Housing crisis: No sign yet landlords are quitting housing market like they threatened

Landlords don't appear to be following through with threats to sell-up en masse after the Government hit them with new costs. 

There were actually fewer properties for sale at the end of April than at the beginning. 

In March, the Government said it would phase out investors' ability to write interest costs off their tax liabilities, bringing them into line with owner-occupiers. In response, some landlords threatened to evict their tenants and sell, ACT leader David Seymour said there would be a "stampede of landlords leaving the residential tenancy market", and one high-profile real estate agent claimed investors were bailing out because "the fun and appeal of being a landlord is diminishing".

But none of that is showing up in the data.

"There's been some talk out there some investors will have to sell their properties to raise equity to be able afford other properties, or to be able to cover the increase in tax they're going to have," said Nick Goodall, head of research at CoreLogic, which analyses property market trends.

"Looking at the Trade Me property data, we see there's been a relatively consistent number of properties come to market. The total number of properties listed for sale at the end of April was actually lower than at the start of April. We haven't seen any flood of properties being sold by investors just yet."

In fact, there has been an 11 percent drop in valuations being ordered, more evidence fewer homes are being bought and sold than in recent months. 

While CoreLogic is still picking prices to flatten out later in the year, it's not showing up in the data yet - with median prices rising another 3.1 percent in April, and 18.4 percent year-on-year. 

Goodall said that's because CoreLogic uses a three-month rolling average, and "it may take another month or so for these changes to flow through". 

"Anecdotes throughout April were abundant - telling of quieter open homes, a greater share of auctions 'passing in' and that a fear of overpaying had replaced the previous overriding emotion plaguing buyers which was of a fear of missing out."

Demand pressures will also be reduced by the Reserve Bank's new requirement that most lending to investors requires them to have at least 40 percent deposit. 

"Last time they brought the requirement to that level in October 2016, we did see value growth flatten out within the next six to nine months. We expect to see something similar."

The median value of a property in Auckland is now a whopping $1.25 million, up 15.6 percent in a year. Hamilton is up 20.5 percent to $759,110, Tauranga 19 percent to $921,581, Christchurch 15.1 percent to $594,577 and Dunedin also up 15.1 percent to $635,649.

The Wellington region saw the greatest increase though, up 10.5 percent in April and 23.7 percent year-on-year to $971,393. Goodall said it was driven by increases in the likes of Porirua and Upper Hutt, where prices are lower than in the city.

"For those that are willing to commute into town for their job - probably less often as they previously had to because they can work from home more frequently these days - then those properties would be more attractive for Wellingtonians, and that's seen prices rise at a faster rate than previously."

Upper Hutt prices have gone up almost a third in just one year. 

"There is now clearer evidence that these rampant gains are seeing more would-be first home buyers drop out of the market, either by choice or because prices have exceeded their borrowing capacity." 

While prices aren't expected to drop, Goodall says even a flattening out will help first-home buyers - they'll have a bit more time to save "without the fear prices will grow exponentially away from them".