House prices expected to bounce back faster: What is happening with the NZ housing market this week?

by makerscbdbloodsugar

Open home sign at a house for sale in East Auckland

Westpac expects the market to pick up faster in 2025. File photo.
Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Analysis – House price forecasts are low, but some banks are predicting a faster bounce back from next year. And looks like a big boost to housing supply is just around the corner. Here’s what moved real estate this week.

Westpac has significantly scaled back the amount of house price growth it expects this year.

It now expects growth of 2.1 percent – down from a previous estimate of 5.8 percent.

Slow momentum in the housing market since the election and the Reserve Bank’s “tough love” of high interest rates were the main reasons, Westpac said.

ASB and BNZ also dropped their forecasts recently. ASB expects 1 percent growth this year and BNZ 2 percent.

But Westpac still expected the market to pick up faster next year.

Significant population growth and a slowdown in construction would contribute to a shortage that could push prices up 6 percent in 2025, it said.

ANZ also downgraded its expectations for house price growth this year to 1 percent, from 3 percent. But it expected an increase of 4 percent next year.

Interest rates

A six-month home loan fix could be an option worth considering, ANZ economists said, because “significant falls” in mortgage rates may lie ahead.

They expected an “emergence of a downward trend” in wholesale rates over the coming months.

Falls in mortgage rates will become more meaningful as we get nearer year-end and into next year.”

There was not a lot of difference between a six-month rate and a one-year rate at present, they said. ANZ’s forecast is for a one-year rate of about 5.7 percent next June.

Similarly, Kiwibank economist Sabrina Delgado expected the official cash rate (OCR) to be cut in November, earlier than many other forecasts. But the full impact of a fall in interest rates would be felt only next year.

She said 2025 was likely to be a year of “significant” interest rate cuts.

Kiwibank expected the OCR to be at 4.5 percent by next June, compared to 5.5 percent at present.

Once the Reserve Bank chose to cut rates, it would aim to scale right back to a neutral rate, Delgado told RNZ money correspondent Susan Edmunds.

The Reserve Bank had the economy “in a chokehold” and things would only start to improve once rates began to fall, she said.

She expected inflation to be back in the Reserve Bank’s target band of 1 percent to 3 percent by the third quarter of this year.

Buyers still keen

While affordability remained a “key hurdle” with high interest rates, CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said buyers were still watching the market and doing their due diligence.

“Until there is a bit more clarity about the potential timing for mortgage rates to start falling, it may still remain tricky for many people to convert a willingness to buy property into an actual deal,” he said.

Auckland new builds outpace population growth

Auckland, with nearly 65,000 new builds, has had the highest growth in new housing in New Zealand, far surpassing any other region. Canterbury was next with almost 26,000 new homes being built.

The surge in new houses had “helped” housing affordability, Auckland Council chief economist Gary Blick said, but housing in the city was still expensive relative to income.

Last year’s Census data showed Auckland new builds had outpaced the city’s population growth for the first time in decades.

Data showed there had been an 11.9 percent increase in new homes since then, while the population had increased by 5.4 percent.

Who is most likely to sell as bright-line test shortens?

The shortening of the bright-line test from 1 July would arguably drive more selling activity than buying, CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said.

The research firm said an early “escape” from capital gains tax would no doubt give some existing landlords reason to list.

But many would also hang on to their properties as there was already a glut of houses for sale and the rise in new listings from other investors might make it an unfavourable time to sell, Davidson said.

Investors who needed to top-up their rental income to cover an increase in mortgage repayments were more likely to sell than others, he said.

Consumer confidence falls

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index fell another 2 points this month to 83 points, which well is below the 20-year average of 114.

Anything below 100 points indicated pessimism.

Two-year ahead inflation expectations bounced back to 4.2 percent, with house price inflation at 3.4 percent.

Inflation expectations were volatile but continued to trend lower, ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

However, Zollner said the latest reading pointed to tough times for retailers, as a net 23 percent of people still thought it was a bad time to buy a major appliance.

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