Significant 18-month stretch of price stability: Will new regulation changes shake things up?

The national average asking price holds steady for another month.

The latest real-time data from realestate.co.nz shows that average asking prices were again stable during June, marking a full year and a half of unchanged prices nationally.

Total stock was up in all regions, increasing nationally by 28.6% year-on-year in June. Although stock was down by 2.6% compared to May, the total number of homes has remained above 30,000 for five consecutive months. New listings also rose by 25.5% year-on-year during June. However, this is a return to normal after low listing levels in 2023. 

Sarah Wood, CEO of realestate.co.nz, says this is a significant period of price stability. But suggests that this week's new regulatory changes, including new debt-to-income ratios (DTIs), loosened loan-to-value ratios (LVRs), a more relaxed bright-line test, and earlier changes to interest deductibility, could impact the market: 

“Anecdotally, real estate agents have reported a backlog of properties waiting to be listed until the new bright-line rules took effect on 1 July; as more landlords struggle to sustain their rental properties with such high interest rates.” 

She adds, however, that the new regulations, paired with current market conditions, make it even more critical for those transacting to research their local market:  

“Stable prices could benefit those looking to buy an investment property. However, with a large supply of rental properties currently available, new investment buyers will need to really understand rental demand in their area.” 

“Those choosing to sell following the shortening of the bright-line test also need to price realistically. Some may struggle to get their desired price, especially if they bought at the peak of the market and potentially face selling for less than they purchased.”   

Price stability reigns, but West Coast returns to the bottom of the table

Southland saw the largest increase in its average asking price of any region, up 12.1% year-on-year. After holding the title of the most affordable region for three consecutive months, Southland was overtaken by the usually low-cost West Coast in June. The West Coast's average asking prices dropped 13.6% month-on-month to $476,892 after staying above $500,000 for three consecutive months. 

RE_Maps_June_2024[40]

In Wellington, average asking prices returned to normal, rising 10.9% month-on-month to $818,352. This increase brought the capital's average asking price back above $800,000 after an unusual dip in May. 

Nationally, and in the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Whanganui, Waikato, and Wairarapa, prices remained static between May and June, with changes of less than 1.0%.  

“Prices have fluctuated between $860,000 and $890,000 since November 2022. That’s a year and a half of buyers and sellers facing some level of certainty around prices, which is a silver lining in an uncertain economic environment.”  

In the meantime, Wood advises sellers to ensure their property is well marketed, work with a real estate agent experienced in selling their type of property and take the time to understand market insights and local price expectations: 

“Understanding your local market will be more important than ever now that DTI ratios will cap how much a buyer can spend at six times their income.” 

Choices aplenty for renters, but prices are yet to catch up 

People looking for a rental property had plenty of choice last month. Compared to June 2023, new rental listings were up nationally by 26.9%. Despite a 10.4% decrease from May’s unseasonal new listings jump, this is the second consecutive month of high new rental listings. 

Wood suggests that financial pressures on investors could be driving the surge in new rental listings, perhaps leading them to convert short-term rentals and Airbnbs into longer-term rentals.  

"Additionally, some landlords may have planned to sell with the new bright-line rules in July but have reconsidered after evaluating average asking prices, opting instead to place their properties back on the rental market." 

Up 5.9% to $653, the average weekly rental price increased nationally and in all regions year-on-year, except Wairarapa, where it decreased by 1.2%.  

Month-on-month, the national average rental price remained relatively unchanged, down just 0.9% from the all-time high of $660 recorded in May. Notably, Waikato reached an all-time rent high of $572, marking record rental prices for the region in three of the last four months. Wood observes that the increase in new rental listings has not yet impacted average rental prices: 

“Landlords report a challenging environment. Even after lowering prices, some have found interest from potential tenants remains low, indicating a softening rental market.”

Expert advice essential in changing times 

Wood predicts that buyers and sellers are likely experiencing confusion. She expects that some will be watching and waiting to see the impacts of new regulations on the market before transacting: 

"Typically, Kiwis don't like to transact during uncertain times. Right now, there's a lot of economic uncertainty, acronyms to decode, and property market regulations to process." 

“The good news is that the slower pace of the current market allows buyers and sellers more time to conduct due diligence and seek expert advice.” 

She adds that the most common method of sale during June was ‘display price’, which makes the negotiation process more transparent. 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Liz Studholme | liz@realestate.co.nz

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