Despite the Government's "comprehensive plan" to address the housing crisis, economists at the ANZ say there is still a whole host of problems across the housing market.

These include the usual suspects of excess demand, insufficient supply and lack of builders.

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It also reports that building costs are up 5.6 per cent across the country, and up 7.6 per cent in Auckland -- which adds more than $50,00 to a $700,000 house in the SuperCity.

The rise, well above the 0.4 per cent inflation figure, hasn't escaped the attention of the Reserve Bank.


It wrote on July 21 that house price inflation "remains excessive and has become more broad-based across the regions, adding to concerns about financial stability".

Is price gouging going on as companies push prices to the limit of what the market can bear?

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank is looking at ways to mitigate risks to the country's financial stability due to the boom in house prices.

And in a totally unrelated development, the share price of Fletcher Construction (FBU) has risen more than 22 per cent during the past 52 weeks; from $7.66 a year ago to $9.40. Doubles and triples all round.

House prices to soften

Economic analysis firm Infometric says house prices across the country will rise by 17 per cent before starting to slide by 11 per cent in the two years to September 2019.

Despite Auckland's estimated 32,000 shortfall in available housing, the firm's chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan says it may lead to some softening of house prices in the SuperCity.

Negative rates


Regular readers of this column may remember that I previously have reported on negative interest rates charged by banks in countries such as Japan and Sweden.

Although New Zealand's banks are far from introducing such a measure, our OCR is trickling down with talk of it dropping to 1.5 per cent next year.

However, in the UK, the NatWest Bank has written to its customers saying it may charge them for looking after their savings. It's the new topsy-turvy world of banking -- where borrowers are rewarded with low interest rates, and savers are penalised.

Chinese buyers

Real Estate firm Ray White has signed a deal with Chinese firm Lianjia to market New Zealand property via its network of 6000-plus branches in more than 25 cities across China.

Carey Smith, Ray White's chief executive in New Zealand, says the deal is an initiative led by its Australian arm.

Property tax

Foreigners buying a home in Vancouver, Canada, will have to pay a 15 per cent tax on the price of the property. The provincial government is targeting foreign buyers saying they are distorting its local market.