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Property market predictions for the rest of 2019

The activity in the residential property market indicates a continued steady pace and values holding well for the second half of 2019.

Key factors to watch for will be the policy decisions from the Reserve Bank (e.g. LVR and bank capital rules), the landscape for investors’ returns, the potential flattening off of residential building consents, and how buildings insurance premiums might change due to risk based pricing.

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1. Sales volumes to stay pretty flat, with various downward drivers (e.g. slowing GDP growth) largely offset by other positive factors (e.g. low mortgage rates).

2. Average property values still rising but in a restrained fashion, with the more affordable towns and cities in ‘regional NZ’ likely to record the largest increases. By contrast, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see further weakness in Auckland – as buyers bide their time.

3. Further loosening of the LVR rules in November, reflecting our expectation of steady market conditions. Possible options include lowering the owner-occupier deposit requirement from 20% to 15% and/or raising the investor speed limit for high LVR lending from 5% to 10%.

4. Imposition of extra capital requirements on the banks by the end of November, with a phased approach (potentially over five years). This may prompt some consideration of offering different mortgage rates to borrowers with different abilities to service their debt.

5. Banking sector competition to remain intense and ‘rate wars’ to be a recurring theme - regardless of whether or not the Reserve Bank cuts the official cash rate again.

6. Foreign Buyer Ban to remain a contributing factor to softness in the Central Auckland and Queenstown property markets.

7. More homeowners potentially ‘trading up’, or in other words taking advantage of a subdued market, especially in Auckland, to get a bigger or newer property, or in a better location.

8. Rental yields to continue to rise (albeit from a low base), as rental growth continues at a steady pace of about 5% annually, and above the growth in average property values.

9. Residential building consents to flatten off, as capacity constraints around labour and materials bite. However, they will still stay high, and that’ll be necessary to help alleviate housing shortages. A looming ‘re-set’ for KiwiBuild could have implications here too.

Source

Manukau's property market wrap

The recent sales data from REINZ (NZ's most accurate and up-to-date information provider) shows prices remain stable and flat however the good news — Manukau was up 1.4% this month with a new median sale price of $797,000.

The days on market for both Manukau and across Auckland were 45 days and a total of 379 sales were settled across Manukau last month.

Open home numbers and enquiry continues to be pretty good though on the whole, especially on properties under $1M (comparative to a few months ago).

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Median house prices

The median house prices in Manukau were up by 1.4% this month. In Auckland, this number increased by 1.2% compared to this time last year from $850,000 to $860,000 — the highest price the region has seen for 2019 so far. Across NZ, the median house prices increased by 3.2% in May to $578,000, up from $560,000 in May 2018.

Properties sold

In Auckland, the number of properties sold in May fell by -21.8% from this time last year, however, there was a 13.0% lift in the number of properties sold when we compare May to April.

Days on market

Auckland saw the median number of days to sell a property increase by 5 days from 40 to 45 when compared to the same time last year.

Listings

This morning just 2,187 properties were available on realestate.co.nz in Manukau, so it’s still dropping a few percent each week. I thought it may actually hold or even lift with the last of the post-holiday campaigns hitting the market this past and next week, but that doesn’t appear to the case. As winter nears closer, listings continue to fall.

General commentary

Recent Statistics NZ data shows that population growth remains strong, low interest rates remain and confirmation that there will be no capital gains tax or even an extension of the five year Brightline test indicates positive things for the property market.

Continued stability moving forward is definitely expected, and is what we are already seeing with stock turning over just a little bit better as both vendors and buyers have now adjusted to the new environment.

LVR Policies

The RBNZ didn’t announce any changes to the current LVR policies in their FS report recently. Maybe these will come in November and change in January, as has happened for the past couple of years. But remember they will (likely) only relax them if housing lending continues to decline, and the easing of the property market extends throughout the rest of NZ (currently just Auckland). So, essentially, only if things get worse.

Therefore one could say that if they don’t make adjustments come November, it’s because the market has improved, or at least, isn’t getting any worse. Either way, both are good outcomes. If we were to see cuts, it will likely be in both the 30% minimum deposit for investors and 20% minimum deposit for owner-occupiers — both by 5%.

The Australian property market VS's New Zealand’s
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The median sale price in some suburbs within Manukau have flattened and remain stable with no dramatic changes overall when looking over a 1 year period. Interestingly, Auckland’s median sale time has increased whereas most suburbs in Manukau have decreased.

In contrast, Auckland’s new listings and inventory levels were both up compared to January last year, suggesting buyers have a reasonable choice of homes to buy at present.
 
Rise in lending activity
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has reported that mortgage lending activity rose again in recently. Mortgage lending flows are likely to remain solid in 2019, but any further increase in activity is likely to be slow and steady rather than dramatic.

The Australian property market versus New Zealand’s?
For anyone concerned whether the Australian property market slump could be reflected here in New Zealand, you’ll be pleased to know that New Zealand’s lending environment is on a solid footing. Why? 80% of New Zealand’s mortgage debt is fixed, with 33% fixed for at least one year. This gives Kiwi households time to adjust before any interest rate increase hits; whereas most lending in Australia is on floating rates, making it much more exposed to any changes.