Steve Hart's Property Report podcast

Property Report for 20 Sept 2019 with Steve Hart

Housing NZ is no more; it will be dissolved and replaced with a new government housing agency.

The change brings together all the Government’s major housing entities – Housing New Zealand (HNZ), its development subsidiary HLC, and the KiwiBuild Unit – into one department.

Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford; he of the failed KiwiBuild programme – says the new unit will be a “world-class public housing landlord”.

Low number of new listings impacts sales volumes in August, says REINZ.

The number of residential properties sold across New Zealand in August dropped 6.1% from the same time last year to 5,959 (down from 6,346), the lowest level of sales for 7 months.

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold dropped 6.9% to 4,198.

In Auckland, the number of properties sold in August dropped 4.1% year-on-year (to 1,761 down from 1,837) the lowest in 4 months.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says the latest numbers are “a bit of a surprise given the strength of July’s figures”.

She blames the wet winter weather for a lack of listings. She also says there have been 3,624 fewer new listings in August than at the same time last year.

Feedback from agents is that sellers are waiting to buy before agreeing to selling their home – not wanting to be forced into a hard-to-come-by rental.

Norwell hopes confidence will improve over the coming months.

According to REINZ data Median house prices across New Zealand increased by 5.5% in August to $580,000 but prices in Auckland fell by 3.5% on a year ago to $820,000.

Days to Sell has also increased on a year ago.
Reinz says that in August the median number of days to sell a property nationally increased by 2 day to 39 when compared to August last year.

Auctions were used in 10.9% of all sales across the country in August. Gisborne had the highest percentage of sales by auction across the country with 31.5% (or 17 properties) in the region sold under the hammer.

Auckland saw the second largest percentage of sales by auction on 18.8% (331 properties) down from 22.0% in August 2018 (404 properties).

Landlords have woken up after their winter slumber and re-entering the market according to CoreLogic.
It says the share of property purchases made by mortgaged investors has returned to the 26% mark, the highest since the introduction of a 40% deposit for this group (LVR III in October 2016).

Auckland has been a key part of the upturn from investors, even though this is where rental yields are lowest.

Property values in the city have fallen by about $36,500 from the peak so investors are sensing bargains.

However, anecdotal evidence relayed to this reporter indicates that some investors are off-loading properties they do not want to bring up to code – preferring to sell than make them warm and dry for tenants.


The High Court in New Zealand has ordered property investment advisory company Ronovation Ltd to pay $400,000 for price fixing.

Ronovation, trading as Ronovationz, was set up by Ron Hoy Fong to train property investors.

Investors who signed up for the company’s services were required to abide by a set of rules which prevented them competing against one another to acquire specific properties, which the Commerce Commission maintained breached the price fixing provisions of the Commerce Act.

It meant sellers missed out as not all bidders would have bid for their property. Members of Ronovationz would have stepped aside allowing just one member to bid.

Commerce Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said: The clear aim of the agreement was to suppress competition between members, due to concerns that increased competition between members would drive up prices for the properties they were seeking to acquire.

Hoy Fong said as a director of Ronovation he accepted responsibility for the breach.

“It was never our intention to breach the Commerce Act and there was no direct gain to Ronovationz by doing so,” he said.

Well; no – it was the sellers who may have missed out.


The collapse of Stanley Group and Tallwood Holdings has left creditors owed more than $13.3 million.

Liquidator Damien Grant from Waterstone Insolvency, says  Stanley Group’s creditors are owed $10 million, and Tallwood’s creditors are owed almost $3 million.

Interest rates

The official cash rate is sitting at 1% with some bank economists predicting it will one quarter of one percent next year as the RBNZ battles to stimulate the economy among headwinds from abroad.

The next OCR announcement in 25 September.
In my view we are still paying for the RBZN increasing rates in 2014 to 3.5% – I said then it was a mistake. and a year later rates went down. But the damage was done.

If your mortgage is coming up for a prefix within the next month I would pick a six month fixed rate and lock in an even lower rate next year.

New Zealand is still paying some of the highest floating rates around typical around 5.3% – in Australia the floating rate at Westpak is 3.44% and a 2-year fixed rate is 3.18%.

Meanwhile Westpak NZ’s 2-year rate is 4.09%. Same bank – different rates.