The first rays of spring are starting to warm the housing market with sales volumes up slightly and prices mostly steady

The outlook is slowly improving for the residential property market with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's latest figures showing a lift in sales volumes compared to a year ago and prices remaining steady.

The REINZ recorded 6216 sales throughout the country in August, up 3.1% compared to August last year, while the national median selling price was $549,000, almost unchanged from the $550,000 median in July but up 3.6% compared to a year ago.

The national median price has remained between $549,000 and $560,000 since March.

In Auckland sales volumes were almost flat, with 1792 sales recorded in August, little changed from the 1766 in July and down only slightly from the 1837 recorded in August last year.

Auckland's median price was $852,000, up from $830,000 In July but little changed from where it was in August last year ($840,000) and August 2016 ($854,000).

There has been very little movement in Auckland's median price for the last two years and the latest figures suggest prices there are continuing on a reasonably stable path.

Sales also remained stable in the Wellington Region where 621 properties were sold in August compared to 625 in August last year, while the median price increased sharply to $590,000 compared to $550,000 in July and $506,500 in August last year.

In Canterbury there was a jump in sales to 852 in August compared to 790 in August last year, while the median price was $425,000.

Price figures for Canterbury suggest very little overall price movement for the last two to three years.

"Above average temperatures for New Zealand in the final month of winter has had a positive impact on the real estate industry, with prices increasing in 14 out of 16 regions across the country," REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

See the interactive charts below for price and sales volumes movements in all regions.

Median price - REINZ

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Median house price growth

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Volumes sold - REINZ

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Volume sales growth - REINZ

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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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78 Comments

Can the DGMs please help me out, because I’m trying to make sense of this - is this usually what happens during a housing market crash? Despite cheaper terraced units and apartments coming online, Auckland median and REINZ stratified index still up year on year.

Why would a stratified index be influenced by more (cheaper) terraced units and apartments being included?
Isn't that the whole point - so it doesn't get biased by changing mix?

Yes, you're right. I should've said median up despite terraced units and apartments coming on line, and stratified index also up.

The median is hardly up, mate.
As TTP would say, this is a mere "oscillation". Since July '17, growth has keep a pretty anchored mean value around 0.
You would be stupid to say that things have turned with one favorable result, given that data.

Basically flat, as it will be until 2021/22. And I’m not your mate, sunshine.

Hi nymad,

For the DGM here who don't know what the word "oscillation" means, a synonym is the word "fluctuation".

For the DGM here who don't know what the word "fluctuation" means, try looking in a dictionary.

For the DGM here who don't know what a dictionary is......... then, sadly, there's little hope for you.

TTP

Interestingly, when REINZ reports a "downward" oscillation in house prices, the DGM pronounces that Armageddon has arrived........

And when REINZ reports an "upward" oscillation in house prices, the DGM equally pronounces that Armageddon has arrived.

Hmmm....... I suppose that means the DGM are consistent - or, rather, consistently illogical.

TTP

Median all relies on the mix of sales and may have been influenced by a lot of high end properties moving.

Given that the highest % of purchases from foreign buyers have been in affluent areas could explain this before the ban takes hold.

Also worth mentioning that the median is only 2K higher than what is was 2 years ago in Akld

Hi thegic,

I understand that there's been a disproportionately high number of apartment sales in Auckland.

If that's the case, then the median price will have been dragged down (because the average price of apartments is lower than average price of stand-alone houses).

Anyway, the overall message is clear: sales volumes have climbed a little over the last year, whereas median prices have generally held firm, including in Auckland........ After the pronounced market upswing through 2013-2016, that's not a bad thing. A period of relative stability won't cause too much harm.

No worries. Steady as she goes.......

TTP

North Shore and Auckland City medians are plummeting. Using least squares linear fit North Shore down $40k in last 2 years, Auckland City $50k in last 2 years, call it ~5% down. North shore median lowest since Jan 2016. Manukau and Waitakere pretty steady over last 2 years, Rodney up $40k.

Lowest August sales since 2010

North Shore median down 15% (FIFTEEN!) year on year (on slightly higher volumes). This is probably just an anomaly due to higher number of investors selling low quality rentals. Still, a pretty big movement whatever the cause.

Two points:

• when prices are flat they are going down - inflation is running at 2.8% right? That is quite a bit drop in real terms.
• Sales are low, down form last year which was already low. Such low volumes make the market vulnerable to correction.

Also i imagine the quality of housing stock would be improving on average with renovations and new houses. Meaning value for money is improving.

interesting how there is no mention of the FBB playing a part in these stats..

sales volume growth dropped in auckland..

Where's that scallywag Nic? Hope he/she hasn't been actively trying to talk down the market (on multiple platforms, stuff and interest, with copy and pasted text) while they were actually buying all along knowing prices are still on the up, and have a long way to go outside of auckland

up
14

So thats the lowest August sales volume for Auckland since 2010, that saying something right there!

I give you my thumbs

...mine too. Listings numbers increasing by the day!

REINZ HPI figures for auckland:
Area 1mth 3mth 1 year
Auckland (All) -0.8% -0.7% 0.2%
Auckland City -2.4% -1.9% -1.8%
Waitakere -1% 0.0 0.8%
Manukau City -0.4% -0.7% 1%
North Shore 1.3% 0.9% 2.0%
Papakura -1.5% 0.5% 1.4%
Franklin 0.6% -0.7% 2.2%
Rodney 1.5% 0.2% 2.5%

Seems auckland central is on the decline.. expect things to ripple out from there.

Ha. Yea. Why report the hedonic figures when a basic index gives you the story ya want.

If the numbers do not support the narrative, you change the goal posts.First rule of New Zealand real estate, keep the facts opaque. Medians seemed to work on the way up.

Yes, i noticed that BLSH failed to point out that auckland city was crashing, despite his frequent referal to the HPI everytime the dropping median was mentioned. The long slow stagnation begins.. Until something triggers the land slide in the overpriced segments of the market.

Was talking to my employers brother who had an interesting tale to tell of how he got set back quite a bit by the '89 Auckland house price crash. He thinks we are about ready for another one, prices are just silly in his eyes. He's not worried, hes got a block of land out near Maungatoroto and is building on that, tho having real issues trying to find reasonably priced and speced materials, and builders etc that wont rip him off. So far its looking like he will do a lot of the build himself and import all the fitout stuff from China or Europe, but he can't find an easy way round the structural/weathertightness part of the build and the extortionate prices.
Much swearing and cursing as he's recently returned from Australia and is used to prices over there.

Sorry to break it to you, but that most certainly was not an "interesting tale".

I see 25 new kiwibuilds are to go ahead in Onehunga - wondering if that suburb is also beneath you?

You weren't there to hear the tale. Nope Onehunga is fine, will definately check these out, may even put my name down.

I have reader's remorse. No-one to blame but myself though, I should've known.

Now regarding Onehunga, if you buy will you not be out of pocket when the crash begins?

If the crash happens.. it will be a major event, likely global in nature, which gives me plenty of opportunities to hedge against it, otherwise I expect prices to stagnate till wages catch up. Either wage growth inflates away the debt in real terms, or we meander along paying down the mortgage and having a house to live in.

Its not an investment to me, I don't expect to make money off it, just a place to live.

Good stuff, glad to hear you have a plan. FYI, stocking up on tinned food and candles is a good hedging strategy.

Just to throw a bizarre alternative out there - you may be completely wrong on both of those scenarios, on account of the fact that you have the acumen of a vegetable, and the housing market cycle and trend line will simply continue to do what they have done since records began.

O wah, he called me a vegetable. Get a life kid.

Lol, sorry poppet, didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

its guaranteed by the Government so tax payers yet again

As a home owner, I might be bias here, but central Auckland would be due to falling apartments right?

With the indication of tightening on immigration, the appetite to own a small apartment in town is reduced. While owner occupiers will remain strong.

That's my take on the matter - Prices been flat for 2 years now. We can keep predicting a crash if you want, I'm happy that the market remains flat for another 4-5 years and let wage growth make some dent in the purchasing power.

No, the HPI is a hedonic index, it compares similar properties to each other, ie 3 bedroom houses to 3 bedroom houses. Not sure how they combine the different sub-indices I assume they use to get a single overall figure tho. Maybe someone can enlighten us on how exactly these things work?

You are correct - the REINZ hedonic index compares properties by their inherent characteristics; bedrooms, floor size, amenity, etc.
More accurate hedonic indices actually, in theory, compare the same properties over time.

They don't so much combine the indices. They run the model on separate datasets - the all Auckland one is simply the model run on all properties transacted within the Auckland region. It isn't formulated as a post process to the sub indices.

Right, clear as mud :) (but it suits my narrative so i'll run with it.. seems to be how the other team works :P )

Good point Pragmatist, ALK city and surrounds prices will certainly continue to fall back down to earth, especially when that foreign buyers ban kicks in.

When is the ban in effect?

Lowest August Auckland sales since 2010 non adjusted .Third lowest August sales this century, thankfully its not 2008. Spring in air, rampant migration ,historically low interest rates , pent up demand, a lower NZD, a wonder city ..........

Auckland Inventory now over 12000 on realestate.co.nz but still worst sales volumes in 8 years...

Where is all this demand I keep hearing about

Its pent up like a sprinter on the starting line, about to explode off the blocks any moment now.. any moment now... any moment....

Except in this race I think the starter has wandered off to the store to pick up more caps for the starting gun and taken a lunch break while he's out.

"The housing boom is over and we are in huge danger if the economic tide turns"

From an Australian journalist who, until very recently, thought there'd be no 'correction' coming to their property market.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2018/sep/13/the-housing...

Yes the OZ property market is in serious danger due to reckless lending by the OZ banks

Them same banks is our banks.. but we're diffrunt right?

but we're diffrunt right ?

Yes ; ofcourse .. They did come out and made the statement that they are clean and honest and RBNZ seems happy . Why we worry then ?

NZ is a different market. I lived and worked in Aus until a couple of years back. Over 50% Aus investment property loans were interest only and about 25% of owner occupier loans were interest only. Very difficult in NZ to get interest only and unlikely on an owner occupier property.In Aus they relied more on mortgage brokers and appears there was endemic massaging of income numbers on low doc loans by brokers. 90-95% LVR lending was common. Having had mortgages with Westpac Aus and Westpac NZ, they are worlds apart in Aus they will throw money at you, in NZ they were squawking at an LVR of 60% once lending was over 2 million.

So when I look at the RBNZ c32 data, and I see that July 2018,
OO new lending was total $4.137B, and of that $1.041b was interest only.. so 25%.
Investorsnew lending was $1.328b, of which $668m was interest only.. so 50%

Those numbers look pretty much the same as the numbers you mentioned. Admittedly this is only new lending...

Existing lending is about 25% Interest only.

Pragmatist, I'm actually keen to have an honest neutral discussion of the potential consequences on the NZ banks if the OZ banks struggle.
So far I see that the OZ parent banks could raise interest rates in NZ to recoup some losses in OZ, then I'm thinking how much can they raise their rates before kiwi customers move to Kiwibank or HSBC?

I'm very happy for anyone to add some insightful comments

You’re right, jacking the rates up would tempt people to take their business elsewhere once they reach the end of their fix term. But how much new lending can Kiwibank pick up without it impacting on their capital reserve ratios? I’m not a banking expert, but do they just go to the RBNZ and draw more funds at the OCR each time a mortgage is written? Is there a limit?

HSBC and Kiwibank would probably cherry pickethe best customers for a while, then raise their rates to match the Australian banks... free money for them.

Everyone, you can spin this anyway you like!

...and they will.

Some QV median movements since April 2016 peak. It depends on where you shop;
Albany Heights – down 7.74 per cent
Lynfield – down 6.86 per cent
Pinehill – down 5.84 per cent
Waitarua – down 5.54 per cent
Golflands – down 5.53 per cent
New Lynn – down 5.41 per cent
Totara Heights – down 5.34 per cent
Flat Bush – down 5.26 per cent
Sunnyhills – down 5.05 per cent
Henderson Valley – down 4.92 per cent

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/106902193/heres-where-house-prices-are-...

Reposting data huh and you didn't have the courtesy to post the Auckland East figures :(

August 2016 = $1,466,000
August 2017 = $1,542,000
August 2018 = $1,574,000

ha-ha,...as I said, it depends on where one shops. Soon it won't matter where one shops, especially after the foreign based buyers ban comes into force :)

If you own it outright like you say, its $$ value is irrelevant.

Its $ value is irrelevant, but counteracting the spin is relevant. As Chairman Moa wrote, you can spin this news either way. So far it's highly predictable which direction people are taking it. It's almost as if the actual news is just an entrée for others to add their favourite main and dessert.

Christchurch sales no.s up and prices not dropping but very very stable.
What a great market to be buying in!!!
Be in before they escalate as more and more people choose Christchurch as the city of the future!

Nice try - the stats are reported for Canterbury not Christchurch.

The REINZ HPI graph for Canterbury is much the same as the auckland ones in shape.. peaked early 2016, and meandering downwards slowly since then. Christchurch city much the same, but the fall appears to be a little bit faster.

Stay safe TM2, don't look at the HPI graph for Christchurch City.. wouldn't want you to have a heart attack.

chch city HPI
1 mth 0.2%
3 mth 0.0%
1 year 0.6%
5 years 2.3%.. wow, that like 1/5th of most of the rest of the country over 5 years, most are double digit, or at least starting with a 9.

What are insurance costs like in Christchurch now?

Unsurprisingly. Ongoing supply of cheap credit (made possible by slashing deposit/saving rates) luring in people that have FOMO, unlike Canada and Australia. NZ will be next. The longer the price is 'stable', the bigger the corrective move (whether up or down) as price tension is building up. Price trend (upward) has been broken so the trend is no longer our friend. Investors waiting for one last move up in order to sell at the suckers who buy in at the (double) top.

Ps. our previous property in West Auckland has fallen in price approx 18% in 18 months time...

I wouldn't worry about West Auckland PitU at least it's affordable for FTB's. It's the paper multi millionaires in the surrounding central areas that are going to see the massive price drops.

As for bank mortgage rates, looks as though our rates are one of the most expensive in the Western world. I was just looking at the Australian property news and their rates are far cheaper then ours. Not surprising that everyone wants to up sticks and move to Oz.

Scroll down to the mortgage rate take in this article for an example: https://www.news.com.au/finance/david-and-libby-koch/falling-property-va...

PitU, the longer prices remain stable the less likely there is to be a crash. The reason is inflation.

As time passes people get wages rises so houses at static prices become more affordabale on debt to income ratios. inflation pushes up the cost of material and builders wages, increasing the replacement cost of existing houses. More potential buyers enter the market due to immigration, and workers save deposits and their Kiwi Saver builds up. Static prices dissuade spec builds and the housing shortage worsens. Property owners go about their lives paying down mortgages, building up equity, that will be used to upgrade or purchase investment properties, once they start to see property prices appreciating again and gain confidence in the market.

Time is not a bear's friend in the property market.

Using the median price chart provided above, pulling the cursor to the left to show older data, I have just compared the last 2 bull runs for both NZ and Auckland. It shows:

For NZ;
Sep 02 $185k Sep 07 $350k +90%
Mar 12 $370k Mar 17 $550k +49%

For Auckland:
Jul 02 $260k Jul 07 $450k +73%
Nov 11 $470k Nov 16 $878k +87%

Interestingly both periods of strong growth are for about 5 years with a period of stagnation in between of also 5 years
It also shows a much stronger growth in NZ over 02-07 +90% than 12-17 + 49%
But a stronger growth in Auckland in the more recent upswing +87% 11-16 to +73% over 02-07

NZ (outside Auckland) still running hot and will eventually catch up more or less to that 90% Auckland is up from 2012 - the lag happened last time too as banks switch to regions to find customers and the FOMO spreads into the local neighbourhoods

I have traveled NZ extensively over the last several months from Northland to Otago, ignoring the noise and the articles and the anecdotal evidence. I have visited well over 40 homes and with the exception of some rural pockets, most of the homes I've seen are down a whopping 30-50%. Even with the reduction in prices on these " higher priced homes", they still can't sell and now asking to "bring all offers". Albeit, these homes did have unreasonable, unrealistic, irrational, fantasy land sellers expectations but are now caught with no "high net worth" buyers. Its these homes that are now in bear market territory and will only worsen, especially when the ban becomes law.

@ Patrick. Did u visit Hamilton ? I have been visiting reasonably livable brick homes... they have no intention to slow down.. :-(

Must of bypassed the mighty manawatu:

"This month the Manawatu-Wanganui region had the highest annual growth rate of 17.2%, followed by Southland in second place with an annual growth rate of 16.9% and in third place was Otago with a 13.6% annual increase.”

With so many generalities and anecdotal references I'm not certain what you are trying to say.

Most likely because you can't read and comprehend at the same time...

Most likely because you can't read and comprehend at the same time...

By end of this year or early next year will get a clear picture in which direction the housing market is moving in NZ.

Most people on Interest.co have no idea whatsoever as to what effect the As is where is houses in Christchurch have had on the prices being quoted.
The Chch market is probably the best market in the country to be buying into at the moment but whether anyone cares is up to you.
The city is growing by the day and yes it has been very slow but as you know, the saying slow and steady wins the race.
Got insurance this week on one of our as is where is properties which has effectively given us a 200k financial gain on paper.
ChCh the place of the future, be in before you are too late!

I've tried to draw this out of you before, but why do you think as is where is are still influence price increases/decreases? Do you believe that the proportion of sales which are 'as is where is' is still increasing and thus masking price rises in the rest of the market?

My assumption is that there are fewer and fewer 'as is where is' sales as time goes on, which would act to increase the average sales price in Christchurch. This makes it even more impressive that prices have failed to rise in the last few years.

I agree it's a great city, and the stable/gently falling prices and rents are part of the attraction for me.

Mfd, there have been a heck of a lot of As is where is houses so.d over the last 2years, and yes there are still more to come to,the market.
There were so many that were written off as “as is where is” when there was bugger all wrong with them including both of the ones we have bought.
There has been a lot of money made by people from owning these home

As I say the average/ medianhas been badly skewed by them in Chch

“New Zealand’s housing market has finished winter in a solid position, as indicated by the record high in the REINZ House Price Index. This suggests that as we head into the warmer months of spring and summer that the market is in a strong place for some positive result going forward especially as housing confidence surveys are showing that price expectations are rising, interest rates continue to remain low and banks continue to drop their mortgage lending rates,”

No rush to sell then. Keep calm and carry on!

Yeah steady as she goes until the next global event. Expect some of those areas that have dropped a little to recover the losses over summer (it could literally depend on the weather) and be back to where they were near the peak. I think it would make more interesting conversation on here to discuss what the next trigger will be for the next global event because house prices are not going anywhere fast for now.