The Auckland housing market has cooled somewhat and residential property sales are down around 20 per cent on this time last year.
There are signs value increases may have peaked in some central suburbs with Auckland City/Central down 1.2 per cent since April and Auckland City/East down 1.3 per cent over the past month. A "disconnect" between sellers' expectations and what buyers are willing or able to pay, is also being reported.
The QV house price index, however, shows Auckland home values are up 11.7 per cent year on year to July and values increased in most parts of the city over the past three months. North Shore/Coastal led this increase, up 3.5 per cent, followed by Rodney North up 3.2 per cent and Waitakere City up 2.6 per cent.
The fall in sales under $400,000 since the LVR "speed limits" were introduced has been heralded as an indicator that first home buyers have been shut out of the market. CoreLogic research explained in its article (page 10) that this isn't the case and rather sales are down across the board.
In Auckland, $400,000 is no longer a helpful marker for the entry level of the market as most homes are now over that price. Home values have risen on average by 30 per cent over the past three years and even if you look at the areas of Auckland with the lowest average home value, such as Manukau/Central; Manukau/North West; Papakura; and Franklin, all are now in the mid to high 400,000s. So the statistics showing a large drop in sales at this level is more a reflection of the fact that it is difficult get a house for that price any more in the Super City.
First home buyers are still active in Auckland but it's harder for them to get finance now they need a 20 per cent deposit. QV valuers report first home buyers have been impacted in parts of Manukau such as Papatoetoe and Mangere yet investors are still active there. First home buyers are still active on the North Shore and Waitakere City while in Auckland Central they tend to be more active in the apartment market.
So where to from here? Interest rate rises are on hold for now, banks have loosened up somewhat on low deposit lending and migration (internal and external) continues to Auckland so it may be that daylight savings will bring the usual seasonal upturn in the market once the election's over and the sun comes out.