No good news for buyers was contained in either of
yesterday's two releases on New Zealand's residential real
estate market, as inventory reached a new low and the
national asking price remained high.
The realestate.co.nz New Zealand property report showed
national asking prices remained strong, up 8% on a year ago
and down just 0.4% for the month at $463,142. Auckland, the
cause of much of New Zealand's housing woes, recorded a new
peak average asking price of $650,114.
The BNZ-Real Estate Institute market survey had a record
proportion of agents seeing the current market as one for
sellers, and investors were increasingly becoming the driving
The survey, which had 418 responses, showed a sharp jump in
the number of agents seeing more people asking for appraisals
which, on the face of it, suggested more listings soon.
BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said buyers should contain
their enthusiasm as the rise was entirely a seasonal change,
as was seen clearly in 2012 and 2011.
Interest from investors appeared firm, the measure rising for
the second month in a row to sit at above-average levels of a
net 26% positive versus 17% average.
''When one takes into account the reduction in the ability of
young buyers to make a purchase caused by the Reserve Bank's
new rules, New Zealand appears increasingly headed down the
same track as Australia, where investors are becoming the key
driving force in many markets - caused by discontent with low
bank deposit rates - while first-home buyers are squeezed
out,'' he said.
Realestate.co.nz reported the stock of unsold houses on the
market fell sharply to a record low of 23.4 weeks. A year
ago, the level was 31 weeks. Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and
Waikato had record-low inventories.
A lift in new listings in August gave the New Zealand
property market a healthy start for spring, 10,715 new
listings coming on the market - the highest for August in
five years. But high levels of sales had kept inventories
The overall market was firmly pointed in favour of sellers
across most of New Zealand, 17 of the 19 regions recording
below-average long-term inventory levels.
Inventory is measured in terms of equivalent weeks of sales.
ASB economist Christine Leung said the supply constraints had
continued to put upward pressure on house prices.
''We estimate Real Estate Institute-stratified house prices,
which takes into account the composition of house sales,
increased 1.3% in August once seasonally adjusted, with
prices now 9.5% higher on year-ago levels.''
House price inflation was ''particularly high'' in Auckland
and Christchurch, where housing shortages were most acute.
Over the past year, house prices had increased about 17% in
Auckland and about 7% in Christchurch.
Although there were signs higher house prices were
encouraging stronger house-building demand in those regions,
Ms Leung expected it would be years before the housing supply
and demand imbalance was resolved.
''In the meantime, we expect house price growth will remain
relatively high in these regions,'' she said.
At a glance
• Otago: $283,986, down 0.6%.
• Central Otago-Lakes: $632,575, up 0.5%.
• Southland: $232,882, up 1.3%.
• Canterbury: $404,993, down 4%.
• Otago: 379, down 5%.
• Central Otago-Lakes: 293, up 8.9%.
• Southland: 309, up 12.4%.
• Canterbury: 1147, up 11.8%.
• Otago: 21 weeks, long-term average 28
• Central Otago-Lakes: 56 weeks, LTA 94
• Southland: 37 weeks, LTA 34 weeks.
• Canterbury: 15 weeks, LTA 29 weeks.