Auckland housing market finally weakens. Owners of large mortgages are puckering up for the crash

Anecdotally agents are reporting a downturn in the market with auction clearance rates as slow as 25%.

But now there is some hard data on the Auckland housing market.

The Auckland housing market’s downturn is more severe than anticipated, an economist says.

Writing in Westpac’s latest ‘Home Truths’ report, chief economist Dominick Stephens said the latest round of housing data had been revealing.

“There can now be no doubting that the erstwhile star market has suffered a fall from grace.”

According to the bank’s figures, which it seasonally adjusted from Real Estate Institute data, house sales fell 13 per cent in Auckland in November, following a 17 per cent drop in October. ?

House prices fell 1.9 per cent in November after a 4.4 per cent fall in October, taking them below July levels.

“These are very weak numbers indeed, and confirm what the anecdotes have been screaming for the past three months ? the Auckland housing market has slowed with a thump,” Stephens said.

The bank’s economics team had expected tax rule changes, investor loan restrictions, and waning economic confidence to slow the market in late 2015 and early 2016.

“The actual downturn has occurred sooner, and has been more severe, than anticipated.”

Stephens said looking ahead was difficult, but on balance the data was not expected to remain so “dire” for long.

Maybe this explains the tightening up from Westpac on lending. I’m hearing of more than a few customers who are experiencing uncooperative lenders at Westpac.

So long as the government and the Auckland Council keep the artificial restriction in place on greenfield developments then property prices will largely remain high, though some people with very large mortgages who bought at the top might experience a period of negative equity. So long as they can keep making payments there isn’t a problem.


– Fairfax