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Winter Is Coming What's In Store For The Housing Market Over The Next Few Months?

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Latest QV House Price Index shows that the average home value increased nationally by just a fraction of a percentage point (0.1%) in the three months to the end of April 2024 to $926,772 – a significant slowdown from the 2.2% quarterly home value growth recorded at the end of March.

It’s shaping up to be another difficult winter for the housing market, with interest rates, inflation, and rising unemployment continuing to bite.

The national average home value is now 2.7% higher than at the same time last year, but still 12.9% ($136,993) below the market’s peak in late 2021.

QV operations manager James Wilson commented: “What little momentum the housing market still had going into autumn appears to have all but evaporated now. Home value growth has largely stalled across much of the country, reflecting difficult economic conditions that aren’t getting any easier and aren’t likely to anytime soon.

“The economy is doing it tough right now. High interest rates continue to bite, inflation remains stubbornly high, and the unemployment rate is rising. Business confidence is low and cost of living pressures remain a significant challenge for many households. Amidst all this, a surplus of real estate listings is helping to maintain downward pressure on prices.”

Our latest figures show Auckland’s three-month rolling average is negative for the third straight month (-0.7%), with Napier (-0.2%), Hastings (-0.7%), and Palmerston North (-0.1%) following suit in the April quarter. Home values also remained completely flat in Hamilton (0%) and flattened out in Tauranga (0.2%), Wellington (0.6%) and Christchurch (0.2%).

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Just Rotorua (3.6%), Dunedin (2.1%) and Invercargill (3.2%) bucked the prevailing trend this quarter – though it remains to be seen whether this home value growth will continue as what is traditionally the peak selling season for real estate starts to wind down for winter.

“Sales volumes are already relatively low and are likely to drop even lower as winter officially sets in. So what little growth there is will continue to be patchy and variable – but the overall trend appears to be a property market that is in a sort of stasis until conditions improve, which almost certainly won’t be until after winter,” Mr Wilson said.

“Given the circumstances, a flat market is to be expected. It will provide a stable foundation to step up off when interest rate pressure finally begins to ease, but that won’t likely be until late this year, if at all in 2024. In the meantime, mortgage holders are finding ways to hold on and banks are being supportive where possible.”

Meanwhile, first-home buyers have the upper hand, provided they have stable employment and finance in place. “Although getting finance and being in a position to service a mortgage in this economic environment certainly isn’t easy, buyers now control the narrative in most areas. They have time on their side and plenty of options to choose from,” said Mr Wilson.

“We haven’t seen large numbers of investors re-enter the market following the recent reintroduction of 80% interest deductibility for landlords, and the looming introduction of debt-to-income restrictions will almost certainly hamper their ability to purchase existing property when it eventually happens. So it seems like we could be in for another quiet winter.”

Northland

The housing market remains relatively slow but steady across the greater Northland region.

This month’s QV House Price Index is similar to the last and the one before it, with values up by an average of 1.4% for the April quarter – the same as in the March quarter, and just a fraction of a percentage point less than in the February quarter.

The average home value in Whangarei increased by 0.9% to $745,590 in the three months to the end of April 2024. In the Far North and Kaipara districts, average home values have increased by 2.5% and 0.6% respectively this quarter.

Auckland

Residential property values have reduced for three months in a row in Auckland.

The latest QV House Price Index shows the Super City’s average home value decreased by 0.7% to $1,281,996 this quarter. It follows three consecutive monthly reductions of 0.4% in February, 0.2% in March, and now 0.1% in April.

Only Rodney (2%) and Franklin (0.1%) were in the black this quarter. Home values reduced at an average rate of 1.9% on the North Shore, 1.1% in Waitakere, 0.5% in Auckland City, 1.6% in Manukau, and 1.5% in Papakura.

However, on an annualised basis, average home values are still higher on average in every district except Waitakere (-0.7%) and Franklin (-1.1%).

“It’s a pretty slow market out there at the moment,” said local QV registered valuer Hugh Robson. “Although there is plenty of stock available on the market, high interest rates are still a major factor for prospective buyers.”

“Generally speaking, people seem to be more concerned about their jobs right now and the high cost of living than purchasing property. Those who are active in the market tend to be looking for bargains, making lower offers and therefore putting downward pressure on prices.”

Tauranga

Home values have risen at a snail’s pace in Tauranga this quarter.

The city’s average home value has increased by 0.2% throughout the three months to the end of April 2024 – slightly less growth than in the three months to the end of March (0.5%) and considerably less than in the three months to the end of January (2.2%) and February (3.1%).

At $1,029,967, Tauranga’s average home value is now 1.4% higher than the same time last year, but 14.9% lower than the market’s peak in early 2022.

Waikato

Home values continue to slowly track upward across much of the Waikato, despite difficult economic conditions and cooling demand.

The QV House Price Index for April 2024 shows values increased by an average of 0.9% throughout the wider region this quarter, with only Hauraki District (-4.6%) and Hamilton (0%) showing either negative growth or none at all this period.

It is the second index in a row with little or no growth to show for Hamilton. However, the city’s average home value remains 1.7% higher than the same time last year at $789,393.

Local QV property consultant Marshall Wu commented: “High interest rates, cost of living pressures and deteriorating housing affordability are all factors that have contributed to softer market conditions since the end of last year.”

“The unemployment rate has begun to rise from its current low level, suggesting slower wage growth. Although inflation has slightly eased, cost of living pressures remain a significant challenge for many households. This results in lower savings rates, persistently low sentiment, and increased uncertainty when it comes to making high-commitment financial decisions like purchasing property,” he added.

Taranaki

New Plymouth’s average home value increased by 0.7% this quarter to $720,558.

This represents a slower rate of quarterly home value growth than the 2.1% reported in our previous QV House Price Index, with the neighbouring districts of Stratford (-2.2%) and South Taranaki (-1.3%) even posting small quarterly home value reductions for the first time since the end of last winter.

On an annualised basis, New Plymouth’s average home value is 0.9% higher than the same time last year. In Stratford and South Taranaki, home values are also 0.4% and 1.5% higher on average than at the end of April 2023.

Hawke’s Bay

Home values have dropped marginally across all of Hawke’s Bay.

The latest QV House Price Index for April 2024 shows that the average home value reduced by 0.4% across the wider region, with values in Napier (-0.2%) and Hastings (-0.7%) holding up both better and worse than average respectively. Wairoa saw the largest average decline at 1.2% for the quarter.

The three-month rolling rate of home value growth has been negative now for three months on the trot in Hastings, where the average home value ($791,347) is now 0.2% lower than at the start of this calendar year.

In Napier, the average home value ($759,293) is 0.7% higher than at the start of 2024, but still 16.4% lower than the market’s peak in early 2022.

“The market is generally pretty flat here at the moment,” said QV Hawke’s Bay manager Damian Hall. “Though things are still moving, properties are taking longer to sell. There has been an increase in the number of listings, so buyers have more choice, but banks are still tight on lending.”

Palmerston North

The local housing market has dipped a little in Palmerston North.

Our latest figures show that the average home value reduced by 0.1% to $644,491 throughout the three months to the end of April 2024 – representing the city’s first quarterly home value reduction since August last year.

Local QV registered valuer Olivia Betts said the bottom end of the market appeared to be struggling more than the upper end. “Agents have reported a good level of interest in properties that have recently been fully modernised. This dynamic suggests that the supply of the number of new dwellings is not keeping up with the demand for newer style accommodation.”

“Affordability is still a significant concern as the majority of borrowers are now experiencing the higher interest rates, which do not look to reduce significantly in the next 12 months,” she added.

Wellington

Wellington’s regional rate of home value growth has flattened this quarter.

The latest QV House Price Index shows the region’s average home value increased by just 0.6% to $873,614 throughout the April 2024 quarter – a significant reduction on the 2% quarterly growth reported in last month’s index, and the 2.5% quarterly growth recorded back in February.

For the third straight index, Kapiti Coast saw the largest amount of positive quarterly growth – its average home value increasing by 3.3% to $849,665 – with average values in Upper Hutt and Porirua increasing by 2.6% to $766,499 and 1.6% to $838,190 respectively.

The average home value remained steady this quarter in Wellington City at $1,009,403, and reduced by 0.5% to $791,451 in Hutt City.

“Tough economic conditions, high interest rates, and job insecurity in the region is having a detrimental impact on the Wellington property market,” said local QV senior consultant David Cornford.

“Current market conditions are providing first-home buyers with a window of opportunity to enter the market before prices likely start to recover when interest rates are cut – either late this year or early next year, as widely expected.”

In the meantime, he said more stock had come on to the market than is being sold. “This is giving buyers plenty of choice in what it is now considered a ‘buyers’ market’.”

Nelson

Home value growth remains slow and steady in Nelson, amidst rising stock levels and generally challenging economic conditions.

The QV House Price Index for April shows that the average home value in Nelson has increased by 0.8% to $780,965 this quarter – up slightly on the 0.2% quarterly home value growth reported in our March index, but down slightly on the 1.2% quarterly growth reported back in February.

Local home values are still 0.8% lower on average than at the same time last year, and 14% below the market’s peak just over two years ago.

QV Nelson/Marlborough manager Craig Russell said the number of properties for sale in the region continued to rise, with a number of properties sitting on the market for an extended period of time.

“Properties need to be competitively priced to meet the current market, which favours purchasers at present,” he said. “Properties within the Tahunanui Slump are struggling to sell and are being discounted to varying levels, dependant on the individual attributes of the property, which includes any prior damage or claim history.”

“Entry-level housing continues to be the most active segment of the market with generally good enquiry levels from first-home buyers,” Mr Russell added.

West Coast

Residential property values continue to climb upward in the West Coast region.

The latest QV House Price Index shows the average home value has risen 5.1% to $371,482 in Buller, and by 3.9% to $450,174 in Westland. Grey District recorded even more growth than its neighbours this quarter, with its average home value increasing 7.9% to $443,034.

Although low sales volumes are still causing the rate of home value growth to fluctuate from month to month, the longer-term trend shows the average home in the West Coast region is now worth 12.7% more than the same time last year.

Canterbury

Home values have increased nominally across the Canterbury region.

The latest index shows residential property values increased across the overall Canterbury region by 0.7% this quarter, which is down on the 1.4% growth recorded for the quarter ending March, as well as the quarters ending February (2%) and January (2.9%). Annually, the average home value is 5.7% higher than at the same time last year.

In Christchurch, the average home value has increased by 0.2% to $766,312 this quarter – down from 1.5% growth to the end of March, and 2.4% growth for the quarter to the end of February. The city’s annual rate of growth is 6.2%.

In the wider Christchurch region, the adjoining Selwyn District recorded an average quarterly increase of 0.5% and an average value of $843,062, just one fraction of a percentage point less growth than in the March quarter. The Waimakariri District also recorded an average quarterly increase of 0.9% in April – up from 0.2% in the March quarter – and an average value of $717,803.

“The latest quarterly index figures show only quite nominal changes,” said local QV registered valuer Rod Thornton. “These recent trends reflect what we have seen over the past few months with a slowing market, reported higher listings, and it appears currently there is some modest pressure on values.”

Otago

Residential property values continue to slowly rise across the greater Otago region – with just one exception this quarter.

The average home value in Clutha reduced by 2.6% in the three months to the end of April 2024. All other Otago districts experienced growth of between 1.1% and 2.3% on average, with the city of Dunedin sitting in-between those figures on 2.1% growth for the quarter.

The average value of a home in Dunedin is now $646,668, which is 4.4% higher than the same time last year, but 10.9% lower than the market’s peak at the end of 2021.

“The number of days to sell has dropped, which may indicate the close of what is typically the main real estate selling season and buyers wanting to settle and move home prior to winter setting in,” said local QV registered valuer Rebecca Johnston.

“Following the imminent conclusion of the 2023/2024 selling season, we expect growth to be minimal throughout the winter months, with an expected increase in listings once changes to the bright-line test coming into effect from 1 July, which could possibly cause some fluctuations.”

Queenstown

Residential property values appear to have finally plateaued in Queenstown.

The average home value locally has increased by just 1.1% to $1,826,645 in the April quarter, which includes two consecutive months of no growth.

The average value is 5.2% higher than the same time last year.

Invercargill

Home values in Invercargill have proven more buoyant than most this quarter.

Our QV House Price Index for April 2024 shows the city’s average home value increased by a relatively robust 3.2% this quarter to $481,973. This is compared to an average increase of just 0.1% nationally over the same period of time.

QV registered valuer Andrew Ronald commented: “The average Capital Value is now $481,973, dropping from a peak in March 2022 of $498,473. Home values in the city have increased by an average of 5.9% in the 12 months to the end of April 2024.”

“Home values have increased for three months in a row. There is healthy demand from first-home buyers and investors are beginning to return to the market with the restoration of interest tax deductibility rules. However, continued high interest rates appear to be limiting price growth,” he said.

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