Auckland house prices party on – but for how long?

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Jan 2022, 11:32AM
The agency sells one in three Auckland homes. Photo / supplied
The agency sells one in three Auckland homes. Photo / supplied

Auckland house prices party on – but for how long?

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Jan 2022, 11:32AM

Rising interest rates, tighter bank lending criteria and investor tax changes did not dent house sales by Auckland's biggest agency last month. 

Peter Thompson, Barfoot & Thompson managing director, has announced that further price records were set and more than 200 places were sold for $2 million-plus. 

December's average $1,278,647 was up 7.4 per cent for the quarter and 17 per cent annually. But the $1,235,000 median was up 22.9 per cent annually, he said. 

"The market took news of rising interest rates, tighter bank lending criteria and changes to investor taxation restrictions in its stride, with strong buyer interest right up to Christmas Eve," Thompson said today. 

The agency sells around a third of Auckland homes annually, it noted. 

The Government is "determined" to address housing affordability, Prime Minister Jacinda said last month as house prices hit a new record. 

Real Estate Institute figures out on December 13 showed the median national house price reached $925,000, up 23.8 per cent annually, begging the question about when the $1 million threshold might be reached. 

Ardern said the Government was "using all the tools available", such as changes to tax settings, supporting first home buyers and increasing supply. 

"We are determined to see a change in housing," she said. 

"No one is arguing that a collapse in the housing market would be acceptable, but we cannot afford to see year on year these dramatic increases in prices". 

PM Jacinda Ardern said last month the Government was "determined" to address housing affordability. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

Others are forecasting the house price rise party to end soon. 

The Reserve Bank expects a 5 per cent fall over the next few years and New Zealand's largest bank, ANZ has forecast a 4 per cent drop by the middle of this year. ASB economists have also forecast a 4 per cent drop this year but not till the second half of 2022. 

But Thompson said today: "Buyers were not deterred by current prices, and during December we sold 255 homes for more than $2 million. In spite of being severely hampered by Covid regulations for 15 weeks, 2021 was the company's most active since 2015, and on average we sold 1119 properties each month." 

Its listing numbers have climbed lately. 

Vendors listed 948 new properties last month and the agency now has 3646 properties for sale. 

Thompson acknowledged expert forecasts of change. 

"The majority of commentators are forecasting that prices will continue to increase in the first half of 2022, but that the rate of increase will decline. 

"Trading in the Auckland property market is invariably patchy in the first weeks of the year and any trends in terms of prices and sales numbers is unlikely to be established until February's data is released in early March," he said. 

December was quieter than many other months, with its 911 sales compared to November's surge of 1182. In December 2020, the agency sold 1479 Auckland homes. 

It declared 87 per cent of its sales for last year were over $500,000, making it an average 1071 sales/month in that range. 

Of all its sales last year, 21 per cent were over $2m. 

Northland, north and south Auckland rural and lifestyle property sales were also strong. 

Those categories recorded sales of more than $105m in December. 

The average monthly sales for the year in these markets was $95.5m, Thompson said. 

- by Anne Gibson, NZ Herald