Auckland's new rating valuations may unleash a wave of vendors with unrealistic price expectations

Photo © Jorge Royan http://www.royan.com.ar

By Greg Ninness

Auckland Council has released its revised rating valuations.

That means anyone can now go to the Auckland Council’s website and check out both the value of the land their property sits on and the capital (total) value of the property, which includes any improvements, usually a dwelling.

Not unexpectedly, public interest in this is always huge and when the last revaluation came out three years ago, the crush of people trying to access their revised valuations online was so great that it caused the council website to crash.

We understand the council has since improved its website to prevent a recurrence of that problem, but with the rating valuations up by an average 46% across the city, public interest could be even greater this time around.

So let’s hope the council’s computers can cope.

No doubt there will be great rejoicing from property owners across the city as they count their good fortune, perhaps tinged with just a touch of apprehension about how the new figures will affect their rates bill.

But it will be interesting to see what effect, if any, the numbers have on Auckland’s property market.

When people see the value of their property increase they understandably feel wealthier, particularly if they have been good boys and girls and have been reducing their mortgage rather than borrowing more to pay for a new car or that trip of a lifetime.

Those who no longer have a mortgage will be in hog heaven.

With the revaluations well timed for the Christmas rush, it would not be surprising to see many people being a little more liberal in their spending this year and that could spill over to the property market.

If people have been thinking of making a move either up, down or sideways, or perhaps into an investment property, a big increase in their equity could encourage them to take the leap.

Stubbornly low interest rates will no doubt increase their appetite for such a move.

This could stimulate Auckland’s property market by unleashing a wave of new buyers and sellers into open homes and auction rooms across the region and beyond.

God knows it could do with all the help it can get, with the market stuck firmly in the doldrums as we head in to summer.

But that could also create problems if the revaluations create unrealistic expectations in owners’ minds about what their property is worth.

It should be remembered that rating valuations are not market valuations.

They are a rough tool to help the Council decide how the much the rates should be on one property compared to another.

They are not intended to be used as a market pricing guide.

When the last lot of revaluations were released three years ago prices in Auckland were really starting to fly and were out of date almost as soon as they were published on the council’s website.

This time around things are different.

The Auckland property market has cooled in buyers’ favour and with plenty to choose from they are digging their heels in on price.

One of the biggest problems real estate agents have at the moment is dealing with vendors with unrealistic price expectations.

If the new rating valuations bring a flood of additional listings from vendors with overly optimistic ideas about what their property will sell for, then the market could become even more difficult when it cranks back up after the Christmas break.

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81 Comments

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I'm sure a few months watching their house sitting unsold on the market will clear those unrealistic expectations right up.

New property valuations are now up.

Where? The ACC site and homes.co.nz don’t indicate its available yet.

It is now up in the council GIS. I have been advised that if you are a staff member you will have access to the latest CV's using the council internal GIS.

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Auckland might break 14000 listings on Realestate.co.nz by Friday next......

I think that you will find looking back over historical records the volume of sales and purchases starts to drop from November really declines over December and January and then starts to pick up with a fervour in February and March when everyone comes back off their holidays. If the market goes crazy in December and January I would imagine it would be a result of Juwai's intense marketing to the Chinese during the month of December. If the Chinese offshore purchasers that want to get in before the offshore ban on purchasing property here swoop in and take advantage of NZers on holiday and push the prices up to a false level again I will be rather upset. PS - The Government should of got all their ducks in a row then slapped on overseas restrictions overnight without any warning. PPS - add that little scenario to vendors unrealistic expectations because of higher RVs and then after the overseas restrictions come into place goodness knows what will happen, nothing being sold for a very long time.

the government could stop that dead in its tracks by signaling they are going to pass a retrospective law backdated to ?
and any brought after that date will need to be sold and if for profit tax paid

Any retrospective law is extremely hard to implement and causes no end of complications and possible legal action, though I suppose they could try to backdate it to the day they made the announcement of their intention to restrict overseas buyers ie fair warning and all that.

I wonder about Juwai's announced campaign given that they KNOW it is illegal for people in China to remove >$50k per year from the year and that even if they do they are not legally allowed to buy property overseas.

I think that may make some potential purchasers pause. Of course there are ways and means to get the money out but the potential consequences are now more severe if they get caught. And as the AEOI is coming into play sooner rather than later it will be very obvious very quickly which individuals have done this.

It also begs the question about how the NZ government and RE industry feels about facilitating the breaking of laws in a foreign territory. They probably wont care, and "take the money" is the obvious answer but if China is serious about preventing capital flight it won't sit well with them which could then have flow on consequences to trade etc. Remember what happened to zespri and comvita.

Especially when you consider that the Operation Foxhunt enforcement team will be crawling all over Juawai looking for targets.

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With China's capital controls in place I doubt there will be a huge rush of purchases before Xmas. If you can't pay then game over, also do they really want to buy in a falling market?

I hope you are right, however I have a sneaky suspicion that most at this stage of the game, do not really care about CGs they just want to get their money out of China, the Philippines or wherever and own property anywhere else other than their own homeland.

Trying to Build - I think you are missing the point here. They can't get their money out, period. What they would like to do is irrelevant.

Certainly the Chinese government has made it harder but I would imagine quite a few of these people will have funds sitting in tax havens, places such as the Cook Islands also do not forget the Chinese have embraced Bitcoin and there are now countries openly selling citizenship (Vanuatu for example) in return for Bitcoin to circumnavigate government restrictions and enable the transfer of funds between nations.

the government has banned bitcoin exchanges so citizens are unable to exchange yuan for bitcoin without first getting that yuan out of the country, which is prevented by the capital controls.

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I agree, push the law change under urgency next week.

Look at the size of suspected Chinese mortgage fraud in Aussie, one estimate had it at $500b, yes billion. Aussie reserve bank, and by ownership our banks, will be twice shy unless there's cash or confirmed NZ income. May account for some sales but I suggest Chinese spending spree has run its race. Ps Chinese don't go long on a falling market.

My pick is single dwelling only zoned houses in DGZ have just taken a bath, they just don't realise it yet. The cost of private schooling is so much less than the interest only part of the extra millions sellers seem to want, and let's face it interest rates are low, so that delta isn't getting better.

I don't believe the Chinese are buying in NZ for short term investment - they are buying a bolt hole, for long term hold.

"It should be remembered that rating valuations are not market valuations. They are a rough tool....They are not intended to be used as a market pricing guide".

Yet everything in the article hopes for the opposite! The longer The Myth is perpetuated that RV's have meaning beyond the gathering of revenue for a Council, the longer the distortions in the marketplace will exist.

For most people the RV is the only source of information they get on what their property is worth. So it will definitely have an effect on listings.
The other thing is that it is dated as at July 2017. So it is out of date already. Probably in most cases it's higher than what their value is now. So if people use this as a guide to what their place might sell for, they will be out of luck.
I think all this points towards further price drops in the near term.

Houses in the traditional good locations of Auckland will average about 15% higher than their 2017 RV. I anticipate that my sales price to RV comparisons will show a 5-15% above RV sales prices if recent sales are any indication.

I'm loving this revaluation tsunami...come on and hit me baby one more time like in 2014!

And you can still buy homes in Auckland for a reasonable price. Look at this four bedroom home on freehold section which sold las week for exactly 500K.

https://www.ljhooker.co.nz/SNHQ8/31-takanini-road-takanini

A FHB could buy this and have two or three flatmates to help cover the mortgage.
I thought this was a sign that the outer suburbs were getting pummelled but it turns out it still sold for 56% above 2014 RV. However it is possible that this sold for 2% below 2017 RV as Takanini is generally going up 58%. I will check next week.

There is a reason for the low price. I know the area, clearly you do not.

Oh and when I say "low" I do not really mean low

How about this then? This may be a true bargain. Sold last week for only 495K. Quite the holiday atmosphere in this location.

http://harcourts.co.nz/Property/824189/OR8983/10-Kauri-Road

Council value is just a guide, it's set so infrequently it can never track the ebbs and flows of a market. Council is desperate for funding sources, so I'm betting they will be using this opportunity to get some. May not be a 45% increase but rates are going up for sure. Let's face it the are exposed to stupid house price wage pressure just like every employer is.

Phil Goff has committed to a 2.5% P/A rates rise. I doubt he go back on that promise as he may get voted out. So the only people getting more than a 2.5% increase in rates should be those whose house has increased in value by more than the city wide average (45%)

Hi bw,

I think it's widely recognised that rating valuations don't reflect market value.

Even real estate agents seem to have cottoned into this.

But I suppose there are always a few gullible people around.

TTP

...and it's the Gullible that set the prices for the whole market!
One house sold, in one street/suburb to a Gullible buyer, that wrongly believes that the RV's DO MATTER, re-values the whole street. It's why, as prices reverse, the same thing happens...and that...is what The Market is frightened of. It 'fine' when the market is rising, but 'must be stamped out at all costs' when the market looks like falling....

And as for Real Estate Agents? If the RV is higher than the Asking Price then buyer are told they are 'getting a bargain'. If the RV is lower then 'that's not an indication of the value of the property'. That....won't change.

As long as the RE agents are having trouble selling houses they will have no option but to try and get the vendor to understand where the market is at. Pushing vendors to auction usually has the desired effect.

Spending a bit on marketing costs and going to auction and getting no bids is always a good reality check.

"New research shows an increasing number of Australian families will rent, possibly for their entire lives. New South Wales and Victoria are looking at ways to encourage developers to invest in apartment blocks that would be entirely available for rent... in Australia the concept is alien, partly because of a tax system which fosters investment in the residential sector by providing generous capital gains tax discounts and negative gearing. Australia’s largest apartment developer, Meriton’s Harry Tribuoff, has pooh-poohed the idea and said there isn’t enough profit in it"

Apart from NZ not having Capital Gains Tax ( yet?!) how are we different?

I’m amused the spruikers here are still waffling on as if NatNil were still the government
The new paradigm has yet to even be played let alone played out yet
Should be very interesting
At least the Sth African migrants increased the average IQ in NZ but even they aren’t enough to overcome the stupidity of the spruikers here

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13

So trademe just crossed 12,000 properties in Auckland. How long until 13,000. If I was thinking about selling, I’d sell now. Because it ain’t going to be better after Christmas.

Agree I would get out now. Whole lot of things in 2018 will push the market down further

Auckland has 12050 properties for sale on trademe, and REINZ 1632 sales in October (1591 in Sept) so inventory is now up to about 9 months. A lot of properties won't sell without serious discounting.

Folks will believe what suits them.
The super council will use it. Use it to explain their brilliant performance and great importance.
Expect rates and Auckland living costs to go up up and away!.

Question: REINZ list 1632 sales for Auckland region last month, but there have been at least 10000 houses listed on trademe for Auckland in October (up to 12062 as of writing, increasing by about 100 per day). REINZ claims Auckland region is now 35 days to sell, when simple math would suggest it was really more like 6 months (and now up to about 8 months). Can anyone explain this massive discrepancy?

Foyle, I've often wondered when a house fails to sell via auction, are they then being relisted under negotiation or fixed price thus resetting the days listed to zero? Are a lot delisted prior to winter only to reappear in spring? If so, this could distort in a favourable way the average days listed and average days to sell based on those that remain listed - hope this makes sense ha-ha!

Maybe if things are slowing quickly? Or maybe the definition of the "Auckland region" is different. Or could be data errors (deliberate or unintentional). I'm guessing here.

Clearly there's 9,000 private sales a month that REINZ don't track...

yes, so obvious when you think about it.

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From a colleague across the ditch on housing, Sounds eerily familiar.

In capitalist countries, capital chases yield. If John sees Joe selling bananas at the market at great profit, he finds the farmer growing the bananas and opens his own market stall. The competition between market stalls drives down the margins on bananas, resulting in cheaper bananas, and probably greater demand for bananas as they are so cheap now. This produces a supply response.

When John the developer sees Joe the developer selling concrete boxes on top of land at great profit, he goes looking for some land to acquire, but finds that there is a single monopoly supplier. The land monopoly is a barrier to entry for John. It is also a source of corrupt funds for government officials. The developers make most of their profit from a change in zoning of land they already own.

The barrier to entry from the monopoly control is of great value to the current incumbents. It protects them from competition. And companies that are protected from competition do not innovate. Quite the opposite, they stick to what they know. They don't risk new building techniques or materials that would allow them to build the buildings faster and cheaper. Why would they?

If I lived in a capitalist country, I would understand that in a commodity business, you must innovate to remain profitable, delivering a product or service better, faster or cheaper. When I lived in Japan, an apartment building on our street went from breaking ground to people living in the building in 5 months. Good quality construction as well. If I were a developer in a capitalist country, I would go to Japan and find out how that is done, so I could carry financing costs for 80% less time, reduce risk, turn over more product and generate more revenue. But I am not a developer, and this is not a capitalist country.

In a socialist country, I would find a corrupt government official and ask them to help me protect my business by making it difficult for competitors to enter the market through barriers to trade, and keep demand high by increasing immigration and encouraging foreign speculators.

J.C. I agreed with the entire point until the misuse of the word socialism. This quote talks about pure capitalism, capitalism as it should be, but then doesn't compare itself to pure socialism, socialism as it should be. Pure socialism would simply be a business owned or regulated by the community as a whole, not by corrupt people in a protection racket.

And this is the problem with pure political, social or philosophical theory, they hit the roadblock of ACTUAL HUMAN NATURE and fail there. Capitalism is corrupted and socialism is also corrupted because of human nature. So we should compare apples with apples. Both structures suffer from the same disease, namely that when human beings achieve something of value (wealth, power, privilege etc) they fear losing it. Greed, paranoia, delusions, manipulation, abuse of power, corruption etc ensues.

I don't know if either socialism or capitalism have ever existed in a pure form. As an interesting thought experiment, we could probably hypothesise on how we could give either socialism or capitalism a fair crack at the whip and see which ones wins using some previously agreed objective measure and extrapolate from there somewhat?

Yes, the 'socialist' reference is a giant honking non sequitur.

Especially when one considers the (regulatory) captured capitalism that is common in the "land of the free". E.g. as is playing out right now with their FCC and net neutrality.

I think the appropriate term in that context is "crony capitalism" Good description of 9 years of National government though

J.C. I agreed with the entire point until the misuse of the word socialism. This quote talks about pure capitalism, capitalism as it should be, but then doesn't compare itself to pure socialism, socialism as it should be.

Yes, I get your point and the person who made the comments would also understand. Replace "socialism" with "crony capitalism", etc. There are many people bandying around the word "socialism" in purely derogatory terms and incorrectly thinking that the status quo is a pure expression of capitalism. And that's garbage.In fact, it's what I call "bubble economics", which is in itself a kind of middle-class socialism. Policy, law, and regulation all help tape it together.

There is a little irony in the example of Japan, as anyone familiar with Japanese society and economics will know that Japan is implicitly socialist. Nevertheless, where they differ from the Anglosphere is that they had a very strong national goal of becoming an economic superpower. They achieved that, but wasted much of the wealth effect on a stupid bubble. But what he says is right: NZ or Australia lack the efficiency to get anything done, particularly related to housing people. The accumulation of property is not a national goal in itself.

JC, I couldn't agree more.

C.V. is simply setting a capital value for tax purposes (ie rates) - why are owners so happy to have it high - is is not and never has been the market value. If we had any other capital based tax on property such as art work etc it would be argued to be as low as possible.

Looking forward to see our family home to crack $3M CV for the first time. I know it may not be the market value but it still poses the 'feel good' factor for the fun of it...hope the council website won't crash tomorrow morning ^^

I don't really understand the quibbles over the RV. It is an approximate value of the house at that particular time as best a council could do without analyzing each and every house minutely. It serves as a benchmark for determining the average rise or fall of prices in a particular locality. I'm pretty sure banks take notice of the RV when considering loans. It's crude but not without value.

Double-GZ, a couple of short excerpts from a Stuff article dated today. An Englishman's house may be his castle, but in New Zealand we live as part of our communities. We can't hide behind the barbed-wire-topped ramparts of our overvalued castles and ignore the homeless at our gates. Discard that waistcoat and top hat. Home-owners must accept that market values need to be gently managed down to let more Kiwis rent or buy a home.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/98785060/jonathan-milne-the-ne...

As long as no one expects rates to fall as house values retreat.

houses cannot go up for ever but rate rises are a certainty.

Good point. Even if the Ak council borrowed no more money ever more, rates will have to rise as interest rates increase in order to pay the interest on the huge loan.
Its doing things that no prudent individual would dream of doing. Borrowing so much in a time of historically low interest rates with not thought whatsoever towards paying off the loan. Its a huge gigantic interest only mortgage.

Not necessarily. If the loan is to build more infrastructure which will eventually mean more houses and more rates revenue then the debt servicing may get easier in the future.

X2, I agree too. Note with the absence of his superior alternative, Hosking might come across to some as just another moaning ratepayer who can afford it!

What's his suggested alternative approach?

I think he would prefer rates to be at a flat fee for all. That way the rates on his mansion will go down and poorer households will be forced out of their homes and into their cars by unpayable rates bills.

Transient types are far less likely to vote, so this will get National back in by a landslide at the next election.

What's his suggested alternative approach? - exactly, there isn't one.

I don't know but maybe someone should look into this antiquated system.

More ignorant nonsense from the Hosk, suggesting council will use house prices increases to collect more rates.

Council house price valuations have absolutely no impact on the amount of total rates collected by the council.

What they control is how the total rates bill is apportioned to individual ratepayers. Those with expensive houses pay more than those with cheap houses.

The average increase this time is 45%. If your house has gone up 100%, its not longer a cheap house, and it's now expensive, so your rates bill will go up. If your house has only gone up 20%, it's now cheaper so your rates bill will go down. The total collected remains the same.

I think his point is, why do people with more expensive houses have to pay more rates when they are essentially receiving the same services as people with less expensive houses. It seems a fair question to me.

OK, but that is just the nature of progressive tax systems.
High income earners pay more tax than low income earners, so they pay more tax and 'get' less services.

If his position is rates should be the same across the board, then either poorer people are going to be hit harder, or there has to be alternative sources of revenue.

I'm not 'necessarily' against the idea of one flat rate, provided there are robust and equitable alternatives.

What I don't understand is - in the less affluent areas the RVs have increased over and above the average so they will be paying disproportional high rates and also the retirees with a fixed income will also be suffering the same fate. It has nothing to do with income earning potential.

yes that is the problem with a wealth tax rather than an income tax. But it's a problem Auckland Council can do little about, as central government determines how they can collect taxes.

Auckland Council does allow pensioners to not pay their rates, and then the arrears are collected on sale of the property or from the estate on death.

Couple of reasons:

1) Ability to bear more of the shared burden
2) Betterment they've received from the city

Regarding the second, people who live in (for example) Herne Bay receive a massive amount of betterment from the city around them, such that it's provided them a proportionally massive increase of wealth. Arguably, rates should contain a level of proportionality that recognises the betterment the city provides to you.

The new land value has been blown out of proportion!

Double-GZ, are you experiencing palpitations?

I can't breath...help!!

Double-GZ, are your Zachary Smith, TTP and Yvil usernames experiencing the same symptoms?

DGZ, I will be querying mine I think. I have three properties in the same area and they went up 67%, 58% and 29%. Only the last one is remotely correct I believe.

Mine have been 51%, 49% and 37%. The 51% one was the one I bought in Puhoi. I am happy with all the increases in general.

Having a look this morning looks like council has hammered DGZ land. Most of it is sub dividable now so shouldn't be a big surprise. More surprised that the stuff thats designated as single dwelling only is gone up more or less the same as the stuff that can be intensified. Regardless of housing prices going forward this will be the long term legacy of overseas money wanting free education.

So 100% land value increase. Yeah...tenants are going to be able to cover that.....tui.

Being a millionaire - at least for Auckland homeowners - is now so passé.

Yes, I dont really care that prices have been revalued, more about rent increase to cover the increased rates (if that happens to my rental properties -Mainly south Auckland). Rent increases look very good moving forward.

Boom $720K to exactly $1M thats the biggest ever increase since purchasing the house over 10 years ago.

I think we will see quite a few people querying their RV values this time around.The council seem to have been a bit excessive. For the first time I am sympathetic to the idea that the RV doesn't bear much relation to the house's value. It wasn't like that with 2014 and the hundreds of houses I compared sales with RVs were remarkably consistent with only one or two being significantly incorrect. My next RV/sales price comparison will be interesting indeed and I am no longer confident that they will generally be 10-15% higher than the 2017 RV.

It will be interesting to see if the council is overwhelmed with owners challenging the values.
I was talking with some Chinese owners today that seemed ecstatic with the values seeming to think that this was a government endorsement of the values. This may be a Chinese cultural thing as I have noticed they are particularly susceptible to government proclamations. Foreign buyers, if they manage to break through the Jacinda wall, may use RVs as something like an official guarantee of a property's value.

If you read your latest CV Capital Valuation it will state that these values have been signed off by the General Valuer that has to strictly abide by the valuation rules and all the acts.

The Capital Valuation is therefore accurate at the date of the valuation 1 July 2017.

It is an official valuation of the property.