New Zealand tops Bloomberg real estate risk rankings as OECD house prices reach 'unprecedented levels'

New Zealand's inflated real estate prices have seen us named the "frothiest" housing market in the world in a new report by Bloomberg Economics.

The news outlet released its latest 'bubble ranking' on Tuesday (NZ time), rating countries by averaging five criteria - price-to-rent ratio, price-to-income ratio, real price growth, nominal price growth and annual credit growth.

The higher the reading, the greater the risk of a correction - and unfortunately for the OECD, a correction looks likelier than ever. Bloomberg reports ratios are higher than they were in the lead-up to the 2008 global financial crisis.

"A cocktail of ingredients is sending house prices to unprecedented levels worldwide," economist Niraj Shah wrote in Bloomberg's Property Bubble Gauges Flash 2008 Level Alert.

"Record low interest rates, unparalleled fiscal stimulus, lockdown savings ready to be used as deposits, limited housing stock, and expectations of a robust recovery in the global economy are all contributing."

If things are looking bad in the OECD, they're abysmal in New Zealand.

A poor performance across the five indicators saw us top the rankings, ahead of other 'frothy' housing markets like those in Canada, Sweden, Norway, the UK, Denmark and the US.

Bloomberg Economics' bubble ranking.
Bloomberg Economics' bubble ranking. Photo credit: Bloomberg / OECD

On four out of five of the criteria, Aotearoa was given the worst score of anyone; we had the highest price-to-rent ratio (211.1), price-to-income ratio (166.6), real price growth (13.2 percent) and nominal price growth (14.5 percent).

Only New Zealand's annual credit growth (6 percent) wasn't at the highest level in the OECD - a spot occupied by France (11.2 percent).

But things aren't set to come crashing down soon like they did in 2008. Shah says even though risk metrics are high, interest rates are low, lending standards are higher and prudent policies are in place.

Bloomberg reports the period ahead will "more likely be characterised by cooling rather than collapsing".

House prices have risen dramatically in New Zealand during the past year. The Government in March announced a suite of new housing policies in an attempt to cool off property investment and help first-home buyers.

Despite those moves from the Government, the latest Quotable Value data shows the average house price rose 8.9 percent in just three months to May.

Some economists believe house prices won't stop increasing until interest rates go up - which one of the country's biggest banks, ASB, is tipping will happen in May

ASB's latest economic forecast suggests the housing market remains "unsinkable" and expects prices to spike another 10 percent this year.