Auckland median house prices drop 1.4 per cent

The  median sale price of real estate across New Zealand  dropped $4000 to $516,000 in December  according to  the Real Estate Institute. Take Auckland out of the equation and the national  figure  is  $420,000.

In Auckland the median sale price last month was  $840,000, down 1.4 per cent on November’s $852,000 ($868,000 in October). Sales volumes across the region were 2 per cent  lower than November  on a seasonally adjusted basis.   The volume of sales across the country in  December  was 6533, a drop of 11 per cent  on December 2015.

The institute’s CEO Bindi Norwell says the underlying trend is one of   rising prices across New Zealand coupled with  flat or falling sales volumes in many areas of the country.
“In Auckland, the long-term median price trend has been consistently rising, despite a slight easing compared to November 2016,” she says.

Ongoing supply issues and  a growing population  in the SuperCity are  being countered by higher fixed rate home loans and the 40 per cent LVR on investment properties. The next few months will be interesting.

Investors blamed

A Property Institute survey  reveals foreign investors are  blamed by the public  for having the biggest impact on last year’s soaring house prices in Auckland.

The institute’s CEO, Ashley Church, commissioned the poll, conducted by Curia Market Research, to get a feel for people’s  perceptions about property.

He says: “I’m surprised by some of the results — particularly the unexpectedly broad view that foreign investors are having the biggest impact on the property market —  but as a snapshot of perceptions these views are important and shouldn’t be ignored.”

Church says the views expressed in the survey aren’t necessarily correct,  but  they are an important barometer of market sentiment.

He says that geographically, by gender, political persuasion and age group — “foreign investors” were nominated across the board as having the “biggest impact” on  prices.

More than half of those surveyed (56 per cent) thought house  price inflation would   continue in the next six months, 8 per cent picked a decrease and 28 per cent didn’t expect price inflation to change.

Church says the current  slowdown in the Auckland market is due to the Reserve Bank’s LVR restrictions, rather than any loss of confidence in the market.

No more garages

Realtor Bayleys says people may choose to live in rural areas as a result of driverless car technology, which would let owners travel  to work while they sleep or work.

Bayleys’ national residential manager Daniel Coulson says: “In Auckland this could push up house prices in greenbelt locations such as Te Kauwhata, Warkworth and Helensville. Fringe suburbs could become more desirable as the inconvenience of driving goes away.”

He also says fewer people may own a car, relying instead on car sharing or driverless taxi services.
“A reduction in car ownership would free up the space needed for garages and driveways. That space could be transformed into anything from an  additional bedroom or family room to a man cave.

“Some car-parking operators in the US are already beginning to think about how they could reuse or sell their properties in a driverless world.”

Deputy head of urban design at the University of Auckland, professor Errol Haarhoff, says driverless cars could make personal car-ownership redundant.