The widespread reduction in house values is continuing after the Reserve Bank’s latest official cash rate hike, marking a drop that hasn’t been seen since the global financial crisis.
Quotable Value’s (QV) latest house price index showed the national average house value dropped 3.9 percent to $907,737 in the quarter to March, compared to 2.7 percent drop in the three months to February. It’s the first time average values have dropped in the first quarter of the year since 2008 during the global financial crisis.
Overall, values were down 13.3 percent year on year.
Values dropped in most of New Zealand’s main centres, with Whangārei (down 6.6 percent) experiencing the biggest decline over the quarter.
QV national spokesperson Simon Petersen said the start of the year wasn’t traditionally a period when house prices decline.
However, home values were falling after “the Reserve Bank’s latest increase to the official cash rate, which should maintain that downward pressure on the housing market”, he said.
Looking at the big cities, Auckland and Hamilton also saw significant drops in the three months to March – with average house value falls of 5.2 percent each.
“The good news is house prices are trending in the right direction for first-home buyers – now if only the same thing could be said of interest rates. Some are still predicting they could be pretty close to peaking,” Petersen said.
“With increasing migration into the country only expected to increase demand for residential property, we might still see the downturn bottom out later in the year but there’s still so much uncertainty.”
The winter months would probably be even quieter this year given it was already a stagnant period for the housing market anyway, he said.
“There’s still a possible recession looming large on the horizon [and] even more mortgage repricing to come, and no small matter of an election later in the year. It’s little wonder that the market is so quiet right now
“When the bottom of the market does finally come, we might even see the impact of some pent-up demand from the past year or so. Time will tell.”
Here’s what QV had to say about how the downturn is being felt across different regions:
The residential property downturn shows little sign of abating in New Zealand’s largest city.
Home values dropped by an average of 5.2 percent across the Auckland region this quarter – weakening further from the 4 percent quarterly decline reported in last month’s QV house price index.
Of the Super City’s seven former territorial authorities, Papakura (-9.9 pct) recorded the largest reduction on average since the start of this calendar year, and Franklin (-1.1 pct) recorded the smallest. The average home value in the region is now $1,269,189.
Far North District has managed to bunk the downward trend this quarter. Its average home value climbed 0.5 percent to $738,247.
Meanwhile, Whangārei topped the list of urban centres with the most significant home value reductions this quarter – its average home value fell 6.6 percent to $738,851 – but Kaipara District saw an even larger decline of 9.1 percent to $798,882.
Year on year, home values are on average 4.4 percent lower in the Far North, 13.2 percent lower in Whangārei and 17.9 percent lower in Kaipara.
It has been a slow start to 2023 for Tauranga’s beleaguered residential property market.
With activity down significantly on previous years, the average home value in Tauranga has slipped back 4.5 percent to $1,028,268 since the start of January. The city’s three-month rolling average rate of decline has accelerated every month so far this year, with values now down 15 percent year-on-year.
Residential property values have declined across the wider Waikato region by an average of 2.6 percent since the start of the 2023 calendar year.
The average rate of decline has been significantly higher in Hamilton, where the average home value has reduced 5.2 percent this quarter to $777,143.
The average residential property value in Rotorua reduced by 5.7 percent to $632,544 this quarter – 0.2 percent worse than the 5.5 percent quarterly reduction recorded in last month’s QV house price index. Homes are worth an average 15.3 percent less than at the end of March last year.
The Taranaki region’s residential property market continues to fare better than most.
Home values have fallen across the wider region by an average of 6.5 percent since the same time last year, including 1.9 percent this quarter. This compares to a national average annual decline of 13.3 percent, including a 3.9 percent reduction this quarter.
New Plymouth was the most resilient of the North Island’s main urban centres this quarter – and second-most resilient overall. Its average home value ($717,975) is 1.5 percent lower than at the start of this calendar year.
Home values are already 3.1 percent lower on average in Hawke’s Bay than at the start of this year.
In Napier and Hastings, the average rate of decline throughout the first three months of 2023 was 3.8 percent and 2 percent respectively – though it’s worth noting values held steady in the latter during the month of March.
The average value of a home in Palmerston North is now $631,096.
That figure is 15.2 percent lower than at the end of March last year and 2.7 percent lower than at the start of the 2023 calendar year. By comparison, the national average home value is 13.3 percent lower annually and 3.9 percent lower this quarter.
Homeowners are hurting in Wellington as values continue to drop across the region.
From January 1 to March 31, 2023, the average home value dropped across the wider Wellington region by 4.8 percent to $842,129 – a figure that is now 21.3 percent lower than at the same time last year.
The largest average reductions this quarter were recorded in Porirua (-7.1 pct) and Wellington City (-5.3 pct). The smallest average reduction was in Hutt City (-3.6 pct).
Nelson’s average home value has dropped below $800,000 for the first time since July 2021.
It follows an annual decline of 13.1 percent since the end of March last year, including a 2.3 percent reduction in the most recent quarter. The average home value is currently $788,393.
Westland continues to be an outlier on the West Coast.
It’s the only West Coast district still showing positive home value growth over the past 12-month period – up 2.1 percent to $442,973. Buller ($340,525) and Grey District ($351,362) have recorded annual home value reductions of 5.6 and 8.1 percent respectively.
Westland’s home values have shot up 12 percent on average in the past six months, compared to average reductions of 0.3 percent and 4.1 percent in Buller and Grey respectively.
Christchurch’s downturn continues at a much more leisurely pace than many of Aotearoa New Zealand’s other main centres.
The average home value in the Garden City has been ebbing away at a relatively consistent pace of between 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent for the past eight months in a row, with the latest QV house price Index showing a 0.5 percent decline in the month of March. A quarterly decline of 1.2 percent to $741,925 is the best of Aotearoa New Zealand’s main urban centres, with the annual rate of decline currently sitting at 7 percent.
Dunedin’s residential property values have slid into autumn at a slower rate of reduction than the national average.
From January 1 to March 31, the average home value in Dunedin has fallen 1.6 percent to $633,371. That figure is now 9.9 percent lower than at the same time last year.
For comparison, the national average home value has fallen by 3.9 percent to $907,737 since the start of the calendar year, and by 13.3 percent since the same time last year.
Queenstown’s average home value is teetering on the edge of its first average annual home value decline since September 2020.
The average home value in Queenstown ($1,661,930) is just 0.1 percent higher than the same time last year, with the latest QV house price index figures recording a quarterly decline of 3.2 percent since the start of this calendar year.
Home values continue to track downward in New Zealand’s southernmost city.
Invercargill’s average home value has decreased by 3.1 percent throughout the first three months of 2023 to reach $452,355. It’s a faster rate of decline than in the three months to the end of 2022, when values fell by an average of 1.8 percent.