Sharechat Logo

Still too early to declare victory on cooling house prices, RBNZ's Spencer says

Thursday 9th February 2017

Text too small?

Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer says it's still too early to declare victory with the recent slowdown in house prices and the central bank will be monitoring demand pressures from migration and the ability of the construction sector to convert intentions into actual builds. 

The central bank acknowledged the moderation in house prices when keeping the official cash rate at 1.75 percent today, saying loan-to-value ratio limits on highly-leveraged lending and increasing mortgage rates had helped cool the market which has posed a threat to the stability of the wider financial system in recent years. New Zealand is experiencing a building boom, driven largely by the housing shortage in the country's largest city of Auckland which is failing to keep up with rapid population growth. 

A key uncertainty for the bank is whether net migration starts to taper off, with the RBNZ's forecasters struggling as much as the rest of the market to accurately predict when the number of new arrivals will fall. The country's strong economy with 3.5 percent average annual growth tipped over the coming four years remains an attraction, especially when Australia's fortunes remain subdued. 

"Clearly, house prices have moderated," Spencer told BusinessDesk in an interview. "It’s good news but as you know the LVRs on previous occasions have had an effect for six-to-nine months and then the markets come back because of the ongoing migration and supply having trouble keeping up, so that’s again a potential risk this year and so we're being a bit cautious and not declaring victory."

While the inflationary aspect of rising house prices and the spillover into domestic demand might be showing signs of moderating, Spencer said the central bank was still wary of household consumption, which unexpectedly accelerated through the second half of last year. 

"We do have consumption coming back a bit, but there’s probably risks on either side of that," he said. 

The Reserve Bank anticipates house prices will stay elevated through 2017, albeit at a lower level than what it was predicting in its November forecasts, and slow next year to reflect "an easing in net immigration, greater housing supply and affordability constraints becoming more binding," today's monetary policy statement said. The central bank projects residential property investment to grow 15 percent in the March 2017 year from just 2.8 percent in 2016, before slowing to 8.2 percent in 2018 and 3 percent the following year. 

Governor Graeme Wheeler told Parliament's finance and expenditure committee the supply side was still the issue that needs addressing with the nation's housing problem. 

"The answer is the houses have to be built and put in place," Wheeler said. "We need completed houses on the ground." 

Government data today showed residential building consents fell for a second month in December, although Wheeler said he hadn't seen the figures when asked about them at the select committee.

Bond Offer: Infratil Ltd, 7.2 year & 10.2 year unsecured unsubordinated bond

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

Booster tests waters with NZX listing of private property trust
Liquidation can be sought on small debts, appeal court finds
House price inflation rekindles but low sales volumes suggest caution
Liquidators estimate $16m shortfall from Stanley-Tallwood collapse
Manufacturing contraction extends into August
House price inflation rekindles but low sales volumes suggest caution
13th September 2019 Morning Report
Tamarind halts Tui drilling; OMV assesses options
NZ weaker as ECB package, inflation data lifts greenback
MARKET CLOSE: Z Energy, Synlait crash on earnings downgrades

IRG See IRG research reports