rates UP one more time in December, we will then join them in watching the result of that for maybe few quarters.... things will move up very very slowly - No RB wants to rock the boat hard - they are very prudent now !! So we, small fish, Just follow

The countries who have high productivity, also have higher unemployment - not a rocket science! unless you live in an isolated island.

here is more explanation and assertion from the Horse's mouth:

Yet you say house prices will ever increase?
Interesting proposition, when you argue that general inflation is 'dead' and there will be no further sustained wage inflation.

Continual growth in money supply, tends to suggest there will be continual growth in asset prices, over time. ( to me anyway ).
For me, Monetary inflation is just as important as the CPI , as an indicator to watch ..
Our version of debt Capitalism is dependant on credit growth... and there is always the danger of the debt burden becoming unsustainable ,.. we saw with the GFC Central Banks and Govt. will do whatever it takes to prevent a contraction in money supply. ( even to the extent of -ve interest rates )

Of course, there are the usual ups and downs in mkts.. but longer term, asset prices are kinda underpinned by never ending increases in money supply.. ( the flip side of that is that never ending money supply results in a never ending decline in the value of fiat money )

Thats' my view.

Just because consumer items are not increasing in price doesn't mean other things aren't . You seem to have your head in the sand and believe anything and everything will be all right if we just "don't rock the boat". Unfortunately life is not like that. I suspect it will only take a small headwind to hit the New Zealand economy for the wheels to come off our "rockstar" economy.

Your replies seem to be more hysterical by the day - what are you scared of......

That link confirms the Brian Fallow POV as linked by Ocelot above. We've now got Brian Fallow, JB Were, the Reserve Bank, Michael Riddell basically saying the productivity per hour is falling and that they are very concerned about it. We have had an economy ginned up on private sector credit growth ($30 Billion the past year) and the worlds highest immigration levels with zip and now declining productivity growth. It can't get much clearer that we're going into a very messy recession at the same time as we have all time record high house prices, private debt and population. ASBs Barbara Chapman is talking her book.

Yes , we know that David, they are all repeating the new buzz term GDP/hour ... replacing the other buzz word GDP/Capita.. like saying Oh look the sun is shining!!

So what do people expect when a software reduces two workers to just one? or a machine/robot cuts the jobs of 3 labourers ... less man hours higher ratios ...

Selling online ! less retail shop attenders, less sales people, less marketing ... less man hours!! .... Webinars, working from home, conducting business on the run using mobile technology /Apps all reduce total man hours required and increases efficiency to achieve the same turnover ....

No one other Graham Wheeler, along with few other leading economists and big fund managers who invest the equivalent of NZ GDP in world markets, is explaining why ..!

This is not a NZ phenomena ... we just want to understand the new situation we found ourselves in and sail these uncharted waters safely .... so we cannot be predicting "Messy Recession" without knowing where we are going with the new market drivers and rules ...

One fact remains clear today, we will not be able to turn the clock back as fast as we hope, Productivity is NOT going to increase by crashing housing markets, sending immigrants back home, Increasing taxes, or closing few firms.

Change is always hard to swallow, ... We could not in the past, and chances are we will not in future, be able to clock back or reverse technology and " the internet of things" and online shopping, communication etc ... these are some of the culprits (not all) of what we are in today.

I chose to read between the lines and try to understand than just repeat and take things as said ( regardless of who they are) ... Just my opinion!

So if, thanks to technology, one person is now doing the work of two, as you say, that would be a doubling of productivity. Nothing new there, better and more efficient methods and technologies improving our lot have always been a factor in our existence.
What is odd (and not just here) is for productivity growth to be so weak (or declining) at a time of rapid and relevant technology improvements. With that and a staggering amount of new money entering the economy we should be rocketing along, what's up?
"We’ve used all those trillions in new debt to, as far as productivity is concerned, run to not even stand still: productivity (GDP per capita) continues to decline despite all the debt. Why is that? Well, Bohm-Bawerk answers that question earlier: “.. consumption of real goods and services paid for with zero cost money must by definition be pure capital consumption.” In other words, as I said before, if you don’t use it to actually make things, you’re basically just burning it. Plus, in the process, as we see ever clearer in the effects of QE, you can grossly distort an economy, by blowing bubbles, propping up zombies etc.

Things would look different if we used the “zero cost money” for production instead of consumption. But that’s not what the central bank money is used for at all. The net effect of all that debt, be it QE or new mortgage debt, is less than zero. Quite a bit less, actually. How do we solve that problem? The answer is deadly simple, though not easy to put into practice: start making stuff again! Or put it this way: debt must be used to raise production, not consumption."

Agree with most said David,,,, However, there is one major miss here ... QE was introduced ( partly) because production came to a stand still ... and product has continued to remain slow because of the slowing and decreasing of consumption ....
So the reason why Banks have been hoarding all that QE , refusing to lend it to risky business but instead lending it to the more secure Housing markets ....
Production will start when there is demand for the goods - no demand no new investment - that is one thing political parties or others cannot shove down the throat of an economy ....

If the countries investment and saving is directed away from the housing market and towards business, then productivity can in fact increase. At the moment, surplus cash is being sucked up into higher house prices and higher rents which holds us back from investing in productivity improvements.

So if all these robots are turning 2 jobs into 1 and reducing the demand for man-hours... why are we supposedly critically short of labourers to make coffee, milk cows, pick kiwifruit and hammer nails? Your argument makes no sense.

Actually that is a very good question. may like to ask the 80 young people who are not in employment training, or education ?? and are on some sort of benefit ...

\You might also like to ask the perfectly healthy 40 year caucasian young man holding a sign saying: I am poor ..begging in the middle of Broadway Mall in Newmarket ?? ...

You might also like to ask the hundreds of IRD workers who will be made redundant soon, and those from Spark, and NZ post , if they are going to pick fruit or milking cows?

No offence to any of the above unfortunate people ... but that is the effect of technology and Increase of Productivity ....One software can erase 100s of jobs.

So here is the big question, DOES GDP/hour worked take into account the benefit paid to the unemployed OR their productive hours should they be at work??

Everyone wants a better GDP/hour worked and everyone wants surpluses and the losers want more money and next to nothing houses, and the poor want extra benefit --- well GREAT, lets all work better and harder to change our work ethics and produce more - that stuff does not grow on trees!!

Why should we give visas to thousands of foreign construction workers ( 56000 needed) when we have thousands hammer hand bums sitting on the DOL claiming sickness benefit?

Here is what makes sense to me: increase in productivity also needs to accommodate the collateral damage resulting from that in increased unemployment and inflation ... unless you are sitting on immense oil fields and don't know what to do with the money like the Gulf countries....

Increasing productivity will not happen by taxing water, property or businesses ...neither by taxing the top tax take contributors.... it will not happen by increasing the cost on already choked business margins ...!!

I am yet to hear or see someone coming up with a SOLUTION rather than cursing the "Darkness" !! ... someone putting his money where his mouth is ???
someone optimistic and has a plan ....we are supposed to have think tank on this subject ... right? so, any takers??

Labour's water policy does address some of your concerns;

Labour will help with the workforce for this task through the Ready for Work policy. This programme will employ young people off the dole, and give the opportunity to gain work experience and income while helping to improve the environment. The young people employed through Ready for Work will be able to work on fencing waterways, riparian planting, and other work to improve water quality. Riparian planting will qualify for carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Another perspective on the Uber type business model ... deflation in a nutshell
"an unintentional disguise of industrial civilization's collapse "

Soothing words from the fox to the hens "No need to panic".

Why would you listen to these people?

Better start thinking of an excuse for after the election, never a bad thing having a plan B to lull the sheeple into a false sense of "she'll be right mate".

BLAMING THE SLOW DOWN TO THE ELECTIONS, this from a bank , the lolly supplier, please get the head line right barbie , SLOWDOWN HAD TO HAPPEN AND DID FOR 5 REASONS, overseas investors been taken away over the last year, unaffordable to the masses of locals over the last year, having to use LVR,s instead of higher interest rates over the last year, because of a peak and or flattering and slowdown is a sure killer for capital gains killing short term or flippers investors, which there has been plenty, and all these sales stopping the moving or Aucklanders to other town as we are just seeing the slowdown there now, also chatter of DTI , maybe the headline should say AUCKLAND HOUSING MARKET HOPEFULLY OVER THE ELECTION HAVING A WAIT AND SEE AFFECT, yes I'd be a little worried Barbara throwing all that money out like feeding out bird seed , ps long term investors aren't the problem, they help needed rentals , they could put on added risk tho in time of booms

"I do think that there still is a shortage of housing in Auckland, which puts a floor on any thought of any price falls".

Well that's nice that it stops the thoughts. Doesn't stop actual price falls though does it.

Maybe she's inside a lift - she's standing on a floor but the whole carriage is going down a couple of levels from the top.

fact: House on our street sold 20% below any estimate the prices are going down!

So lets say house price go flat. What's going to happen is that mortgage lending is going to slow further which will turn into a recession. So ASB is saying our economy is about to go down the toilet, that's not as positive as they're trying to make it sound. Especially when the banks are refusing to lend to people that are generally in a FHB financial position.

As Eco Bird stated above inflation is still dead. When inflation is really low then debt is a bad thing to have. You get no benefit paying in inflated dollars at a later date. A dollar of debt is a dollar of debt.

Off course there is a floor to how low prices can go, just nobody knows where that floor is.

The good news is that we are only a couple of months away from knowing if this cooling of the market was just because of the election as EcoBird, ToThePoint and the ASB are telling us, and if it is I will eat humble pie gladly.

However I believe Barbara's comments are so ignorant of all the other factors at play, that her core reasoning is exert some sort of positivity towards a housing market particularly in Auckland that is on course for a trainwreck

Time will tell..... but in the meantime Im wearing my safety belt

I actually had the feeling that her focus was quite narrow on supply and demand of the housing market with useful lending information as where is the most lending going etc...

Having said that, Her opinion, just like any Lender manager, is quite valuable and provides the insight of people who practically control the credit tap ...

Her comment about election effect is very valid, every property follower/ investor know that for sure and people hold selling and buying when an Election is tight and close to call ... happens everytime!

To clarify, markets do not go up or down based on individual wishes or support ... market drivers are complex and independent of only one or two factors as some like to think.


What a load of BS. She lost me when she blamed it all on the election. We are in a midst of a Global Housing Crisis fueled by Chinese Capital flight (which has now stopped) and cheap credit (which is now harder to get). This situation is not unique to New Zealand.

Rich Chinese cannot purchase overseas property anymore so they're not going to buy. Local New Zealanders cannot buy because we simply do not have the income to support million dollar houses.

We can have a housing shortage or housing surplus and it won't matter. Hyperbole obviously, but if we built 100k+ houses right now and price them at $1M each, that still wouldn't solve the housing crisis because no one would be able to afford them. Banks won't lend. Rich Chinese can't buy. Who else can buy them then?

But then of course she wouldn't say that. She works for the bank. It is in her best interests to user her status and say there won't be any further price falls, even though there will be.


It almost makes you hope that she is knowingly saying rubbish / talking her book. Because the counterfactual would be she is running a major bank with virtually no knowledge of what is driving the market which is terrifying!

Did I not see that the ASB had a $1 billion profit this year! That's a huge target on her back to achieve better next year for her wonder she is trying to talk the market up..

So if no one new can afford to buy...what can she do but try to generate more profit by raising interest rates?

We have to listen to the comments of CEO's like Chapman, if they say that they are prepared to lend recklessly at high LVRs and DTIs we should believe them, bank CEO's can cause the market to rocket by creating easy credit, they have done this for the last 5 years. Why will they change?

Why would a bank lend to a person wanting to buy a house to live in with a 20% deposit if in a year housing went down even only 10%, it completely different if a cycle was just starting and flat to lifting but flat to dropping is a different beast, let alone all the other downward news

There's only one outcome after the election and why not wait I guess it so close, the election will pass, spring will pass , listing will go threw the roof, sellers will try for high prices, locals don't have the money and have time on there side, overseas investors, flippers and easy money will be gone, normal momentum and downward news will become the norm, I'm a bit worried tho of the size of the last boom , some mortgage repayments must be threw the roof and normally the market would get relief from the RB dropping interest rates over a year or two of about 3 to 5% but with this new way they do things they have very little amo , I am a fan tho of low rates for all sectors and targeting problems like booms with LVRs and DTI, but it very important to be done at the beginning not the end of a cycle because of affordability and starting big building booms then having them crash hurts to many

That is exactly what happened to Ireland.

It is worth looking at what is happening in Australia:

Is it a correct way to say (BANKS ARENT LENDING MONEY), doesn't seem right somehow, if they see the market going down and they'd know a hell of a lot more than they'd advertise, naturally , but if someone came to them needing 1.5 million and they sore a trend that its not worth it why would they lend, could you blame them, natural, like America after the GFC banks couldn't LEND, and can't to anyone walking in there door unless they have a larger then normal deposit, people with minimal deposits will probably get turned away to prices settle or bargain appear , that could be years so save your cash but a cheaper house is around the corner , there'll be 20000 listing on trademe alone after the elections settle and spring, and the basic haven't changed before or after

Property will continue to be a top medium/long term investment - especially well-located property in the main centres.

There might be a lift in activity after the election - but the soft market could go on for some time yet.

As for a crash, that's most unlikely - despite the yearnings of the disaffected left-wingers who bleat on and on here. (One needs to remember that they soon become over-represented in blogs like this one.)

Tothepointy you need to stop saying crash , it's not helpful, correction or cycle change might be better, i don't know if anyone has ever put % to words like crash correction or cycle and who really care, it is what it is, boom bust is a bit hard to, but correction are a part of life , not positive or negative, not gloom or doom, there's always someone on each side, and if you haven't noticed the market has just been going up , a lot, it's time for a correction and those holding property will lose money, but really did they have it in the first place and are they blind, no

Words like disaffected and doomster are used to try to make those with opposing views be quiet.

Having a counter view on an asset price is hardly doom and gloom is it. It's just a view on an asset's valuation.

Bull and Bear etc. etc. etc.

There's money to be made with both strategies. The question is - how good is your strategy right now?

Yes bull and bears to shares like boom and bust to property, only problem the younger are brain washed that property only goings up in short term cycles in a boom which is wrong , capital gains can be gobbled up with the last man standing

I disagree. I contend that the younger generation simply no longer benchmarks everything against "money (NZD)", the value of a commodity (such as Auckland housing) is constantly changing relative to other proxies for wealth such as Gold, USD or shares. We understand that when one says that house prices are falling or rising they are usually benchmarking it against the NZD. Why not simply have a portion of your wealth that is constantly moved from things that have recently risen to things that have recently fallen where it appears that demand for the thing which has fallen will rise again in the future. I understand that Warren Buffet stated that profit is inversely related to activity, but I contend that well reasoned shifts (backed by sufficient research) does present an opportunity to beat the market.

Honestly these Banking CEO' s are hilarious what do they hope to achieve with such piffial?
Every knows what's happen to Auckland's housing market. It's simply this; top end foreign investors are gone since January and shortly after that the Ozzy banks pulled the credit plug on local Speculative Investors since they cannot rely on a steady stream of foreign silly money coming from China.

Nothing to do with the election but feel free to keep coming up with excuses for the National party.

Yeah I can't wait to the election and summer is out of the way because believe it or not a correction is better gotten over with as far as possible and then get on with it, its to hard to do anything with property under these conditions

Can you post a comment without the words 'Chinese' or 'China' for a change. It's cherry picking what you have posted.

You should do a deal DGZ. He' drops Chinese/China, you drop DGZ...

I wouldn't go round thinking bill English is anything like John keys as far as high house prices and affordability, be careful there, different beast completely, he might like high immigration but the more that seem to come in a similar amount seem to leave Auckland and peters will end up with the ruling party, think about that, times are changing, national or labour I don't really care

History shows that banking CEO's have no idea what they're doing - other than getting paid an excessive amount of money to have no idea what they're doing...

Hey Barbs, where is that floor?

in Auckland. Median prices there are -$75,000 below their peak in March, an -8.3% drop in just five month

I think the end is near for the US dollar being the currency of trade. I give it 2 to 5 yrs.
As this unfolds there will be more warfare as the USA tries to defend their position of getting a free ride in World trade.
This changing of the status quo will in the long term be good for the planet but will be chaos in the short term.
The GFC will look like a Sunday picnic.
The World will go into recession and worse until a new currency of trade can be established, probably backed by gold.
House prices will crash as there will be no finance available. Cash in the bank won't be safe either.

On the USD as the currency of trade, something else is happening. According to SWIFT, the proportion of global trade using the greenback is holding up well and far ahead of others. May seem counter-intuitive, but that is what is happening. It is now at over 42% of all international transactions with the EUR at 31%. It is growing at the expense of the GBP. Importantly, so far, the Chinese Yuan's share is actually declining after rising to about 2.3% a few years ago, now down to 1.68%. 

Actually, I think it is even more pronounced that even these stats, because even transactions executed in other currencies (incl the EUR) are actually based on a USD calculation.

I wouldn't be too hasty in writing off the American currency yet. Plenty have over the years but their 'wish' never actually came to pass.

Gold is toast. Useless for international trade. Only dictators still seek it out as an anonymous escape asset. And end-of-the-world types.

Its irrelevant I know but an experienced construction site manager told me if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
For example, you are running a lage construction site to a gantt chart and cant understand why you are falling behind but hire more workers.
You tell the press that productivity is really low but the key reason is the workers are motivated to be disorganised.
Annual earnings look bad, fire the CEO
Rinse and repeat.
Ok team, whats the solution? Pay them less?