New housing market data shows the first signs of a looming slowdown post lockdown and Tauranga could be the first to fall.
The CoreLogic House Price Index for February 2021 suggests a housing slowdown could be on its way with Tauranga the first of the main centres to see a month-on-month drop in house prices.
While values in other centres continued to rise, the Tauranga decline could be a signal of things to come with the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions officially back in place this week and further tightening for investors from May 1, CoreLogic believed.
Head of research Nick Goodall said there was a dip in values of 1.5 per cent in Tauranga over the month of February.
"But in the broader context of 6.7 per cent growth over the last three months it's too soon to call this a trend.
"Tauranga does stick out when it comes to unaffordability, however, with 43 per cent of the average income required to service a mortgage – the worst of the main centres."
This meant there were factors in play that could lead to a prolonged slowdown in property-value growth, Goodall said.
"As is the case in most other parts of the country, limited stock of listings, a lack of land for development and restrictive infrastructure spend by councils is prohibiting supply, at a time when demand is strong."
Nationwide property values continued to grow over the month, increasing 2.6 per cent. This takes growth in the last 12 months to 14.5 per cent - a rate not bettered since the 12 months to October 2016 which rose 14.8 per cent.
The current rate of growth is likely to ease over the coming months with the LVR restrictions officially back in place this week, Goodall said.
"From a nationwide perspective banks have been busy assessing mortgage applications and ordering valuations for properties to lend on, but there are anecdotes of rushed applications to 'beat the return of LVR restrictions' from banks outside the 'big 4'.
"Interestingly, mortgage advisers have stressed the importance of clear communication of the LVR limits as potential would-be buyers are put off due to the perception of requiring a 20 per cent deposit.
"This is because there is an allowance of up to 20 per cent of new lending to be written with less than the standard 20 per cent deposit, as well as there being exemptions to the limits for new builds."
Auckland's recent momentum continued to build in February, with average values up 2.9 per cent and second only to Dunedin in terms of monthly change amongst the main centres.
The average property value in Hamilton went above $700,000 for the first time in February, hitting $712,717 – up 2.7 per cent from January's mark and also 14.5 per cent higher than a year earlier.