Market cools and questions over contaminated building sites

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There’s a chill in the air

The housing market is expected to cool in the coming months, according to CoreLogic’s Jonno Ingerson — but the chill won’t last.

He predicts there will be fewer people at open homes and auctions, that property sales numbers will dip and values will not increase as fast as they have been.

He writes: “The tighter lending rules have already knocked out some first-home buyers who will now have to go away and save a higher deposit if they want to jump on the [housing] ladder.”

Ingerson also writes that if you bought a property in Hamilton a year ago, then you would have seen it rise in value by 30 per cent.

He says the big losers seem to be people looking to move to a better home.

“This group of people are increasingly staying put and either using the low interest rates to pay down mortgage debt, or [using] the added value [of their homes] to fund renovations.”

Have we reached another peak in the market? Ingerson offers a cautious “no”.

 

Contaminated building sites

Are we about to see homes built on contaminated land? The Ministry for the Environment, which comes under Housing Minister Nick Smith, is consulting on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil (Nescs).

At first blush it seems these pesky rules are preventing developers from building on contaminated land, such as former orchards.

The Environment Ministry says requiring potentially contaminated sites be investigated for development has “reduced the likelihood that sites will be developed”.

Reducing risks to human health, says the ministry, is “creating inefficiencies, resulting in low-risk sites and activities being required to comply with the Nescs”. Who’s to say what is low risk for our children?

Perhaps Smith will allow rules such as those applied to our rivers whereby a “wadeable” water standard is deemed acceptable because having clean rivers is “not achievable”. Perhaps children wearing hazmat suits when playing in the back yard will become acceptable — because building homes on safe land is “not achievable”.

The public is invited to have its say, see mfe.govt.nz.

Stock shortage

The Real Estate Institute says the number of homes for sale continues to fall with an 18 per cent drop on a year ago. The shortage means sale prices will remain firm.

It says the national median price rose 5.8 per cent year-on-year to $492,000, although it fell 3 per cent ($13,000) month-on-month. The Auckland median is $842,500.

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