New housing market data out today reflects market changes, with volumes and values down.
Nick Goodall, CoreLogic research head, said the last time house values last fell for an extended length of time, they went down by 10 per cent.
That was from October 2007 to February 2009 during the global financial crisis.
The change was well publicised, he said, but the length of the downturn was not as well known.
"In total, it took five years from October 2007 to September 2012 for property values to get back to parity with the pre-GFC peak, so perhaps the risk is not so much for a large-scale drop, but expectations should probably be tempered for how long it takes the market to stage a nominal recovery," Goodall said.
The CoreLogic house price index out today shows the market has weakened further and the power is shifting to buyers.
Barfoot & Thompson's Northland and Auckland data also out today showed prices up - but sales volumes down.
CoreLogic said house values flattened in March, a further drop from the February reading and the lowest monthly rate of change since the weakness which followed the Covid-enforced national lockdown in August 2020.
Every main centre had price drops or a reduction in the monthly, quarterly and annual growth rates, CoreLogic said.
Dunedin values fell 1.3 per cent last month, the largest monthly decline since February 2009. The annual rate of growth dropped to 12.5 per cent, which is well down on the peak rate of growth achieved only six months ago of 23.2 per cent, CoreLogic said.
Hamilton and Wellington values fell 0.9 per cent and 0.8 per cent. Christchurch values fell 0.2 per cent but its annual growth rate to March was 31.6 per cent. Tauranga's annual growth rate was 32.1 per cent but that dropped to just 0.6 per cent growth in March.
Auckland's house values rose 24.7 per cent annually but that dropped to 1.4 per cent for March. Values in the southern parts of the city were weaker than the rest: Manukau -0.3 per cent, Papakura +0.1 per cent, Franklin -0.9 per cent, Auckland City was 2.6 per cent, Rodney was 2.3 per cent.
Rotorua and Upper Hutt values fell 2.1 per cent and 2 per cent in March. Gisborne values rose 3.4 per cent.
Most other areas saw minor falls or very slight growth of between -0.6 per cent and +0.4 per cent in March.
Goodall said that after such significant value rises, some of the areas which saw the greatest deterioration in affordability are now also at risk of the greatest vulnerability for value drops.
"The impact of tightening credit and increasing interest rates has reduced the pool of buyers who are willing and able to pay recent prices and this has led to a reduced number of property transactions," he said.
Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said March sales of 1180 were down a third from last March. The most significant trend was the growth in the number of listings. The agency got 1994 new listings last month, swelling inventory to 4816 properties for sale, the highest in nearly three years.
The average sale price in March was $1,234,572, up 3.2 per cent on February and 11.4 per cent higher than last March.
The median was $1,180,000, up 5.1 per cent from February and 13 per cent annually.
Thompson remained upbeat about the data.
"Contrary to economic forecasts, the average and median sale prices of Auckland residential property in March showed resilience rather than declining. Many market analysts will be surprised by the prices achieved. There was a definite storyline developing that prices had fallen, but that prediction is a little premature. March sales were right in line with what typically happens at this time of the year as vendors and buyers return to the market after the summer holiday break," he said.
But he also acknowledged a sentiment change.
"Buyers are being more cautious than at the end of 2021 and vendors are trimming back price expectations that were based on the prices being achieved at year end."
The latest OneRoof-Valocity house value index reported on Friday that Auckland house prices had fallen for the first time in almost two years, with values in one inner city suburb dropping by more than $150,000.
Auckland houses are now worth $1.55m on average. Values fell 0.1 per cent in the first three months of this year.
Mt Roskill homes suffered the biggest falls.
The suburb's average house value fell 11.6 per cent or $166,000 in the quarter compared with the last three months of 2021 to hit a new $1.28m average price.
Michael Gordon, Westpac economist, said at the end of February there was now enough evidence to declare that the housing boom has ended, with prices turning downward in the last two months.
Westpac had long been saying that house prices could and would fall once we saw a meaningful rise in mortgage rates. That happened, with fixed-term rates now factoring in the prospect of a series of OCR hikes over the next couple of years.