Confusing signals from Auckland property market

Confusing signals from Auckland property market

There are confusing signals coming out of the Auckland property market. The market is slowing, but is it a temporary blip or the start of a longer term trend?

Well, you can almost read what you like into the latest figures from Quotable Value (QV).

QV's figures show the average value in Auckland fell 0.5 percent in January to $928,921. That helped drag down the national average value by 0.3 percent to $556,000.

"The value decreases in parts of Auckland could be in part due to the seasonal impact of the holiday period and the housing market may pick up in the usually busiest months of the year, February and March," QV says.

But QV adds that it is "more likely" to be the ongoing effects of the tightening of the mortgage and tax rules for property investors - and the restrictions on the flow of capital out of China.

On the other hand, it says "it is possible the easing in values in Auckland may be short-lived as the underlying factors driving house prices up remain: record high net migration, record low interest rates and a lack of housing supply."

The lower interest rates will be helping drive up prices in other parts of the country, along with an easing of the LVR rules outside of Auckland.

The value of homes in the Wellington region increased from $476,634 in December to $482,716 in January.

The average value in central parts of the capital is now $579,857. QV says prices are increasing at levels not seen since 2007 and there is a shortage of new listings.

Nationwide values have risen 12.6 percent over the past year and 0.7 percent over the past three months. They are now 34.2 percent above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 12.5 percent and values are now 14.7 percent above the 2007 peak.

Home values in the Auckland region have risen 19.8 percent year on year and 1.2 percent over the past three months. They are now 70 percent higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When values are adjusted for inflation they have risen 19.7 percent over the past year and are 45.2 percent above the 2007 peak.

Interest rates will rise at some point. But it does not look like happening for some time, either here in New Zealand or overseas.

Take a look at Japan. It has cut its 10-year Government bond rate to negative. That means you will pay the Japanese government to look after your money. That is like paying a bank to safeguard your money instead of earning interest on your term deposit.

You should always think about how you would cope if interest rates were to go up.  But for now many people simply do not think it is going to happen anytime soon.


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