Property editor of the NZ Herald

Has the gloss left Auckland's housing market?

Could Auckland's property market finally be levelling off after all these years?

Three big chunks of data have been released this week and all point to a little of the gloss going off Auckland, some by stating that clearly, while others only hint at it by showing growth in many other areas of New Zealand outstripping what was once the country's hottest real estate spot.

No one is calling an end to Auckland's bull run right now.

We are also in the off season for real estate, in the depths of winter.

But certainly all three new data sets - and one economist - have noticed signs of some change and said something about it.

• A boss at Auckland's biggest agency certainly indicated that when market leader Barfoot & Thompson's average sale price dropped from $908,343 in June to $867,681 last month.

"For the first time in five years, the Auckland housing market is showing unmistakable signs that prices are stabilising and may even be plateauing," said Barfoot chief executive Wendy Alexander.

• On Monday, showed the asking prices for Auckland properties edged up last month yet the number of people looking at houses in the country's biggest city has dropped from the same time last year. said this "reinforces the possibility that the shine may have come off the Auckland market."

• Quotable Value figures out yesterday reinforced that emerging image of a change.
Hamilton home values are growing at double Auckland's. QV data showed that Auckland's 16 per cent year on year value rise was being outstripped by Hamilton's 31.5 per cent year on year value rise for the latest period.

And Hamilton wasn't the only place making Auckland look a tad lacklustre.

"Home values in Tauranga City continued to rise rapidly up a huge 25.7 per cent year on year," QV said.

"In the South Island, the clear leader is the Queenstown Lakes District rising 27 per cent since July 2015 and 8.1 per cent over the past three months; values in nearby Central Otago are also on the rise up 18.3 per cent year on year and 6.6 per cent over the past three months," QV's statement said.

If the Reserve Bank cuts the official cash rate soon, as is widely expected, what could that do to the housing market?

Kim Mundy, ASB economist, analysed the data this week.

"Historically-low levels of inventory are keeping New Zealand's housing market tight. This is particularly evident in the Wellington market. However, the Auckland housing market appears to be slightly quieter than elsewhere, with rising inventory levels. But low inventory levels overall will also keep pressure on prices in Auckland. For NZ as a whole, we expect low inventory levels relative to demand to keep the pressure on house prices. We will be closely watching the housing data over the remainder of the year as the new investor LVR restrictions begin to have an impact on activity.

"This has no implications for our OCR view. We continue to expect the RBNZ to cut the OCR by 25bp apiece in August and November," Mundy's commentary said.

- NZ Herald

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