28 Aug 2020

Housing confidence highest since beginning of 2012 boom

12:39 pm on 28 August 2020

Confidence in the housing market has reached an eight-year high, according to ASB bank's latest housing confidence survey.

Generic houses in NZ - Pic taken in Chch June 2020

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The survey, which covers the three months ended June, shows a net 21 percent of respondents thought it was a good time to buy a house, compared with a net negative 1 percent in the previous survey.

The bank's chief economist Nick Tuffley said it's the strongest quarterly result since late 2012, when the housing boom was getting started.

"What we've seen over the last six months is a real swing in people's views around the housing market from earlier on in the year seeing a market that looked like it was fairly hot, but challenging to get into, to one where people seemed to be gripped by the depths of level 4 lockdown despair, to a market now where people really do see it as an opportunity to get in."

Tuffley said the confidence was supported by monetary measures taken by the Reserve Bank to bring interest rates down and a perception that house prices wouldn't increase.

He also thought the inability for people to travel overseas was playing a role, as those people may look to push money that would otherwise be used for travel into lifestyle properties and holiday homes.

The positive sentiment was strongest in Canterbury and the rest of the South Island.

A net 31 percent of respondents expected mortgage rates to fall over the next year, down further from the previous quarter's net 19 percent expecting falls.

Tuffley said the latest Covid-19 restrictions might dampen enthusiasm, but he believed the possibility of a negative Official Cash Rate would support people's confidence in the market into next year.

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