Drop in Auckland housing market could be 'short lived'

Drop in Auckland housing market could be 'short lived'

Valuers QV say that the return of foreign buyers to New Zealand could give Auckland property prices a boost.

The latest QV quarterly suburbs report shows that prices have cooled in Auckland, but are rising strongly in Bay of Plenty.

Prices have fallen in Auckland City, Waitakere, North Shore and Manukau. At the same time values in some Tauranga suburbs rose by as much as 10 percent in the quarter to December 2015.

The report shows the biggest decreases in Auckland were on the North Shore. Schnapper Rock fell 5.1 percent, Narrow Neck 4.8 percent and Albany was down 4.6 percent.

But QV says the decreases need to be viewed in context. In the year to December 2015, North Shore suburb values rose between 12 and 21 percent.

"We are seeing Hamilton values really going up as well as Tauranga and Whangarei," QV's Andrea Rush told the Paul Henry programme this morning. "Even places just outside of Auckland in the Waikato district -- Huntly, Pokeno and Tuakau -- are up about 9 percent over the past three months."

"People are continually going out looking for more affordable property, or better yields as an investor."

She said prices in Auckland have fallen considerably in some suburbs.

"On the North Shore 35 out of 36 suburbs went down in value, so that was the thing that really leapt out at me."

But Ms Rush believes the Auckland market is poised to rise again. That might be helped by a return of offshore investors.

"I think possibly investors may have been taking a wait-and-see approach since the Government and the Reserve Bank introduced changes to curb activity back in October and November last year. That did coincide with the Chinese government restricting the flow of capital out of China in mid-September. So it is very hard to know what has caused the easing and the softening in the Auckland market.

"But what we do know is that over the past couple of weeks activity has started to pick up quite significantly," Ms Rush said.

Despite activity "picking up" it's "nothing like the first nine months of last year", she said.

"A lot of the thought is that maybe this downturn in prices may be short lived because we have still got strong migration, we have still got lots of demand and a lack of supply, low interest rates - So those drivers are still there."

She says that 37,000 foreign buyers applied to IRD for a tax number between October and February. They now need those numbers to invest in property in New Zealand.