30 May 2012

Property rebound showing dangerous signs

6:54 am on 30 May 2012

Pockets of the real estate sector, including housing markets in Auckland and Christchurch, are said by some commentators to be showing dangerous signs as prices continue to rise and demand for some types of properties grows.

This year's rebound in house prices to record levels seen in 2007 has sparked talk that those boom times are on its way back, prompting the Reserve Bank to make it clear there is no sign of a housing inflation spike.

And after analysing 20 years of data, Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan says though some prices have bounced back to record levels, in the intervening years consumer prices have increased by around 15%.

In real terms, she says current spending on homes is still rational.

The percentage of housing stock turnover was historically over 5 percent but in recent times had been only around 3.5%.

But Massey University's chair of real estate studies Professor Bob Hargreaves says the report barely touches on the pressures building in some regions.

"I think the Auckland market is an exception, and to a lesser extent the Christchurch market is too," he says.

ASB economist Nick Tuffley says that prices will continue to rise, predominantly in Christchurch and Auckland over the next few years, but the "mild uplift" is not enough to persuade the Reserve Bank governor to change his stance.