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The great Auckland housing crash of 2017

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, July 6th, 2017 - 79 comments
Categories: class war, economy, housing, national, useless - Tags: , , ,

It turns out that not even Auckland’s property boom could go on for ever.

Liam Dann: Political fallout as property market hits the canvas

Wow, what a day for property news – a one-two punch to the Auckland market.

Just as QV data was confirming that the Auckland market is well and truly stalled, along come the Barfoot & Thompson statistics showing the average sales price in June dropped 3.1 per cent on the average for the previous three months, and was only 0.6 per cent higher than it was 12 months ago.

Boom, Auckland house sales have hit the canvas.

When our optimistic friends in the real estate industry start to acknowledge a trend, we can be sure it has become an unavoidable reality.

[Auckland] property stories are now tinged with seller panic.

Meanwhile a combination of the Reserve Bank’s investor LVR restrictions, tighter bank lending and a slowing of Chinese investment money as Beijing tightens capital controls (seriously, Google it) have dampened demand.

Does this mean good news for first-time buyers? Sadly no.

The one thing that this slump hasn’t done is help first home buyers into the market. They can no longer get the loans they need even if their odds of finding a bargain at a wet wintry auction in West Auckland have improved.

The boom went on too long, prices got too high. Now they are falling, over leveraged buyers are going to get burned, and first time buyers are still shut out. Perfect. The magical efficiency of the market strikes again. How low will prices go?

79 comments on “The great Auckland housing crash of 2017 ”

  1. Ed 1

    There will be a full blown economic crisis this year.
    It may make 2008 look like peanuts.

    • Alan 1.1

      on what basis do you make that assertion Einstein, oops Ed

      • Red 1.1.1

        He does it every year

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        The collapsing housing boom?

        You know, the one that John Key announced in 2007/8 but then went into denial about once he got into power and did everything to maintain?

        • Red 1.1.2.1

          To much chicken little and over exposure to RT for Draco and Ed

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.1

            I barely ever read RT.

            That aside, do you actually have anything to say about what I said?

            Or is it just typical RWNJ ad hominem again because you don’t actually have an argument about what I said?

            • Keepcalmcarryon 1.1.2.1.1.1

              To be fair if those stats are a housing “crash” god help us when the bubble does pop.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.2

      Most likely in the next 18 months.

      Plenty of evidence out there. Doug Casey (just one example of a sane and rational man with an astounding track record of correct crisis predictions) calls what we are in now the eye of the storm, with the coming GEC the other side of 2008.

      RE in Auckland is probably fairly safe though.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.3

      When the subject of harsh critics remember this…

  2. Ad 2

    A good long price plateau seems pretty useful.

    Good to see the froth subside.
    But it’s not exactly 1988.

  3. Keith 3

    I note that despite the naive thinking that all we need is to build more houses to fix this train wreck of a housing market, greed has intervened again to stop supply meeting demand.

    Land banking or overpricing is either preventing building or making it uneconomic to build new homes. Add that to the fact developers unable to get financing for building projects mean this colossal problem is not going away. In other words the market is bereft of ideas or a way out and is seizing up.

    So in the interim the nuclear button must be pushed on investors because their unadulterated greed is a large part of this problem and so far National have sat on their hands and done very little to counter it.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Don’t let’s talk about nuclear buttons. Use another description please.
      What about opening up the sluice gates cautiously to get things flowing.

      t could be done by a responsible central government, and a rates increase on empty land could add a cost incentive to start doing something. One way or another a freeing up is required which may be enough to stop total collapse.

      Oh and putting a five year limitation on non-NZs and recent immigrants obtaining land or buildings. Let them rent some of the houses owned by other non-residents.

      Let’s just slow down rather than have a motorway bumper to bumper crash.

  4. esoteric pineapples 4

    Better to happen before the election than after it

  5. Andre 5

    There’s still a large unmet demand for housing in Auckland.

    All the crashes I’ve had previous experience of happened because demand fell well below supply. So I’m really struggling to see how a big crash can happen in Auckland in the near future. At worst I can see a small correction of maybe 15%, then a long plateau.

    Can anyone point me to historical examples of big crashes happening while there was a backlog of demand?

    • james 5.1

      I would have to agree with that. When there is a shortage – values hold. So I agree with the long plateau. Its just how much they come back before then – and I dont think its going to be a mammoth amount.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      So I’m really struggling to see how a big crash can happen in Auckland in the near future.

      The collapsing foreign demand.

      • tc 5.2.1

        Yes the tax free haven funds available to suck up houses has dissipated and nationals deliberate sugar rush on demand ‘pfffft’ its gawn.

        We can now maybe get back to demand for the right reasons, somewhere to live, rather than a tax free speculative profit.

      • Red 5.2.2

        People have to be forced sell to cause a housing collapse on US housing collapse scale, there the issue was by law people can simply hand their keys into the bank and walk away from their mortgage obligations, re non recourse loans , The housing crisis in the US lead to the financial crisis ( accepting initially driven by cheap credit and fin sector) that then hit Main Street economy with both then feeding on each other Here it would have to be in reverse a Main Street crisis or rapid rise in interest rates leading to a high level of mortage defaults would need to happen to lead to a housing price crash and none of these are looking likely at local or global level , thus flatning house prices, small pull back, but crash, I don’t think so

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1

          That’s one possible reason for collapse. The other one is declining demand.

          Declining demand forces those who are over-leveraged, who had been banking on the capital gains expected from the bubble, into bankruptcy. No longer able to pay their mortgages they default pushing the loss onto the banks. The banks stop lending thus making getting a mortgage even harder pushing demand down even further.

          IIRC, the estimated proportion of the local market was 40% from China. With China hardening money exports demand drops quite considerably.

          It’s possible to get declining demand even when there isn’t enough housing because the house prices have been pushed up by foreign speculation to the point where the majority of people can’t actually afford a house.

      • greg 5.2.3

        simple next generation don’t have the incomes to support these prices never did it was and is a bubble based on ponzi economics

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.3.1

          Yep, our entire financial system’s a Ponzi Scheme. IMO, the banksters actually know this.

      • Robert Atack 5.2.4

        There’s damand and there is demand ???
        65 million refugees are looking for a home at the moment
        First home buyers maybe?

  6. james 6

    Cannot wait for the greens to come out and say they want values to drop by 50% again.

    • outofbed 6.1

      Can’t wait for the day that you make a positive contribution to a thread.

    • left_forward 6.2

      And why FFS is that James? – do you get enjoyment from seeing families not being able to afford a roof over their heads?

      • james 6.2.1

        The reason is simple – thats their stated view.

        Voters need to know voting for labour and the greens means that one of the parties wants to do significant damage to the value of peoples largest asset.

        Then people can make an informed choice on what they want to be in government.

        “Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced by up to 50 percent over a period of time to make the market affordable again, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.”

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/309530/auckland-house-prices-need-to-drop-50-percent-greens

        If she believes it – she should stand behind it.

        But hell – even Little knows thats irresponsible.

        • The decrypter 6.2.1.1

          james,stick to the rugby. Plenty of boofheads there.

        • Bearded Git 6.2.1.2

          @james You can criticise the Greens all you like but the voters know that the housing debacle has occurred on National’s watch.

          The reduction in state housing at a time when more state housing is needed is particularly deplorable.

          But perhaps the best example of National’s paucity of ideas are the “affordable houses” to be created in the Special Housing Areas. The SHA’s around Queenstown have entry level prices of $750k. So much for helping young first-time buyers.

          • james 6.2.1.2.1

            “@james You can criticise the Greens all you like but the voters know that the housing debacle has occurred on National’s watch.”

            I wasnt criticizing them at all. I was saying I cannot wait for them to keep on repeating their position.

            Good on them if they do so.

            Of course they wont – because Andrew Little will have to come out saying how irresponsible they are again.

          • Robert Atack 6.2.1.2.2

            I was saying back in 2005 ish that the then Government was running an immigrant lead economy, and that in the end Kiwis would end up as landless peasants … and here we are
            As much as I hate the natz I think this shit storm was well and truly on the way back then, should have bought a few houses I guess, but then what would I do with the money?
            Got my BMW now
            Number plate VHEMT 😉

        • Adrian Thornton 6.2.1.3

          @james That is because a 50% reduction in house prices is actual reality, house prices in NZ today is pure fantasy…and everyone, even those with just a small amount of independent critical thinking capability in their cranium, instinctively knows this to be the undeniable truth.

          • BM 6.2.1.3.1

            Won’t happen

            There’s so much cost in the land, council fees, safety compliance fees.

            Then add labour costs which have increased significantly, 600k is probably the lowest a three bedroom box on a handkerchief sized piece of land can be built for in Auckland.

            Prices will pull back 20-25% at most.

            • left_forward 6.2.1.3.1.1

              Huh? Why separate the cost of land from the house price, as if it were an immutable and inevitable constant?
              The council fees and safety stuff just probably reflect a personal beef of yours, but are immaterial in comparison to the insane cost of land – which is the main driver fueling the unaffordability of housing for even the average Aucklander.

          • james 6.2.1.3.2

            Actually you are 100% wrong. The house prices of today are reality.

            Go buy a house – thats what you are paying.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.4

          Voters need to know voting for labour and the greens means that one of the parties wants to do significant damage to the value of peoples largest asset.

          The damage has been done by National as they artificially boosted the values beyond what they’d normally be.

          • greg 6.2.1.4.1

            housing is nacts ponzi scheme and the responsibility for the largest misallocation of capital lies with the nacts and only nacts and
            supporters

    • Ed 6.3

      Is that the level of your political comment?
      Maybe stick to sport.

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    Average house price in AKL= $950,000
    Average wage NZ=$75,000
    New Zealand Households Debt To Income=167.20 percent, the highest recorded.
    It doesn’t take a economist to see that these numbers just don’t make sense.

    Looks and sounds like pure fantasy land.

    Personally I find the fetish of housing speculation morally repugnant and it’s negative effects on communities criminal in effect, the best thing that could happen to NZ is for this sick obsession to end, and then maybe we can all go back to using houses for what they were built for…living in, having lives in, bring up families…that’s it, nothing more or less.

    What we need is decent honest wages, so social mobility (if that is your aim) is had through working at your job or trade steadily over time…wasn’t that meant to be the social contract..not trading our houses like they are used cars, or worse, becoming landlords to extract as much money as you can from your fellow citizens.

    Its’ time for a major realignment of our countries moral compass…and sooner than later hopefully.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    How low will prices go?

    Well, if it follows that graph then house prices will drop to around 3 to 4 times the average wage. Or a drop of around 60 to 70 percent.

    • mauī 8.1

      That’s closer to what they’re actually worth. A lot of our houses are a bunch of 100 year old planks tacked together with sub standard linings on the inside all slowly degrading. You would think in terms of real world value that’s worth more in the tens of thousands range than the million dollar mark.

  9. Siobhan 9

    The Great Auckland Housing ‘Crash’ may or maynot happen…but welcome to the frothy bubble of regional housing prices…..the growth of which only goes to prove that epic house price growth is largely a scam and very little to do with demand and growth.(with some notable exceptions)

    • ropata 9.1

      The housing market is corrupted by land bankers and real estate spruikers and the big Aussie banks are very happy to get Kiwis into massive debt. Throw in some government complicity and greed by the professional landlord class and we have set up a nice 2 tiered society with most kiwis permanently unable to have a turangawaewae.

      The essentials (food, fuel, housing) in this country are a total ripoff. National is the party of ticket clippers and white collar criminals

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    Its a bit premature to be talking about a crash. Negative headlines like this create the fair which leads to a crash. (Not that I am suggesting this is wide read or anything)

    • greywarshark 10.1

      But truly it is a fun-fear (fair). The media have burbled about the enjoyment and pleasure of it for years, and in another part of their publication may run stories about unhappy tenants, non-tenants, evicted tenants, poor people living in garages, under bridges, in cars etc. It’s become the norm. Why not talk about that.
      Unfortunately coping with the norm, many have been forced into borrowing that’s precarious, and now they are teetering on the edge of the money pit.

  11. Philj 11

    Can’t the government open the migration valve to keep the market rising? Oh, they’ve already done that. Lol

  12. Wensleydale 12

    It would be a dreadful shame if people were forced to endure the consequences of their own unadulterated greed. I would feel very bad for them indeed. Yes, I would. Indubitably.

    • greg 12.1

      i would laugh my head off they cant say they werent told 2008 was a warning to get out of debt but the greedy have borrowed up to there necks with these record low interest rates

    • Barfly 12.2

      There are good people who may be greatly hurt by this…it’s shades of grey not black and white

      • greg 12.2.1

        no body made them get in over the heads the banks will foreclose as they did in the us but a lot will loose there kiwi saver as well and there should be no bailout of the indebted

  13. patricia bremner 13

    Adrian 7. I couldn’t agree more. As Andrew Little said “houses should be homes not gambling chips.” and wages should be set “by fair pay for fair work.”

  14. McFlock 14

    Making a meal out of a drop in house prices as we head into winter seems abit much, from the tiny bit I know. Wasn’t the rule always that houses sell better in Summer?

    A plateau might be on the cards, but based on historical data alone I’m not sure what the story is. Are they projecting a sudden drop in house buyers? A new rule that dries up mortgage funds?

    The dotcom bubble was because everybody thought that every tech company was going to make gazillions, which pushed up purely speculative demand. The Auckland housing bubble is because natural demand for homes outweighs supply. It’s not one person wanting seven homes (all leveraged to the hilt), it’s people who can’t afford huge rents trying to scrape together enough to buy a small home. And speculators add shit icing on top of that.

    So if the speculators move out of Auckland and spread the Auckland disease to the regions (as they’re beginning to do), we might se a plateau of strugglers, even a slight dip if people are lucky, but not the collapse of a popped bubble into affordability.

    That’s my guess, anyway – not my monkey, not my circus.

    • Gristle 14.1

      What has not been discussed is how many the Foriegn owned houses will come back on the market once the capital growth rates diminish are eclipsed by some other type of investment in some other country.

      A portion of the housing gap will be filled with this type of stock. But how much is hard to work out. Bill English desire to document and analyse social and deliver evidenced based policy obviously doesn’t extend housing ownership. Refusing to collect meaningful house ownership data is just too cute.

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        Hmmm, now that is a very interesting point. The 6% of homes that are vacant will be the first ones – if you can afford to leave ’em empty, you can take yourself out of the market no worries whether you live local or overseas.

        edit: “now” not “not” is a particularly unfortunate typo

  15. ropata 15

    Couple more housing tweets

    Auckland 2020: houses are a billion dollars. "A Trillionaire can still buy one so I fail to see the problem." Nick Smith, Minister, fuckwit. pic.twitter.com/uKV1NygC0H— Dovil (@Dovil) July 4, 2017

    Two years ago when the median Akl house price was already over $900k Nick Smith stated his housing goal was ongoing increases of 5%/year pic.twitter.com/fQUfCfMFaW— Francis McRae (@FrankMcRae) July 4, 2017

    price competition doesn't exist, sez andrew p street https://t.co/NSsEc2z2pu pic.twitter.com/ygzaBDgqh2— abraham bloodshack (@pleasedontatme) June 29, 2017

  16. ropata 16

    Winston’s smartass critique of Nick Smith…

    Winston, you's a savage pic.twitter.com/jMhyCT2WdJ— Jason Walls (@Jasonwalls92) July 4, 2017

  17. Sabine 17

    so that prices overall compared to last year are up by 0.6 % and we are calling this the crash of 2017?

    right.

    those that want to sell in AKL but can’t because they can’t upgrade – to costly or down grade – small dwellings are not build, are holding on to their property. It is now clear for anyone that while one can sell a house they might not get another one for it especially in Akl.
    those that don’t have to sell in AKl but are in for the long haul – i.e. can you see Ponsonby / Herne Bay, Mission Bay etc with lovely Apartment buildings in some twenty years – cause i can :), and they won’t sell.
    so you now have those selling that must – mortgaged to the hilt, divorce/separation, death of partner, job change, illness can’t bargain, and only hope to make a bit of money after all expenses are paid.
    Also selling houses in winter was and still is harder then in summer, its really hard to hide just how damp, dark and cold some of these places are on rainy days.

    So no, we are nowhere near a crash in AKL, and as stated in the Post, overall prices are actually up by 0.6%.

  18. Alan 18

    well said Sabine

  19. feijoa 19

    Yep
    House in our street in Wellington (Brooklyn) just sold for $1.3 mill
    3 bedroom villa, double garage, small to ave garden, nice but nothing ultra-special -out-of-this-world
    No bust happening here

  20. feijoa 21

    Also in response to someone or other up above- For what it’s worth I would be quite happy for the value of my house to drop 50% if it meant my children could afford a house.

    The way it is, my kids will never be able to afford one, and they will be tenants for life, tied to the landlord.
    This fact alone will make their lives worse than their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, who all owned their own homes.
    Tenants in NZ face huge rents/cold damp homes/ evictions / instability within communities etc

  21. Paul Campbell 22

    I’m old enough that I’ve lived through 3 (now almost 4) housing bubbles in in two different countries (and a few stock price bubbles as well) I continue to be amazed by the number of people who are taken in each time around, there’s an enormous amount of denial each and every time, and people who can least afford it always get hurt. As soon as you hear someone clam “this time it’s different because ….” run away, sell up, it might already be too late

    Yes this is a bubble, just like all the rest, driven largely this time by historically low interest rates that are not going to stay low forever, they’re already creeping up – do people not remember paying 12%? 15%? on their house – 15% on a $1M house is twice the median wage (before tax) – sure you can pay the mortgage today, but you’ll lose it, and lose all your money.

    I’m still convinced that the reason Key quit was because he became convinced the Auckland bubble was going to pop before the election and didn’t see any point in staying around’

  22. Ian 23

    I have lived through 6 booms and declines. human nature being what it is across all political ideologies The declines are opportunities as once things get sorted the ride starts again. A great time for new house buyers to get into the game. Save ,save and then save a bit more and you will get on board. Wait for affordable housing to be offered to you on a plate and you be a lifetime renter. The choice is Black and White.

  23. Tanz 24

    Save, save, and save. Whatever. With food, petrol and prices for basics through the roof, good luck with that on our low wage economy, then throw misfortune into the mix and it’s bare survival if you’re lucky!

  24. The Real Matthew 25

    Will Andrew Little proceed with his policy to build 100,000 houses in 10 years with the Auckland market in price decline?

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  • Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM
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  • Driving ahead with the Clean Car Standard
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  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
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  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
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  • Black Ferns to be celebrated at Parliament
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  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
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  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
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  • Stuart Nash to attend OECD meetings
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  • Speech to the Asia New Zealand Foundation
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