Thursday news in brief
Thursday 10 August 2017
Life is busy and it’s easy to miss some of the stories that hit the news. So here’s a brief rundown of some of the stories that might have slipped by you this week…
No change in foreign buyer numbers
The number of foreign property buyers remained at low levels in the April to June quarter, according to the latest property transfer data from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).
Just 3% of all property transfers involved overseas tax resident buyers. While the figure dropped to 2% in the last quarter of 2016, it has otherwise hovered around the 3% mark since LINZ started releasing the data.
The LINZ data also showed that, over the April to June quarter, there were just 2% of property transfers where none of the buyers had New Zealand citizenship or residency - although some had student or work visas.
Land Information Minister Mark Mitchell said the data results were consistent and showed that property transfers involving foreign buyers are at the same levels as previous quarters.
Read more: Foreign buyer song remains the same
School zones big impact on house prices
Suspicions that school zones can have a major impact on houses prices in associated suburbs appears to have been confirmed by new data from Homes.co.nz.
The property data service has released data comparing the median regional price to the median price for different school zones to find a “school price premium”. This was particularly pronounced in Auckland but held true in other regions.
For example, while Homes.co.nz puts the median price for property in the Auckland region at $940,610, property buyers seeking houses in zones for desirable public schools can expect to pay up to 90.5% more.
Houses zoned for Epsom Girls' Grammar School have a median price of $1.79 million, which is 90.5% over the Auckland average, while houses in zone for Takapuna Grammar School have a median price of $1.52m, which is 61.29% over the Auckland average.
Read more: Bubble risk for halo regions – homes.co.nz
Boom times for housing construction
Residential, commercial and infrastructure building activity is forecast to continue to boom for the next three years to reach a record $42 billion in 2020, according to the 2017 National Construction Pipeline Report.
Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said the principle answer to New Zealand’s housing challenges is to build more and the report shows record numbers of new homes are in the pipeline. “It projects 196,500 homes will be built over the next six years, with 100,000 over the next three years.”
This year’s report shows even stronger growth than last year’s report and that the peak has increased from 30,000 per year to 34,500 per year, the minister said.
However, some commentators pointed out that the construction industry is already struggling with labour shortages and would need many more workers to keep up. Other commentators said housing construction might be but it was still not enough to rectify the shortage.
Read more: Auckland consents falling short
Crowdfunding good way into property
Would-be property investors struggling to enter the current market might want to consider crowdfunding - following new Australian research which shows it is a viable alternative funding option to help people into property investment.
The University of South Australia study assessed individual investor motivation and appetite for crowdfunding, as well as its potential as an alternative investment vehicle for entering the Australian property market.
Lead researcher, Dr Braam Lowies, said crowdfunding works by pooling capital from a large group of people to purchase a property. “Both the dollar investment and the risk, are spread across multiple players, with people able to make investments as small as $1,000.”
This means that people of all means and ages can try their hand at property investment, with their return being directly proportionate to their level of investment, he said. “It is an investment strategy that has the potential to revolutionise the property market.”
Read more: Preparing for future investing trends
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Housing affordability in regions around New Zealand may have improved over the last quarter, but price to wage ratios are still sky high.
Commercial property syndicates give investors options and risks they might not otherwise have access to – but they do come with risks.
New Zealand’s lower economic growth was acknowledged by the Reserve Bank in its OCR statement today – which means there's a chance their next call could be more doveish.