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A steady finish to Auckland's 2017 property market

The end of 2017 saw an array of results across the Auckland property market. While our territorial authorities are now combined into one centralised super city, the property market demonstrated that Auckland is a place of contrast when it comes to sales volume and price changes, with varying results between districts.

Compared to December 2016, the median price across the region increased by 2 percent, finishing off the year at $870,000. Papakura District rose a substantial 14 percent in median price over this period, while Auckland City dropped 6 percent compared to the year before. When we combine the TA’s again, this is the first time that all seven districts have had a median price in excess of $700,000, highlighting that Auckland is still a coveted place to buy.

As to be expected in a month consumed with Christmas parties and present shopping, the number of property sales decreased by 12 percent compared to November. This was slightly down year-on-year from December 2016, with a 6 percent drop over the 12 months.

The REINZ attributes these results to multiple factors. Buyers are becoming more considered in their approach and aren’t rushing in to buy; they are looking around and doing their due diligence. There have also been fewer investors in the market, predominantly due to the 40 percent deposit required for investors in the Auckland market – although this month’s Reserve Bank changes may encourage some back.

Last year’s Council Valuations have also resulted in interesting conversations as many owners believe their valuation is what their property is worth in terms of market value. While 2014’s valuations were out-of-date upon release, the market has changed and this is the area where your agent can really add value.

If you are thinking of selling, it’s important to take a look at the market and listen to your agent as not only do they know the market inside and out, but they will be able to set realistic expectations about price based on market demand in this more stable and balanced period.

Source: REINZ, January 2018

A New Year’s gift for first home buyers

The rise in house prices at the end of 2017 may have felt like another blow for first home buyers, but the Reserve Bank presented a late Christmas gift on 1st January. The cap on banks who lend to buyers with a deposit of less than 20 percent has now been increased from 10 to 15 percent of lending, meaning that more buyers will be able to purchase homes without the hefty 20 percent deposit.

Investors were also the lucky recipients of a token from the Reserve Bank too as equity requirements for investment properties reduced from 40 percent to 35 percent.

It’s good news all round for purchasers – which will translate into positive effects for those looking to sell their properties. Home loan rates remain compellingly low and there’s no sign that this will change anytime soon. While there’s been a slight rise in rates over the past year, it has been lower than expected and future increases are tipped to continue in this slow but steady manner. Those who are purchasing property or whose loans are up for renewal are being urged by experts to do their research and negotiate with their bank, as the published rates aren’t always the best offer you can end up with.

If you’re renewing your home and are currently on a 25 or 30 year term, it’s worth looking at whether you can pay a little extra and cut down on the term of the loan. You could save thousands of dollars in interest over the life time of your loan, bringing you to your goal of paying off that mortgage faster.