Auckland property prices dip

For the first time in more than a year Auckland property values have dropped in price — to an average $928,921.

Property valuation firm QV, part-owned by the government, says its House Price Index shows the cost of home in the Super City went down half of one  per cent during January, and that average values for residential homes across the country dropped 0.3 per cent.  Prices similarly dipped in January 2014.

However, the drop in Auckland  prices is modest when compared to last year’s gains.  Prices rose 19.8 per cent last year and have risen 70 per cent since 2007.

QV spokesperson Andrea Rush, says: “It’s possible the easing in values in Auckland may be short-lived as the underlying factors driving house prices up remain: record high net migration, record low interest rates and a lack of housing supply.”

The firm also has evidence of increased land banking,  most recently in Drury and Karaka, south of Auckland. It also says the lifestyle market is  ramping up.

Barfoot & Thompson CEO Peter Thompson says not only are prices down, but listings are tight in Auckland.

At the end of January the firm had 2574 properties on its books, the lowest number of new January listings for 21 years at the agency.
In Christchurch, the number of properties  Harcourts listed last month slipped 5.1 per cent to 2116 when compared to the same time last year.

Property values  are up 9 per cent on a year ago, and average prices are $439,000.  Sales are up 7 per cent,  and the rebuild is keeping up with demand — something we’d all like to say about Auckland.
First cut of the year

When Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent during 2014 I was among those wondering why.

Having raised them at the wrong time, he is now  lowering them — at the wrong time. High interest rates would have helped cool Auckland’s housing market last year. Instead Wheeler had to lower the OCR back to 2.5 per cent.

Last week, Wheeler said: “Some further policy easing may be required over the coming year to ensure that future average inflation settles near the middle of the target range [2 per cent].”
Will he cut the OCR to 2.25 per cent in March or June to give the overall economy a boost?

Flip a coin and call it. Cuts are coming.