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End Of Soaring House Prices In Sight

Independent economist Tony Alexander believes the country has entered the end game for the period of soaring house prices whether people think in terms of three decades, post-GFC, or since May last year. The gains for these three periods have been 680%, more than 170% and 37% respectively.


1 November 2021

But entering the end game does not mean things suddenly stop. Momentum is still exceptionally strong in the housing market with high and rising fear of missing out (FOMO) and sellers gaining increasing market power over buyers.

A monthly survey of real estate agents Alexander carries out in conjunction with REINZ showed in July,before the country was in lockdown, a gross 66% of agents nationwide and 59% in Auckland were observing FOMO on the part of buyers.

In late-August the survey showed that immediately following lockdown nationwide FOMO rose to 71% and for Auckland it lifted to 67%.The most recent survey at the end of September showed nationwide FOMO at 72% and Auckland even higher at 79%.

“Lockdown has engendered extra determination from buyers to make a purchase, and the extension of Auckland’s lockdown has added to that feeling of buyer urgency,” says Alexander.

He says it shows no signs of waning, even though the Government and Reserve Bank are turning the screws on house buyers through scrapping mortgage interest tax deductions against rental expenses, higher deposit rates for investors and lifting interest rates.

“Consumer spending will be boosted this coming year by high bank balances, high wealth gains, strong jobs growth and rising job security, strong farm incomes, the probable slow return of foreign tourists, substantial construction and infrastructure activity, and determination to seize the day once our freedoms return.”

Alexander says that means house prices are still likely to keep rising at a firm clip in the first half of next year before a slowdown sets in.

That slowdown, he says, will become more and more driven by a dawning realisation amongst borrowers that mortgage rates will probably rise a lot more than the 1.75% the Reserve Bank has pencilled in. “The population’s dogged determination to spend is going to be a hard nut for rising interest rates to crack.”

However, in Alexander’s monthly survey on spending plans, the number of respondents planning to spend more on investment property has weakened for the third month in a row following three months of recovery after the hasty retreat following the tax announcement of March 23.


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