Although buyers are being cautious, auction numbers and sales rates are steady and most of those that sell are fetching more than their rating valuations

Both auction activity levels and the prices being achieved appeared to be stable in November, according to the results of residential property auctions monitored by interest.co.nz.

We monitored 1232 residential property auctions around the country in the four week period form November 3 to November 30, and sales were achieved on 448 (36%) of them.

Of the 373 properties where selling prices could be matched with rating valuations (RVs), 63% sold for more than RV, 35% sold for less than RV, and 2% sold for the same as the RV.

That compares with 1268 auctions monitored in the previous four week period (October 6 - November 2), of which sales were achieved on 511 (40%), with 60% of sales selling for more than their RVs, where selling prices and RVs could be matched up.

However auction numbers were slightly down in November compared to the equivalent four week period of last year (4 November - 1 December , 2017) when 1459 auctions were monitored, although the 37% sales rate achieved at those auctions was almost exactly the same as the 36% sales rate for the equivalent period of this year.

Interest.co.nz has only recently started including rating valuation comparisons in its auction results so is unable to provide figures for the percentage of properties that were selling above their RVs last year.

However the figures so far suggest a fairly steady level of auction activity. Although prices are starting to face some headwinds, they appear to be holding up reasonably well at this stage.

Although auctions only provide a partial snapshot of the total housing market, November's results suggest the market is following normal seasonal trends as it heads towards Christmas.

But while buyers may be active, they have plenty of choice at the moment and do not feel under pressure to pay a high price to acquire a property that suits their needs.

Consequently, vendors who are not in tune with the latest state of play in their particular market are likely to be disappointed if they have overly high price expectations.

The details of individual properties offered at auctions monitored by interest.co.nz can be viewed on our Residential Auction Results page.

Details and selling prices of a wide range of commercial properties can be viewed on our Commercial Property Sales page.

You can receive all of our property articles automatically by subscribing to our free email Property Newsletter. This will deliver all of our property-related articles, including auction results and interest rate updates, directly to your in-box 3-5 times a week. We don't share your details with third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time. To subscribe just click on this link, scroll down to "Property email newsletter" and enter your email address.

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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82 Comments

Housing market remains steady as she goes.

Notably, almost two-thirds of sales are equalling or exceeding RV.

TTP

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"Prices are starting to face some headwinds" It must be that westerly wind from Sydney.

Or to put the opposite spin on it.
2/3rds of the roughly 1/3rd (2/3 x 1/3 = ~22%) of a reduced volume of houses going to Auction managed to sell at Auction for more than CV.

LOL,
I am about to say the same thing. 2/3 of the 36% that were sold achieved above RV, that is 234 properties of out 1232.

Also Tauranga RVs were last done in 2015.. I call BS on the above RV sales percentages having any relevance to anything.

Rubbish. They were done a few months ago, July 2018. I have a place in sunny Papamoa Beach, so was sure to check when they came out.

Haha, I still refuse to concede given that the new ratings were actually out in 2018 :) Did you know Pragmatist, the average RV increase was 44% in those three years?

Just kidding, I stand corrected.

Given that I've been looking at houses which last sold for 33% to 65% above RV you could have house prices fall 25%-38% and still sell above RV.

The scatter above and below RV suggest that prices are not reaching the crazy heights they were a few years ago.

So if two-thirds of sales above RV is considered good, surely the same percentage for auctions passing should be considered bad right?

When will the statistics stop lying to us - don't they know we are in the middle of a crash?

The statistics are not lying. The general public's ability to understand and interpret stastistics and data is quite bad. Furthermore, the idea of a "crash" is a subjective notion that doesn't have much firm definiton except general consensus after that it exisited. Bitcoin is a perfect exampe. That being said, the latest fall in the prices of crptos is not even the biggest that it has experienced.

Yes, the statistics aren't lying, nor do they ever, I was being sarcastic. The data shows that there is no crash by any reasonable person's definition of the word.

Fair enough.But by the same logic, the data does not show that a "crash" hasn't already started. A potential Australia / NZ "crash" may be something entirely different to what has happened elsewhere.

Hi BLSH,

You make a very good point.

Unfortunately, certain people here suffer from delusions. (They make constant references to a crash.)

TTP

Unfortunately, certain people here suffer from delusions. (They make constant references to a crash.)

Who? I see no references to a crash.

"Who? I see no references to a crash."

Then, clearly you're delusional.

TTP

Shouldn't be hard to point out then should they.

Greg: is this nationwide figures or Auckland only?

They are for all the auctuons we monitor, but there's a strong bias towards Auckland, Christchurch and the Bay of Plenty because of the higher level of auction activity in those places.

Can we get the Auckland figures separated out please. Actually, can we have the figures separated out by council. Tauranga RV were done in2015, Chch RVs were mid 2016. So any comparison of sale price to RV is irrelevant if all these different ratings are mixed together.

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So if your house went to auction there was a 77.32% chance it would either not sell, or sell below RV?

How can anyone see this as positive?

2/3's of sales above RV sounds great, until you realise 2/3's of auctions are unsuccessful.

Yep. Basic statisitcal inference.

The Sydney property falls are accelerating, and the last time they fell this far Australia had a recession

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-property-market-sydney-pric...

I find the key to getting my point across is to keep it very simple

SYDNEY IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING THE BIGGEST FALL IN PROPERTY VALUES ON RECORD.

Even simpler

WE ARE NOT SYDNEY

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...I'll bet you weren't saying that on the ride up ;-)

Haha, if the data doesn't suit one's biais, just talk about another country, Ireland is quite a popular choice too

Yvil, do you no longer expect our policy makers to observe and learn from the missteps of other countries? What are we paying them the big bucks to do then? In your eyes, is NZ no longer a globally dependant economy? Anyway, just why are mortgage rates at 70 year lows when valuations are at too big to fail highs?

Is this just a permanent high of prosperity? Nice one Yvil......

It's going to be fascinating to see how things pan out. Nymad posted this research yesterday:

Two Countries, Sixteen Cities, Five Thousand Kilometres: How Many Housing Markets?

"Weaker market conditions are clearly seeing some homeowners in Sydney and Melbourne refrain from putting their property up for sale"

...yet they're still falling. The overhang of people wanting out only grows. The majority of property investors would not have thought this was possible, it would have been the last thing on their minds. The longer this goes on for, the greater the chances of a "doom loop" and it dragging Auckland and the rest of the country with it. The best prices are in the rear vision mirror and will be for some time to come. I wonder how long it will take for NZ vendors to realize same after finding their agent talked up the market and failed to clinch their expectations. Auckland's a buyers market, a property specific market and one that appears to be in transition, and not in a good way.

I'll answer that with a very simple question:

Will more NZers return to work next year with a NY resolution of buying a house, or of selling their house?

If confidence falls in the Sydney market, I expect some Australians to invest in NZ housing......

Don't ever dismiss that dramas abroad can have a silver lining for NZ.

Merry Christmas!

TTP

If confidence falls? It already has. Agent TTP's now advising Australians to buy Auckland housing at the top and sell their houses at the bottom.

Hi R-P,

Please note that I have given no such advice.

What I expect/anticipate and what I might advise people could well be entirely different.

You need to read more carefully - and avoid misquoting people or stating things which are incorrect.

TTP

Agent TTP, you say "What I expect/anticipate and what I might advise could well be entirely different" Now, if I'd said that, you would label me as confused and void of essential knowledge.

(Pretty clear to me! Any agent that expects/anticipates the market price to fall would still advise a prospective buyer to 'Buy now!". I mean there's a commission to be had and all, and waiting for it as prices fall it isn't part of the 'industry')

bw, exactly. That's why Agent TTP is out there right now trying to lead first time buyers to the slaughter.

Ohhh look, there goes a flying pig... or was it Santa...

Headwinds eventually cause every yacht to tack, or broach. Headwinds continue to build. Gotta have respect for that positive attitude regardless.

Dramas abroad could also spell disater for NZ!

TTP "If confidence falls in the Sydney market, I expect some Australians to invest in NZ housing".

I think you may have missed one important point in that statement that IF they can raise a mortgage! And that a mighty big IF

It's odd that Auckland prices are so robust considering the carnage in Sydney. But having seen first hand two major busts in Auckland, (1989-1992), (2008-20010), when Auckland is down it really gets down.
In fact it's a much nicest place to live at those times because people stop trying to climb over one another for a while.
Also I think the slower the storm brews the the longer it takes to clear up afterwards.

The 2008 fall was less than 10%. Only really severe crash/downturn was 1975.

BLSH, by what % did NZ house prices crash in 1975? Can you recall what the annual inflation rate was in 1975? Unless I stand corrected, it was more that house prices failed to keep up with the CPI and underperformed. Much like what Auckland's doing right now!

Do you know what a crash is?

I think his point is that 2008 AKl housing market was not the bust people seem to think it was.

Laminar, point taken however, 1975 was more a period of underperformance when measured against the double digit CPI of the day. It was hardly a crash.

https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/inflation-cpi

I do know there were rather nice historic apartment/town houses in central AK going for very steep discounts, way more than 20%, around October-November 2008. I agree the downturn was not at sustained as 1989-1992. I do fear the next one will hold serious lessons though.

Looks like we are still building for wealthy overseas buyers not locals. Heard yesterday that 4 large residential apartments buildings in Auckland had applied to the OIO - can we presume this is one of them? (Source Bob Dey)
https://www.propbd.co.nz/pacifica-granted-foreign-buyer-exemption/

RV's are not worth the paper they are written on, the 200+ council staff that get paid six figure salaries make a thumb suck guess so they can justify why they need to be in jobs. My house valuation over the last 3 rating cycles has gone up by over 150%, nothing has changed. The piece of land it is built on is the same, modest renovations done but nothing that justifies these huge rating increases. It is a council tax grab plan and simple. People who feel rich because their house valuations have gone up are silly. If they are selling and believe they should be paid that or an amount higher than the RV, then they are stupid. What is worse is the hype from the RE agents who try to tell you the RV is a buyer guide range and the buyer should add 20%+ to that if they want to make an offer. It is BS so to anyone who wants to buy now, the message is Buyer Beware. There is only one way prices will go from here, and that is DOWN.

How is it a council tax grab?

Cos rates are set from the Council valuation. That is in essence its main purpose.

Except that the amount the council collects is not driven by RV, its driven by how much the council wants to spend. If everybodies RVs double, your rates don't double.. Its only your RV relative to the guy down the street that matters.

Hooray, that has to be the most sensible and factual comments of yours that I have read. You are indeed correct.

GS, you missed a zero. It's 2000+ staffs
2322 earning more than 100K+ salary and that's 2017 figures

What the...odd description on one of those listings:

For the daring.the dauntless. You're in the house. If you have patience and an eye for the main chance - One bedroom problem-child MUST be sold. New anti-money laundering legislation bites offshore sellers.

The possibility of less money laundering frightening some off?

Friends have a Deceased Estate they are winding up - ex-family home to go.
Put it on the market and got an offer that they accepted. But...
The R/E agents are still taking it to auction this week, even though there is an accepted offer on the place.
Somethings amiss here. Either the place is 'Sold!" and should be off the market or it isn't and goes to auction. Of course, it will show as a 'successful auction' in this weeks figures, but if I was the buyer that had my offer accepted and then was told it was 'still going to auction' but you are the backstop buyer, I'd politely withdraw my offer....

bw, that's just how the auction process works. It seems the property has been listed and marketed as going to auction so other interested parties need to be able to put their bids in under the terms of the contract. Albeit within a shorter time frame now.

Your friends have a guaranteed sale although not necessarily to those that put the offer in. That offer is now the reserve and the lowest it will sell for.

This is a sign of a still healthy market.

You don't know how auctions work, if you tried that strategy of withdrawing your offer you wouldn't get far. The auction process is fair to all, which explains why it is soo popular

Houseworks, steep decline in auction popularity here; https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=119...

I think once again, you've commented while blissfully ignoring the woeful clearance rates. The majority percentage that use the auction method have discovered the process is not as financially lucrative as their agent first led them to believe.

Why are you dredging up an almost year old article about the number of houses going to auction? do you have data from 2018 to compare?

Pragmatist, Houseworks, I challenge you to "dredge" up something more recent that substantiates improved popularity with still dismal clearance rates! My point is, the auction method is likely even less popular since this article was published.

A balanced portfolio is the way forward. All eggs in the today's housing basket, foolish.

Do your own bloody research. Not interested in last year's news

lol! Pragmatist, if you're motivated enough to criticise, you should be motivated to find something newer. Until you do, it's the latest on this subject - enjoy :)

Well the latest isn't fresh enough to wrap my fush'n'chips then, let alone be catch of the day.

Pragmatist, that's a dodgy analogy at best. Do you search the toilet roll packets for an expiry date too?

Is that so .... Mr balanced investment portfolio poppy? I think you get the results that you deserve

Thank you :)

Also, why would you retract the offer? You would obviously want the house and were comfortable with the price. The strategy now is to drastically reduce the marketing period in order to reduce the number of competing bids.

This strategy is debatable however when I researched it a bit most experts thought it favoured the buyer and advised sellers to not accept pre-auction offers.

So, if we're growing by 60,000 immigrants a year, that's about a 1.25%pa increase, then surely we should be selling more houses, otherwise, how can there be a housing crisis? Or is a housing crisis just for once-opposition bench warmers spouting out noise, and then trying to fix it (so they actually believed it) with a brand new house building department, which has so far delivered about 60 something houses, and lost it's brand new CEO in the process? This is better than television.

Looking through the first page of Auckland auctions, only 3 sold over RV.

Filter for sold only. Not quite that bad. But figures above are skewed, Everything in BOP sold over RV, sometimes for almost double RV because the RVs were done in '15 and '16 in the middle of a massive bull run.
Canterbury results are interesting, some are half of RV (as is where is earthquake damaged sales?), most are closeish, but there was one that was almost 10x RV (either an error or RV was for vacant section?).

Don't worry our aussie mates, some of our beloved spruikers will come to rescue your housing market. .

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=121...

That article has a click-bait title of "Aussies told to prepare for 'severe housing collapse'" yet the text goes on to explain that that is the worst case scenario and unlikely to happen.

Hahaha, that's like telling kiwis "JA and PT will both resign from parliament on xmas day." Unlikely but possible, shock for some and joy for others

Read into it what you like but the one overwhelming point was that the OECD recommends the RBA to start lifting rates ASAP!!!

Knowing that will cause more pain for all those aussies coming off interest only on to I&P, and could add fuel to the fire, is an interesting point to say the least.......

"The Paris-based global forum recommends the Reserve Bank begin raising the cash rate from its record low as soon as possible to prevent "imbalances accumulating further"."

So what about the 784 that didn’t sell - having completely failed the sales to RV comparison test.

One way or another I would have thought a many will eventually come back onto the market – and probably with a more “in tune” price setting.

I would assume a large number aren’t in a position where they have to sell – they simply might like to.

People can’t put their lives on hold forever – eventually they simply want to get on with it and if it means not getting the quite the windfall they expected – so be it.

Auckland specifically, I still see softer prices ahead – and a somewhat larger number of listings going into early next year than that of this year.

You are correct Custard, you can only put your life on hold for so long while you "wait and see". At some point you just have to bite the bullet and get into the market and stick to your guns for 15 years and don't panic.

Asking prices in Tauranga are lining up with the new RV's but I still see some are over RV by a spectacular amount.

Yes, Tauranga – excellent point and an interesting case.

Fuelled by Auckland refugees and/or retirees perhaps– both having in some cases made out like bandits over the past few years if property owners.

When all settles down not sure if locals and local jobs can really maintain those sort of price levels – but maybe it’ll be our little version of the Gold Coast and maintain the lure.

But unfortunately, perhaps like the Gold Coast – when there is a downturn it can be quite nasty.

I worth noting that for many young Aucklanders Sydney is an extremely viable alternative for starting out. It would be a big mistake to think that Auckland will not follow in Sydney's footsteps.

Well I think I will put it all on the "Online" and state that Auckland will not follow Sydney.

Good for you Carlos. Sydney, after all, follows us along with the rest of the world, each day, as we trip around the sun.