House prices in Auckland decreased by 1.6 per cent last month from one year earlier, and North Shore saw values drop by 1.3 per cent, according to figures released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
The dip comes as some economists have worried that New Zealand is at risk of following the lead of Australia, where Sydney house prices have plummeted by about 5 per cent – a big enough drop, combined with a similar slump in Melbourne, to bring down median house prices nationwide.
But the median home price for the Auckland region as a whole has hardly registered as a change from last year – down .1 per cent, or from $836,000 to $835,000. That’s because Waitakere City saw a 4.6 per cent boost in value, counter-balancing the other Auckland area losses.
And four other regions in New Zealand saw record home value spikes from July 2017 to July 2018. Nelson, Marlborough and Taranaki all had increases in the double digits, with median house prices varying from $375,000 to $547,000. Northland house prices jumped 5.7 per cent, to $481,000.
"The shortage of properties available for sale across the country is continuing to push prices up in all regions across the country except for Auckland," REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said in a statement.
"The stability of Auckland’s median price will be welcome news for first time buyers struggling with Auckland’s house prices, but time will tell whether the low to mid $800,000 mark is a longer-term trend," she added.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ1’s Breakfast yesterday that she’s confident New Zealand isn’t on the same trajectory as Australia.
"If you look to Auckland, there is a cooling there (but) that doesn’t mean that properties are losing their value," she said. "It just means that essentially they’re not escalating at the rate we’ve seen in the past."
In a forecast last week, the Reserve Bank predicted house prices across the country to stay positive at around two to three per cent per year for the next few years.
Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr has acknowledged, however, that a price fall similar to Australia "is in the realm of possibility".
"Likewise, you could see it rise," he said.