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Nationwide average house sale prices rose by 2% in August. This followed a 2.4% rise in July, 1% gain in June, 0.8% rise in May and just a 0.5% rise in April.
Now that we are experiencing lockdown again, can we expect the same things to happen in the residential real estate market and economy as last time? No. There are some key differences between this situation and that of March 2020.
We're starting to see commentators and even the Reserve Bank talk about falling house prices towards the end of next year. We shouldn't be surprised that none of these predictions are from real estate companies who bring the figurative cocaine to the house party. Here's my perspective on house prices from the frontline.
I recently wrote about the end-game being underway for the three decade period of high average house price rises. I still remain of that view, but for now the market retains considerable strength.
Launchpad, our unique home loan for first home buyers has already helped scores of people onto the property ladder just three months after it was launched and we expect it to help tons more.
There are a growing number of factors in play which suggest that while demand for housing will remain firm, we've entered the end game for the period of strong house price rises well exceeding the rate of growth in household incomes.
Two week’s ago expectations for interest rate changes in New Zealand took a leap up in response to the June quarter inflation number coming in 0.5% higher than anticipated. This is a very rare event and the signal it has sent is that the pace of growth in our economy is too strong for the Reserve Bank to be confident of containing inflation below 3%.
Almost three and a half months have now passed since the March 23 announcement of some radical changes in tax rules for investors in residential property. The expectation has been that investors will sell up in disgust, but there's no statistical evidence of a flood of properties hitting the market.
Whenever things like the global pandemic, the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis, or tax policy alterations happen such as those announced on March 23, most of us can take a view on what the likely impact will be. Sometimes these views can be horribly wrong.
Two weeks ago, I wrote on the theme that young buyers will probably hold back from the residential real estate market until they see older investors returning – then they too will return. Evidence for this has already been shown from my surveys.
There is a Catch-22 situation that first home buyers sometimes find themselves in. They want to buy, but they are nervous, and if they see others stepping back, they do too even though the explicit aim of the government is to give them more space to buy.
We are now over five weeks down the track from the housing policy announcements of March 23. We still lack some certainty about things and perhaps that uncertainty helps explain some of the things we are seeing in the residential real estate market.