Taranaki Property Investors' Association

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27-01-2010

Housing market stalling?

Landlords.co.nz

The housing market is showing signs of flattening, after rebounding in the middle of last year, according to ANZ's latest property gauges.

"The most recent reading of the real estate market looks as though activity has plateaued and is turning down," the bank said in its Property Focus report.

ANZ's gauges are used to monitor the state of the property market and show "tough times may not be over just yet".

Five of the 10 gauges are predicting a decline in house prices over the next month, with another gauge neutral with a negative bias, one neutral and two gauges neutral with a positive bias.

Liquidity, which measures the availability of credit to support the market, has a way to go, with credit still a constraint. The recovery in globalisation also has a way to go, having to recover from a deep hole.

Mortgagee sales are also set to have a negative impact on prices, despite having come off its highs, and remain "at lofty levels".

Median rent has made a modest rise, which ANZ believes will put downward pressure on prices.

Housing affordability, measured using the ratio of house prices to income and mortgage payments proportional to income, is showing signs of being at a more normal level currently, but deteriorating in the short term.

Conversely, for existing home owners serviceability/indebtedness is improving, having been at high levels, but is now easing and likely to have a negative impact on prices.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope for consents to build which are lifting off their low base. The number of building consents rose 1.2% in November, although ANZ cautions "there seems a way to go yet".

The supply-demand balance remains "one-sided", with demand still high and available property on the market in short supply.

Sales volumes are predicted to stay down and look set to continue driving property prices up. The number of house sales eased 3.7% (seasonally adjusted) in December, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and the median time to sell lengthened by one day to 36 days.

Until now, most indicators and market measures have been showing a gradual recovery, but now not everything is looking so flash.

"We've turned the corner but more work still needs to be done."

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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