House price growth slowing down

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
House price growth has eased for the third month in a row suggesting efforts to cool the market may be working.

Quotable Value's three-month average House Price Index to the end of July rose 4.3 per cent over the month earlier, which was down from 6.6 per cent growth in the month earlier.

The national average value was $952,078 last month, representing a year-on-year increase of more than 26 per cent, little changed from growth seen in June.

Recent efforts to cool the market included tax measures, along with the reintroduction of bank lending restrictions for owner occupiers and investors.

Further measures were expected, including debt-to-income restrictions.

"Three-monthly value growth has more than halved since April when it was rocketing along at 8.9 percent," QV general manager David Nagel said.

All 16 major regions have shown a drop in growth, with Palmerston North and Christchurch recording the strongest gains over the past three months.

While none of the regions saw a drop in their average value, Marlborough's growth had flattened out.

QV property consultant Olivia Brownie said 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 per cent in June and an April peak of 3.5 per cent.

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

"This suggests that residential house prices have been less affected by winter than we normally might have expected,” said 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 percent in Christchurch in July, a slight drop from the 1.9 per cent 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 per cent in July and 12.7 per cent for the quarter. The city’s hillside suburbs weren’t far behind, with an average increase of 3.1 per cent for the month and 11.6 per cent 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 per cent in the 12 months to the end of July.

"The fundamentals of the property market are still strong, so we're unlikely to see a wholesale reduction of values anytime soon, but 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," Nagel said.

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

-Additional reporting RNZ


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