House Prices

Prices cool over past three months

For the third month in a row house price growth has slowed, the latest QV House Price Index shows.

Thursday, August 12th 2021

Nationally, the average house price now sits at $952,078, an increase of 26.4% year-on-year, up slightly from 25.6% last month.

The average value increased 4.3% nationally over three months to the end of July, down from the 6.6% quarterly growth in June.

In the Auckland region, the average house price is $1,352,677, up 3.5% over the three-month period, with annual growth of 23.7%, up a fraction from June’s year-on-year growth of 23.4%.

QV general manager David Nagel says three-monthly value growth has more than halved since April when it was rocketing along at 8.9%.

“The market is clearly cooling now as a result of Government and Reserve Bank policy initiatives aimed at dampening the enthusiasm of investors. With looming interest rate rises, we will likely see a continuation of this trend.”

All of the 16 major urban centres QV monitors have shown a drop in three-monthly growth compared to last month.

The strongest value gains over the past three months have come from Palmerston North at 6.7% growth in value, down from 8.5% last month – closely followed by Christchurch at 6.3% growth, down from 8.3% three-monthly growth last month.

None of the major urban areas QV monitors have seen a drop in average house prices. But Marlborough has all but flattened out at 0.2% growth, compared to 4.4% three monthly growth last month.

Central New Zealand continues to show the strongest value growth, with the three fastest growing regions all in the lower North Island.

House values in the Manawatū-Whanganui region have grown 38.1% in the past year, while the greater Wellington and Hawke’s Bay regions have had annual growth of 34.3% and 31.8% respectively.

The three lowest annual growth rates are all in the South Island with the Southland region experiencing a still-significant 19.4% increase, Otago showing 21.6% and Tasman at 22.9% annual growth.

“The fundamentals of the property market are still strong, so we’re unlikely to see a wholesale drop in house prices anytime soon,” says Nagel.

“However, we may begin to see quarterly value growth taper off in some localities altogether, and even some small reductions as we come to the end of the current growth cycle.

“But while interest rates are still low and listings remain in short supply, it’s more likely we’ll see a continued slowing in the rate of price increases over the coming months as the property market continues to absorb the recent changes,” Nagel says.

Auckland

House price growth has slowed across the Auckland region for the third month running easing to just 0.4% in July − half last month’s rate of growth. And a sizeable drop from the 3% and 2.3% growth recorded in the region back in April and May respectively.

The only exception was Franklin, where house prices increased by 3% last month to a new average of $896,735.

Otherwise prices were largely static across Rodney (1%), Waitākere (0.7%), Auckland city (0.2%), Manukau (0%), and Papakura (0.4%), with the North Shore’s average house price even recording a minor decline (-0.3%) for the first time since July last year.

Though house price growth has slowed considerably this winter from earlier highs, the average house price in the Auckland region ($1,352,677) is still well up on the same time last year (23.7%), with Papakura (26.7%), Franklin (26.2%), Rodney (25.7%) and Waitākere (25.4%) leading the way.

Local QV senior consultant Rupert Yortt commented: “The rate of value growth has once again slowed throughout the region in the last month, with the exception of the Franklin area, which saw a sizeable jump of 3%.

“All other areas saw almost no value change and there was a minute dip on the North Shore.

“This would tell us that the market is beginning to level off slightly and follows a trend over the past few months.”

“The Auckland QV consultancy team are noticing that reduced supply levels are continuing to keep the market in a strong position − although it is certainly not as frenzied as it was in early 2021,” he added.

“Prices being achieved for redevelopment sites are varying with some properties appearing to go for well above expectations.”

Northland

Whangārei’s average house price growth rate dropped by almost half this quarter − from 7% to 3.6%.

The average property price in New Zealand’s northernmost city was $743,354 at the end of July. This is just half a percentage point higher than the end of June, and less than 1% higher than at the end of May.

Annually, however, house prices are 26.5% higher than the same time last year.

Further north, house prices in the Far North District have increased by an average 6.9% − down from the 9.1% we reported last month − in three months to $650,610.

In Kaipara, the quarterly rate of average house price growth dropped from 9% in June to 7.1% in July.

Tauranga

Property prices cooled off significantly in Tauranga last month, dropping from 2.1% growth in June to just 0.3% in July.

Over the same period, the city’s three-month rolling average also dropped from 8.3% to 5.4%.

QV property consultant Derek Turnwald commented: “There has been a noticeable decline in attendees at both open homes and auctions during July, which could be partly due to the cooler weather, but there is also a strong sense that the market is cooling now.

“Agents report a decline in investor interest, but not a significant increase in investors selling properties.

“Interest from first-home buyers has also declined as future interest rate rises and more stringent lending criteria make it more difficult for this group to gain finance to enable purchase.”

He said properties with deferred maintenance, unconsented work or potential weather tightness issues were becoming more difficult to sell.

Waikato

The property market remains stubbornly hot in the Waikato region, with prices up across the region by an average of 2.5% for the month of July.

That figure is 0.4% higher than the same time last month.

Local QV property consultant Tom Schicker said: “New residential developments in nearby rural service towns such as Ngāruawāhia, Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Matamata and Morrinsville, continue to drive demand and value level in these areas with developers looking at larger quarter acre sections with the ability to subdivide in these towns also.”

Meanwhile, in Hamilton, the average house price increased by 1.7% in July (up from 1.2% in June) to $834,305.

The city’s north east experienced the strongest gains at 2.1%, followed by the south east and north west, both of which recorded 1.7%.

Rotorua

The market appears to be cooling more rapidly in Rotorua, where residential property prices have increased by 3.1% during the three months to the end of July. This is less than half as much as the three months prior (7.6%).

Turnwald said there were notably less local residential property listings than usual for this time of year, with a distinct drop-off in prospective buyers attending auctions and open homes.

“Investor interest in new purchases remains low in reaction to LVR changes, bright-line test extension and tax deductibility law changes.

“However, there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in investors selling properties yet,” he said.

“First-home buyer interest has dropped off a little too, [probably] in response to the Reserve Bank’s announcement that in 2022 the OCR is likely to increase in response to inflationary pressure and also more stringent bank debt servicing requirements.”

Taranaki

House price growth has slowed across the Taranaki region, where the three-month rolling average has dropped from 6.3% in June to 4.6% in July.

The housing market has been hottest this quarter in South Taranaki, where the average house price has increased by 5.3%.

In New Plymouth, prices have increased by 4.5% this quarter (down from the 6.9% growth reported last month), while prices in Stratford have grown by 5.1% over the same period.

Hawke’s Bay

House price growth has tapered off significantly across the Hawke’s Bay region in July, with the three-month rolling average dropping from 7.2% to 3.5%.

In Hastings, property prices increased by just 0.72% in July to $824,239 (down from 1.2% in June).

It was a similar story in neighbouring Napier, where the average house price increased by 1.5% (down from 1.9% in June) to $826,415.

Annual growth now sits at 35% for Hastings and 29% for Napier.

Local QV valuer Damian Hall commented: “Though house price growth is currently slowing, the lower quartile or entry-level in central Hawke’s Bay and the upper quartile − particularly in Havelock North − have seen some strong sales, though they have been quite sporadic at times.

“We expect things to pick up in the next few months leading into spring,” he added.

Palmerston North

House price growth has dropped slightly in Palmerston North for the third month in a row, easing from an April peak of 3.9% to 2.2% in July.

The average house price is now $733,722, which is 37.7% higher than at the same time last year.

Local QV property consultant Olivia Roberts said: “We continue to see steady property prices across the region, with the rate of growth appearing to have slowed over the last three months.

“There continues to be a shortage in housing and uncertainty regarding the likelihood of increased interest rates.”

Wellington

Prices continue to rise across the greater Wellington region − though at a reduced pace compared to its April peak.

Since then, the monthly rate of house price growth has crept down from 4.5% to 1.5% in July.

The only area that recorded higher value growth this month than last was Wellington city, where the average residential property price increased by 2.1% (up from 1.8% last month).

This was largely driven by rapid value growth in the city’s northern and southern suburbs, where prices increased by 3% and 4.4% in July respectively.

QV senior consultant David Cornford said higher interest rates and tighter lending controls were likely having a dampening effect on value growth across the wider Wellington region.

“It certainly feels like we are settling into a more stable rate of growth,” he said.

“Stock levels are very constrained across the Wellington region and demand for housing is high.

“People are reluctant to place their homes on the market out of fear of missing out on future value growth and not being able to find a suitable replacement property.”

Nelson

House prices continue to slowly taper off in Nelson, where house price growth has eased for the fourth straight month.

Residential property values increased by 1.1% in July (down from 1.4% last month) to a new average of $797,928, which is 19.3% higher than the same time last year.

The city’s rate of quarterly growth also eased from 5.3% to 4.3% in July.

QV senior property consultant Craig Russell commented: “We are seeing minimal activity from investors for existing housing with the majority of transactions appearing to be first-home buyers and owner occupiers.”

He said the local property market currently had significant supply constraints with listings numbers steadily falling, which is typical during winter.

“Land values continue to increase largely due to these supply constraints.”

Although Russell expected to see the number of listings increase in spring, he said the Reserve Bank signalling an increase in the OCR and tighter bank lending criteria would impact the housing market over the coming months.

Canterbury

House price growth has remained fairly consistent throughout the Canterbury region this year, with the average monthly rate of growth fluctuating between a low of 1.8% in June and an April peak of 3.5%.

In July, the average rate of house price growth crept back up to 1.9%, even as the rolling three-month average dipped from 7.8% to 6.2%.

“This suggests that residential house prices have been less affected by winter than we normally might have expected,” said QV property consultant Olivia Brownie.

“Though the number of listings are down, prices are obviously continuing to increase, probably as a result of that seasonal scarcity and low interest rates.”

“The outlook appears to be more of the same in the upcoming months − yet we are already starting to see fixed-term mortgage interest rates increase, which could be an indication of further interest increases, which could well have a dampening effect on future house price growth.”

House prices increased by an average of 1.8% in Christchurch in July, a slight drop from the 1.9% growth we reported last month.

The biggest driver of this growth was the city’s central suburbs, where prices increased by an average of 3.5% in July and 12.7% for the quarter.

Hillside suburbs in the city weren’t far behind, with an average increase of 3.1% for the month and 11.6% for the quarter.

Meanwhile, the largest annual increase in average house price across the Canterbury region was in Waimate, where prices have increased by 30.4% in the 12 months to the end of July.

Dunedin

House prices continue to creep up in Dunedin, albeit at a reduced pace compared to earlier peaks.

In July, the city’s average value increased by 0.9% to $677,309, which is the same rate of growth that we reported in both June and May.

The city’s two biggest months this year were February (2.6%) and April (2.5%).

QV area manager Tim Gibson commented: “Though prices appear to be holding up, we are seeing less interest in all types of residential property listings now from investors, first-home buyers, and even owner-occupiers.

“It will be interesting to see whether local buyers spring back into action in spring, or whether the prospect of rising interest rates has the market spooked.”

Queenstown

There was a relatively sharp spike in residential house prices in Queenstown last month.

After three months in a row with little-to-no growth, the average house price jumped 3.5% in July to $1,435,138.

Prices have risen by an average 12.6% this calendar year, with more than half of that growth occurring in the months of March (4.1%) and now July.

Although there is currently a high level of demand for property and strengthening value growth within the Queenstown market, local QV property consultant Greg Simpson said the prospect of rising interest rates would have a cooling effect on the market.

“Analysts predict that while the outlook for interest rates looks stable for now, there is a growing expectation of higher interest rates in the next 18 months,” he said.

“The Reserve Bank is likely to raise the official cash rate this year and the hike in interest rates will have a cooling effect on the housing market.”

He said it looked increasingly likely that the Reserve Bank would also introduce debt-to-income limits to help support financial stability and promote house price sustainability.

Invercargill

House prices increased by an average of 1.3% in Invercargill last month, which is slightly more than the previous two months when value changes were kept to less than a percent, but well down on earlier peaks of up to 4%.

Local QV property consultant Andrew Ronald commented: “The latest QV House Price Index indicates a stabilisation of price levels in Invercargill.

“We’ve seen less investor activity these past couple of months, but there remains strong demand in the market from first-home buyers.

“There is also strong demand for building sites throughout the wider Invercargill locality with price levels strengthening considerably over recent months.”

Provincial centres, North Island

Western Bay of Plenty tops our list of North Island provincial centres this month with its average house price increasing by 12.5% this quarter to $968,602.

In terms of quarterly house price growth, it’s followed by the Waikato District (10.4%), and Hauraki (9.8%).

Over the past 12 months, house values have increased most in the Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki (44.9%) and in Whanganui (41.8%).

Provincial centres, South Island

In the South Island, Grey District once again leads all provincial centres for quarterly house price growth (11.1%), followed by Waimate (9.4%) and Kaikōura (8.3%).

House values have increased most in the districts of Buller (34.8%) and Grey (34.3%) in the past 12 months.

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