Aotearoa New Zealand’s residential property downturn continues to decelerate, with the nation’s three-month rolling rate of decline reducing for the fourth straight month.
The QV House Price Index for July 2023 shows the average home decreased in value by 1.5% nationally this quarter, which is a smaller rate of decline than the 1.8% change experienced back in June, and considerably lower than the 3.5% and 3.4% quarterly declines experienced back in April and May respectively. The national average now sits at $888,999.
That figure is now 10.2% less than the same time last year, but just 0.3% lower than at the end of June. Four of the 16 main urban areas we monitor recorded small amounts of positive home value growth in the three months to the end of July nationwide – Hamilton (0.1%), New Plymouth (0.4%), Christchurch (0.8%), and Invercargill (0.8%).
Home values continue to diminish in Auckland (-1.5%) and Wellington (-1.7%), with the average rate of reduction increasing in Nelson (-2.4%), Whangarei (-1.4%), Queenstown (-1.3%), and Rotorua (-0.5%). The latter two recorded positive growth in last month’s index, reflecting the current level of heightened volatility in the market.
Quotable Value (QV) operations manager James Wilson said it wouldn’t be unusual to see home values continue to yo-yo across the motu for the foreseeable future, largely as a result of reduced sales activity.
“Though low sales volumes continue to impact the monthly value change results significantly, causing some short-term spikes in average home value levels, the longer term trend is pretty clearly a residential property market that is bottoming out after some very significant home value reductions over the last 18 months or so,” he said.
“But it’s still early days and we’re unlikely to see the market reach a consistent bottom overnight. Instead, we’re likely to see significant variations in performance in sub markets across the country, as we see demand return in certain areas and for certain property types at different times. Meanwhile, that heightened level of volatility is set to continue until sales volumes increase further.”
Mr Wilson said first-home buyers remained most active in the market today, but investors were beginning to show some renewed interest generally. “While investors never removed themselves from the market entirely, they have adopted more cautious attitudes in recent times. Now we’re starting to see growing numbers competing for entry-level stock in areas they view as offering good value for money.”
“There are still also some property types, like small to medium development sites, for example, which have taken significant hits to their value levels since the downturn began and are likely to continue to decline as demand for these properties has really dropped away. New building consent numbers are forecast to remain suppressed throughout the year, as interest rates, build rates and overall demand continue to hamper demand,” he added.
Northland’s residential property downturn has deepened this quarter, with the rate of decline increasing from June to July.
Home values have reduced across the wider region by an average of 12% in the last 12 months, with the Far North District (13.4%) leading the pack. Values are also down 11.5% annually in Whangarei and 10.5% in Kaipara.
Local QV registered valuer Renee Pilkington said Whangarei’s average home value had decreased by 1.4% to $727,387 in the July quarter. “High interest rates and the upcoming election continue to remain at the forefront of purchasers’ minds.”
“The coastal market has been quiet over the autumn and winter months – though the number of enquiries has picked up in the last few weeks, predominantly from out-of-town buyers. Good quality properties are selling well, but ones at the lower end of the market are taking longer to sell. Cash buyers are few and far between, with less properties being sold at auction as a result.”
Auckland’s rolling rate of home value decline has eased for the fourth consecutive month – just as it has nationally.
The region’s three-month rolling average has reduced from 5.2% in March, to 4.4% in April, 2.3% in May, 2.2% in June, and now 1.5% in July. The average home value is now $1,243,610, which is 11.8% lower than at the same time last year.
Local QV valuer Hugh Robson said only time would tell whether or not the market was indeed bottoming out, but there were obvious signs that buyer sentiment was beginning to change.
“There appears to be a slight increase in sale volumes over the past 4-5 weeks. Agents say first-home buyers are still actively looking for property, but there is still a shortage of listings on the market across Auckland. This may result in some price movement in the coming months.”
“Investor demand is still fairly quiet overall. Mortgage rates remain high and rents are continuing to increase right across the city,” he added.
Home values continue to fall in Tauranga, but there are signs that market sentiment is shifting.
The latest QV House Price Index shows home values have reduced by an average of 2% in the July quarter – a slower rate of decline than the 2.9% quarterly decline in the previous index. The average home value is now $994,791 in Tauranga, which is 12.3% less than the same time last year.
QV property consultant Derek Turnwald commented: “There are further indications that the correction is coming to an end now and that the residential market is close to its low point. Sales turnover is starting to increase and value declines are decreasing.
“First-home buyers are realising that the market is reaching the end of a decline and are showing stronger interest. Banks are beginning to relax a little with loan application scrutiny and, as of 1 June, the Reserve Bank has relaxed Loan to value ratio criteria slightly for owner occupiers and investors.”
He said investors were also starting to show renewed interest in the market. “There’s definitely been a small but noticeable shift in market sentiment over the previous couple of months with open home attendance on the increase.”
Hamilton recorded its first quarterly increase in average home value for more than a year – albeit a very small one.
The QV House Price Index for July shows the city’s average home value increased by 0.1% to $777,024 this quarter. However, heightened volatility as a result of reduced sales activity means it’s likely that Hamilton’s average rate of home value growth will both increase and decrease in the coming months, with the city’s annual rate of negative home value growth sitting at 9.5%.
Local QV property consultant Marshall Wu commented: “High interest rates are the biggest constraint right now, which in combination with inflation, is weighing down on household spending. Real estate agents are reporting longer selling periods and fewer buyers in the market overall, but vendors have started to comprehend the changes that have occurred in the market over the past few months and are meeting the market accordingly.”
Meanwhile, home values have reduced across the wider Waikato region by 2.3% this quarter. The average value is down 9.9% annually.
Rotorua’s zig-zagging residential property market recorded a small decline in average home value for the July quarter.
The latest QV House Price Index figures show the average home value in Rotorua dropped by 0.5% to $639,396 at the end of July, after last month’s index recorded an increase of 1.9% in the three months to the end of June.
The average home value is now 9.6% lower than at the same time last year, and 4.7% less than at the start of 2023.
QV property consultant Derek Turnwald commented: “Demand is still a bit subdued at present, but it’s definitely improving. There’s a sense that market sentiment is shifting locally, which the latest data reflects with only very small declines over both a one-month and three-month period.”
Mr Turnwald said first-home buyers had been showing strong interest, with “reasonably good” open home attendance at well-presented properties. “Consents for new homes for the Rotorua District are also substantially higher than last year,” he added.
New Plymouth’s residential property market experienced a small rebound this quarter.
The city’s average home value increased by 0.4% to $717,250, improving on the 0.4% quarterly reduction reported in last month’s QV House Price Index.
Meanwhile, home values are down by an average of 2.8% this quarter in Stratford ($469,641), weakening further from the 1.8% decline reported in last month’s figures, with South Taranaki ($420,905) recording a 3.4% average decline for the quarter, down from a 1.3% decline.
Property values continue to ebb away in Napier and Hastings.
The QV House Price Index shows the average home value decreased in Napier by 1.4% to $734,100 this quarter, and by 1.9% to $759,207 in Hastings. This is an improvement on the quarterly reductions of 3% and 2.2% reported for Napier and Hastings respectively in June’s index.
Over a 12-month period, home values have decreased by an average of 12% in Napier and by 12.5% in Hastings. This compares to a national average decline of 10.2% annually.
Declining home values continue to decelerate in Palmerston North.
The city’s three-month rolling rate of average home value decline has eased down for the fifth straight month, with the latest QV House Price Index recording a 0.4% decline in the July quarter. The average home value is $626,028, which is 10.8% lower than at the same time last year.
Local QV registered valuer Olivia Betts commented: “Demand for residential property appears to be picking up now, even though the number of sales remains consistent. The most recent statistics indicate that the downturn is easing with the average house price showing a relatively small decline of 0.4% over the last three months.”
Wellington’s rolling three-monthly rate of home value reduction has eased for the fourth month in a row.
The latest QV House Price Index shows the region’s average home value has reduced by 1.7% to $824,100 this quarter. This marks a slight improvement on the 2% average reduction previously recorded for the June quarter, as well as reductions of 4.8%, 3.7%, and 2.6% in March, April, and May respectively.
Local QV senior consultant David Cornford said home values were on average 14.2% lower than at the same time last year. “Value decreases in the region have slowed or even halted altogether this quarter, with Porirua and Upper Hutt both recording small value increases.”
“Lower listing numbers are helping to inject some energy into the Wellington property market with open home attendance up and more multiple offers coming in. If listing numbers continue to decline, it will help support a recovery in the market. However, given the high interest rate environment there is unlikely to be a significant bounce in values in the short term.”
“First-time buyers are active in the market and are benefiting from a lack of competition from investors, who continue to have a significantly smaller presence in the market,” Mr Cornford added.
The downturn deepened this quarter in Nelson, with market sentiment remaining largely cautious.
The city’s average home value decreased by 2.4% to $768,240 in the July quarter. That average rate of negative home value growth is an increase from the 1.1% recorded for the June quarter, and the exact same as the rate of reduction recorded back in the May quarter.
QV Nelson/Marlborough manager Craig Russell commented: “We are seeing a continuation of the cautious market that Nelson has been experiencing for a while now. With the election looming, we expect this to continue in the short term. But we are seeing confidence in the market beginning to re-establish itself with indications that we could be at or near the peak of interest rate hikes.”
“Well located and good quality homes in Nelson appear to be selling soundly with increased numbers at open homes. Coastal properties appear to be selling well, and we’re seeing more properties with asking prices, with a number of price reductions now taking place,” he added.
Home values continue to yo-yo on the West Coast.
The latest QV House Price Index figures show property values increased across the wider region by an average of 0.3% this quarter. It follows a 0.6% decline in the June quarter and a similar 0.2% increase in the May quarter.
QV operations manager James WIlson said the average rate of home value growth is likely to continue to yo-yo here and in other places around Aotearoa New Zealand in the coming months due to heightened volatility as a result of reduced sales activity.
However, local property values have continued to show more resilience than much of the rest of the country. West Coast homes are worth on average 2.9% more than the same time last year, with values in Grey District up by 6.2%, Buller up by 3.6%, and Westland showing a small decline of 2.7%.
Despite a cold July for the housing market, Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region have recorded small quarterly home value increases for the first time in more than a year.
The latest QV figures for July 2023 show that the average home value increased by 0.1% across the wider Canterbury region this quarter to $701,002, which is an improvement on the 1.3% quarterly decline observed in June. In Christchurch, the average home value increased by 0.8% this quarter to $727,209.
However, the Garden City and the wider Canterbury region did also experience small declines in average home value of 0.4% and 0.5% respectively during the month of July, reflecting high levels of volatility in the market.
“July has seen a slight decline in average home value. As to be expected, winter has cooled the market. While sales have slowed, a falling number of listings is actually stabilising the market overall and curbing any significant declines,” said local QV registered valuer Olivia Brownie.
“With some uncertainty still to play out economically over the next few months, we expect some more inconsistency in the Canterbury market to follow.”
Property prices have yet to hit rock bottom in Dunedin.
Home values decreased in Åtepoti by an average of 1.5% in the July quarter, compared to a 3% quarterly decline reported in the previous QV House Price Index. The city’s average home value is $610,057, which is 7.6% less than the same time last year.
Local QV registered valuer Rebecca Johnston commented: “These smaller decreases indicate that greater buyer confidence is returning to the Dunedin market. This will largely be due to indications that interest rate hikes are peaking, inflation is easing, and the expectation that we’re at or only several percentage points away from the bottom of the property market cycle nationwide.”
“Real estate agents are reporting more people at open homes now and that properties are starting to move faster, while property developers are also stating that investors are beginning to come back into the market,” she added.
Home values continue to zig and zag in Queenstown.
The latest QV House Price Index figures show the average home value decreased this quarter by 1.3% to $1,714,703, despite a small 0.2% increase in the month of July. It’s in contrast to the 2.9% quarterly growth recorded back in June and the 2.4% quarterly growth recorded back in May.
Home values are still holding up considerably better in Queenstown than most of Aotearoa New Zealand, with an annual average growth rate of 3.8%, compared to a national average decline of 10.2%.
Home values in Invercargill have increased by an average of 0.8% this quarter.
It follows a similarly small average increase of 0.2% for the June quarter. The city’s average home value is now $458,944, which is 4.8% lower than the same time last year and just 1.7% lower than at the start of 2023.
Local registered valuer Andrew Ronald commented: “Home values in the city have slipped by an average of 4.8% in the 12 months to the end of July 2023, but there has been limited change to the House Price Index since March 2023, indicating that price declines may be levelling off.”
“There is still much less demand now compared to early 2022 and a greater number of properties on the market. While there is still healthy demand from first-home buyers, there are limited investors as a result of continued interest rate increases and changes to tax deductibility rules.”