Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: CoreLogic

CoreLogic’s House Price Index rose 0.5% in March, similar to January and February’s muted gains, taking values 1.1% higher over the first quarter of 2024.

The average property value across NZ now stands at $934,806, up 3.2% ($29,361) from September’s trough, but still 10.4% (-$108,455) below the recent peak.

The inconsistent nature of the upturn so far was evident again through March, with Wellington rising strongly (0.9%), and Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland also showing gains (0.4-0.6%), but both Tauranga and Hamilton edging down 0.2%.

CoreLogic NZ Chief Property Economist, Kelvin Davidson, said the run of three softer results in a row at the national level was expected given stretched housing affordability.

“NZ’s housing market can probably be described as ‘not too hot, not too cold’,” Mr Davidson said.

“High mortgage rates remain a big challenge at the forefront of all borrowers’ minds, whether they’re taking out a new loan or repricing an existing mortgage. While the new tax year and 80% mortgage interest deductions will help cashflow for property investors, it’s unlikely to be enough to trump high interest rates.

“In addition, while the first official cash rate cut in the next cycle is getting closer, it’s certainly not here yet. Indeed, if the Reserve Bank’s current projections prove to be correct, the cash rate may not start to fall until next year, highlighting that shorter-term fixed mortgage rates may not drop much for at least another six to nine months,” he said.

“We’ve also seen a turnaround for listings activity in the first few months of 2024, with a good flow of fresh properties hitting the market, raising the choice for buyers and taking a bit of heat out of property prices. There’s no set definition, but the general sense is that the so-called sellers’ market of late 2023 has now switched back in favour of credit-approved purchasers,” Mr Davidson added.

Market performance was pretty variable across Auckland in March, with Rodney and North Shore both up by around 2%, but then a large gap back to broad stability in Auckland City, Waitakere, and Franklin, while values in Papakura and Manukau declined over the month.

There’s also been inconsistent growth over the March quarter, with Rodney up more than 2%, but areas such as Waitakere only up very slightly (0.2%) and Papakura fractionally lower (-0.1%).

“Auckland’s market is often seen as a bellwether for national tr