Property not booming

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 14:49 29/05/2012

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Despite plummeting mortgage rates, a rise in house prices and increased sales numbers, experts say New Zealand is not on the cusp of a property boom.

There may be talk of a looming housing shortage but the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) says people are not rushing out to buy.

In a new research paper it agrees with Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard, who recently advised Parliament there was little sign of house price inflation.

While prices are back to the levels seen in the last property market boom of 2007, the pace of house price growth has not kept up with the 15 per cent increase seen in the Consumer Price Index in the same timeframe, REINZ said.

Sales volumes had been buoyant in the last few months, but it was not evidence of an impending boom, chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said.

For the property market to be classified as in a boom phase turnover would need to be more than 6 per cent of the total housing stock. It was last at that level in 2007. In December, the total number of houses sold nationwide was only 3.25 per cent of stock.

''To look at it another way, 60 per cent more houses would need to be sold than are currently selling for the housing market to 'boom','' O'Sullivan said.

Matching a price peak set five years ago was to be noted, but hardly qualified as evidence of the next bubble, she said.

While there was pressure on the Auckland and Christchurch markets, this was more due to slow residential construction growth in Auckland and losing housing stock in the Canterbury earthquakes.

''As the data shows, the number of sales remains well below the longer term trend, prices are only just getting back to where they were five years ago and buyers aren't rushing to purchase properties.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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