Auckland house buyers increasingly confident prices won't rise

A new ASB survey has found Auckland house buyers are increasingly confident about house prices not rising.

On Friday, ASB released its Housing Confidence Survey, which showed a net 23 percent of national respondents expected house prices to increase, lower than the long-term average of 28 percent.

However, expectations are higher nationally than this time last year when the net figure hit 16 percent.

In Auckland, the survey found only a net 8 percent of respondents believed house prices would rise - the joint-lowest figure for the region in nine and a half year.

"House price growth expectations shifted unevenly during the quarter, falling significantly in Auckland and dipping slightly in the rest of the North Island, but ticking up by a whisker in the South Island," says ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley.

The survey also found that for the first time in five and a half years, more respondents thought it was a good time to buy a house than a bad time.

Seventeen percent thought it was a good time, while 16 percent thought it was a bad time. The rest didn't know or thought it was neither good nor bad.

Mr Tuffley said the Overseas Investment Amendment Act, which placed restrictions on foreigners buying properties, may have dampened demand and respondents were likely considering this in their expectations.

Christina Leung, principal economist at New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, said the potential of a capital gains tax may be having an effect.

"Some of that caution around property investor interest, and given the extent to which property investor interest is concentrated in Auckland, that's helping to have some dampening effect," she told The AM Show.

The survey showed 40 percent of people believed prices would increase this year and 17 percent believed they would fall, while 43 percent didn't know or expected no change.