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'What lies beneath − is the housing market turning?' - QV

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Rising interest rates, combined with further tightening of credit availability appear to be dampening the enthusiasm of investors and first home buyers. While house values continue to rise, what lies beneath QV's latest figures is growing evidence that price pressure has shifted from the lower valued properties popular with investors and first home buyers, onto the higher valued housing stock where buyers are less impacted by credit availability and affordability constraints.

The average value increased 6.9% nationally over the past three-month period to the end of November, up from the 5.3% quarterly growth we saw in October, with the national average value now sitting at $1,029,820. This represents an increase of 28.4% year-on-year, up from the figure of 27% we reported last month.

In the Auckland region, the average value now sits at $1,482,005, climbing 8.3% over the last three-month period, with annual growth of 27.9% − even higher than October’s year-on-year growth of 24.8%.

QV general manager David Nagel commented: "While the November numbers look extremely bullish there are growing signs that this property growth cycle is starting to transition. Real estate agents are reporting a significant upswing in listings, while open home attendance rates are falling. Some properties are being passed in at auctions, which was unheard of a few months ago. This isn’t a surprise given rising interest rates, changes to LVRs last month and now a further tightening of credit rules from December. This has taken a number of buyers out of the market, just as stock numbers are starting to increase, which is resetting the supply demand equilibrium."

"A dozen of the 16 major urban areas we monitor have still recorded an increase in the rate of growth for the QV three-monthly house price index. But this is more a result of price pressure at the top end of the market, which generally has a different type of buyer, with less credit restrictions or affordability constraints," he said.

"We’ve broken the market down into quartiles to better understand which properties are showing the biggest increases in value. In almost all cases the greatest price increases were occurring in the top 25% of properties by value. In many cases, this was significant. Take Palmerston North, for example, which has experienced massive price growth this year, but is now down to just 2.7% three-monthly growth overall. But the top 25% of properties are showing 6.3% value growth. In Dunedin, one of the hottest markets earlier in the year, values have grown by 4.3% over the past three months, but the top 25% of properties are showing value growth of 9.6% over the same time. This indicates a change from what we were seeing previously," he added.

The strongest overall three-monthly value gains for the main cities have come from Christchurch at 12.7% growth in value, up from 10% value growth last month, followed by Queenstown Lakes District at 11.7% growth, building further on the strong three-monthly rate of growth of 9.6% we reported last month.

None of the 16 major urban areas QV monitors have seen a decline in average value, with all but Palmerston North (2.7%), Napier (3.7%), Nelson (4.9%) and Invercargill (4.3%), showing an increase in the rate of three-monthly growth since last month.

The Canterbury region has experienced the strongest annual value growth with 36.2% growth over the past year, followed by the Hawke’s Bay region at 33.9%, while the Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui districts have both experienced annual growth of 33.2%.

The three lowest annual growth rates are all in the South Island, with the Southland region experiencing a still-significant 20.3% increase, the Tasman region recording 22.6% growth, and Otago at 23.7% annual growth.

Auckland

Auckland’s residential property market continues to run hot as we head into summer.

Home values increased by an average of 3.8% across the region last month, with the three-month rolling average increasing from 5.6% to 8.3%. The average home value now sits at $1,482,005, which is 27.9% higher than the same time last year.

The market is hottest down around Papakura, where the average value ($1,077487) has increased by 37.3% over the past 12 months − including 12% in the last three months alone. It’s followed by Franklin, where values have increased by an average of 33.5% over the past 12 months, Rodney (29.9%), Manukau (28.8%) and Waitakere (27.2%).

Auckland’s central suburbs have seen the smallest amount of value growth since the end of November last year, with a still-significant average of 23.6%. North Shore home values have increased by an average of 25.3% over the past 12 months, and was the second-hottest area in the Auckland region this quarter with 9.4% value growth in just three months.

Local QV registered valuer Hugh Robson commented: "The market continues to be active pretty much everywhere in Tāmaki Makaurau. Properties never seem to last long on the market, especially those in the low-to-medium price brackets."

"We’re seeing lots of redevelopment taking place - including original houses being removed for multi-unit developments, and new housing areas popping up out west in Whenuapai, Westgate, and Kumeu," he added.

Despite this, QV Auckland valuers noted increasing numbers of homes were being passed in at auction, with rising interest rates and increasing difficulty getting finance likely to slow the market somewhat in the next calendar year.

Northland

Northland’s home residential property market continues to simmer into summer, with residential property values rising by an average of 8.7% over the region this quarter − up from the 5.7% we quoted last month.

Kaipara District home values have seen the biggest rises on average over the past 12 months, increasing by 35.1% since the same time last year, and 11.8% over the past three months alone. It has an average home value of $881,865.

Home values have also risen rapidly in the Far North (33%) and Whangārei (29.3%) over the past 12 month period. The former recorded quarterly home value growth of 8.9%, while it was 7.7% in the latter − both up significantly on last month’s figures.

Tauranga

Tauranga’s red-hot residential property market continues to blaze away, with home values rising by an average of 7.2% this quarter − a small increase on the 6.6% growth rate we reported last month. The average value of a home has increased by 33.7% over the last 12 months to reach $1,151,228.

QV property consultant Derek Turnwald commented: "Values continue to rise, properties are still selling well, and the number of appraisal requests is beginning to increase again as vendors want to list during summer when their properties are looking their best.

"Investor interest from Auckland and Waikato remains low while prospective purchasers aren’t able to travel here to view prospective properties. We expect to see that increase once the traffic light system is introduced and border restrictions are eased. Anecdotally, agents tell us that many disgruntled Aucklanders are very keen to leave the city after being locked down for such an extended period."

Meanwhile, Mr Turnwald said rising interest rates and more stringent lending criteria had shut many first-home buyers out of the market altogether. "Investors seem to have lost enthusiasm as well, due to changing tax laws and increased LVRs making the market less appealing," he added.

Waikato

Residential property values continue to climb across the Waikato Region in general, rising by an average of 6.7% over the spring months − up slightly on the 5.1% quarterly rate of growth we reported at the end of October.

Hamilton’s average home value has increased by 29% over the last 12 months to $908,163, a figure that is already 7.1% higher than it was three months ago. Values have grown fastest this quarter in Kirikiriroa’s northeastern suburbs (8.8%) and in the north west (7.5%).

Local QV property consultant Tom Schicker commented: "Agents are reporting a shift in market sentiment as a result of changing tax regulations and increasing interest rates, with the mid-to-lower end of the Hamilton market becoming less active, resulting in properties priced above $1,000,000 seeing most of the activity in the market."

Meanwhile, he said the Waitomo District had experienced the strongest growth in average house value with an increase of 14.3% this quarter, closely followed by a 10.4% increase in Matamata-Piako District. "All districts in the Waikato region saw an increase over this period, with the only exception being Hauraki District, where there was a decline of 4.6%," he added.

Rotorua

Residential property values in Rotorua have increased by an average of 7.5% this spring, reaching a new mean average home value of $742,615 − a figure that is 23.2% higher than at the same exact time last year.

Despite this, property consultant Derek Turnwald said local agents had been reporting falling numbers of participants at recent auctions and open homes. "It does appear that first-home buyers are being marginalised now, due to changes to the LVRs, rising interest rates and increased debt funding criteria of the banks. Investors also seem to be losing interest," he said.

"Although the number of requests for appraisals is reasonable and it looks as though the traditional increase of listings over the summer months will occur, confidence does appear to be going from the market, with FOMO being replaced by a fear of paying too much."

Taranaki

Taranaki’s residential property market is hot, and getting hotter, judging by this month’s QV House Price Index. Home values across the region have increased by an average of 9.3% this quarter − up more than 3.5% on last month’s figure.

In New Plymouth, home values are 31.7% higher than the same time last year. They have risen by an even greater percentage in neighbouring Stratford (34.9%) and South Taranaki (40.9%).

Hawke’s Bay

Hastings’ rate of residential house price growth took off last month, increasing from 2.9% in October, to 3.5% in November. Its average home value now sits at $908,970, which is 36.4% higher than the exact same time last year.

Neighbouring Napier didn’t experience quite as much growth as Hastings in November at just 1.2%, and less than half as much over the past quarter, but its average home value ($879,492) is still 30.7% higher than the same time last year.

In Wairoa and the Central Hawke’s Bay District, the average home value has increased by 40.8% to $447,383 and 36.9% to $679,171 respectively over the past 12 months.

"Real estate agents in Hawke’s Bay are still reporting rising house prices across the board with increasing levels of interest coming from out-of-town buyers − especially Aucklanders," local QV valuer Damian Hall said.

"First-home buyers are still in a panic to enter the market and investors are starting to show an increase in activity again. Listing numbers have increased slightly, and so too has the number of buyer enquiries. Some agents are reporting they are still getting phone calls a week after a property has sold."

Mr Hall said the reopening of Auckland and Waikato’s borders could still pose a threat to the local economy, but otherwise the residential property market looked likely to remain strong well into the New Year. "Increased activity is somewhat reflective of this time of year. We suspect the market to remain steady leading into Christmas," he added.

Palmerston North

Again, home values continue to increase at a steadily declining rate in Palmerston North.

From an April peak of 10.9%, the city’s rolling three-monthly rate of home value growth has continued to decline every month since then, with the latest QV House Price Index recording just 2.7% value growth over the past quarter.

QV property consultant Olivia Roberts commented: "We continue to see growth in property prices around the Manawatu region. However, that rate of growth has slowed in recent months and we have begun to see residential home values level off somewhat after growing by an average of more than 30% over the past 12 months."

"Recent announcements regarding rising interest rates and income-to-debt ratios appear to be having a negative impact on the bottom end of the market. Real estate agents are reporting lower levels of demand in the market with a great deal of uncertainty as a result."

"The number of recent property listings has grown significantly in late November and early December, which suggests a levelling in supply and demand may potentially be taking effect," she added.

Wellington

Residential property values increased across the greater Wellington region by an average of 4.2% this spring.

In the last 12 months to the end of November, home values have grown by an average of 28.9%, with the Kapiti Coast (35.5%), Hutt City (34.6%), and Upper Hutt (31.3%) all recording annual growth exceeding 30%. Porirua isn’t far behind on 27.9%.

The average value of a home in Wellington City is now $1,238,970, which is 24.7% higher than the same time last year. The city’s northern suburbs have experienced the most growth this quarter (6.5%) and annually (34.4%).

Despite all this value growth, QV senior consultant Blake Ngarimu said open-home attendance had dropped off "a little" in recent months. "The recent lifting of interest rates and tightening of lending has resulted in many buyers struggling to obtain finance," he said.

"The upper end of the market remains strong across the Wellington region and continues to exceed expectations. Newly constructed dwellings in the outer suburbs approach the $2 million mark and a large Eastbourne Bays home recently sold for more than $4,500,000 after only a few weeks on the market."

"There will be fewer properties coming to the market from now until after the Christmas-New Year break. The first few months of next year will provide a better indication of where the market will be heading in 2022," he added.

Nelson

Residential property values continue to increase in Nelson − albeit at a slightly slower rate than last month.

The mean average home value increased by 1.7% in October, and by an average of 4.9% over the last three months, which is slightly down on the rates of 2.2% and 5.9% we reported last month respectively. Annually, values have climbed 22.6% to a new average of $859,537.

Local QV senior property consultant Craig Russell commented: "Inventory has increased considerably in recent months as demand eases in part due to affordability constraints given tightening credit controls and a rise in interest rates. Anecdotally we have heard that there are fewer prospective purchasers at open homes."

"Development land continues to be sought after, particularly land suitable for comprehensive housing developments," he added.

Canterbury

Canterbury continues to experience significant market growth, with residential property values increasing by an average of 11.7% across the region over the three calendar months of spring.

The market has been running even hotter in Christchurch, where home values have increased by an average of 12.7% since the end of August. The Garden City’s average home value is now $762,949, which local QV property consultant Olivia Brownie said was still relatively affordable by Auckland and Wellington standards.

"Though Christchurch home values have increased by an average of 38.3% over the last 12 months, they still compare reasonably well to other New Zealand main centres," she said. "We expect to see Christchurch and neighbouring districts to continue to catch up over the summer months with continued strong value growth."

"Though we haven’t yet seen any impact on Christchurch’s buoyant residential property market from the tightening of lending, the increase in the OCR, and rising mortgage interest rates, this may well change next year," she added.

Meanwhile, Canterbury’s Waimakariri District continues to experience similarly rapid value growth, with home values rising by an average of 38% over the past 12 months, and 11.5% this quarter alone. Values have risen even faster in Selwyn District, increasing by an average of 41.8% over the past 12 months and 12.9% over the last three.

Dunedin

Residential property values have increased by an average of 4.3% over the last three months in Dunedin.

The city’s average home value, $714,488, is now 19.4% higher than the same time last year, which is slightly lower than the 20.3% rate of annual growth we reported last month, which may signify a slight softening in the local real estate market. Time will tell.

Queenstown Residential property values have shot up by an average of 11.7% over the last three months. The average value of a home in Queenstown Lakes District is now $1,592,274, which is a remarkable 28% higher than the same time 12 months ago.

Local QV property consultant Greg Simpson commented: "There is currently a high demand for property and strengthening value growth. It’s notable that sales volumes have declined over recent quarters with reducing selling periods. However, property market conditions are currently subject to high potential for change and market uncertainty."

"We are now at orange on the traffic light system, which is likely to have a generally negative effect on the local economy for possibly the short-to-medium term," he added.

Invercargill

Home values have increased by an average of 4.3% this quarter in Invercargill, mere fractions of a percentage point down on the 4.6% we reported last month.

The average price of a home in New Zealand’s southernmost city is now $475,433, which is 16.7% higher than the same time last year.

Local QV property consultant Andrew Ronald said the latest QV House Price Index indicated that price levels were beginning to stabilise in Invercargill. "Demand remains strong for affordable homes within the $350,000 to $500,000 bracket with competition between first-home buyers, but it appears to have eased off somewhat for mid-range homes within the $500,000 to $800,000 bracket.

"This is a result of increasing interest rates and continued uncertainty surrounding Covid-19. 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

Waitomo District has experienced the most growth of the provincial centres this quarter − and indeed more than anywhere else in New Zealand, except Christchurch’s eastern suburbs − with property values growing by an average of 14.3% from the end of August to the end of November. It was followed by Wairoa (12.3%) and last month’s leader, Carterton (11.7%).

South Taranaki (40.9%) tops the list of the North Island’s provincial centres for annual value growth, with Wairoa (40.8%) and Carterton (39.5%) in second and third place respectively.

Provincial centres, South Island

It’s an all Canterbury top three on the South Island, with Selwyn (12.9%), Hurunui (11.9%), and Waimakariri (11.5%) experiencing the most residential property growth over the past three months.

Selwyn (41.8%) and Waimakariri (38%) are also first and second on the list of annual value growth, with Grey District (38%) kept to third place by a fraction of a percentage point.

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