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As property market cools, New Zealand's recent home buyers tighten belts

11 Tháng Năm 2022
As property market cools, New Zealand's recent home buyers tighten belts © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A newly built housing estate can be seen next to another under construction in a suburb of Auckland in New Zealand, June 24, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - When Aarti and Gaurav Kathuria were saving for their first home, a three-bedroom townhouse in Auckland, they cut back on eating out and other expenses so they could put together the hefty deposit.

Now, only months after paying NZ$875,000 ($560,000) for a home in one of the world's most unaffordable cities, they're faced with a new challenge: property prices are falling, while mortgage rates and living costs are going up.

The declining property values are a product of policies designed to knock some of the heat out New Zealand's red-hot housing market. But for people like the Kathurias, the hit to household wealth has meant a tightening of the purse strings.

"All you can do is cut back on things," Aarti Kathuria said.

House prices in New Zealand, which were already elevated before the COVID-19 pandemic, jumped 43% in the two years to December 2021, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said. They've fallen around 1% since December.

Unsustainable home prices https://graphics.reuters.com/NEWZEALAND-ECONOMY/PROPERTY/jnvwernwbvw/chart.png

"Over the past 12 months people who have entered in that very heightened house buying frenzy will be challenged," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr said last week, noting most households remain in a strong equity position.

The Kathurias are also trying to save 30% of their income to provide a financial buffer for future costs. With petrol costs and food prices rising, they're catching the train to work, walking to the supermarket rather than driving and renting out a spare bedroom.

Housing affordability has plummeted over the past two years as home prices and debt levels surged, driven by record low interest rates, massive fiscal relief and an inability to spend on overseas travel.

Unaffordable property https://graphics.reuters.com/NEWZEALAND-ECONOMY/PROPERTY/znpnemrzlvl/chart.png

Analysts at Australian financial firm Barrenjoey said nearly 40% of loans in New Zealand were to borrowers with debt more than six times their income.

UNSUSTAINABLE

The RBNZ, which has to consider house prices in its policy deliberations, began raising the cash rate in October last year, at the time describing house prices as "unsustainable".

It has so far increased the cash rate by 1.25 percentage points and forecast further significant increases.

Last week, Orr told a parliamentary committee that house prices still needed to drop as much as 20% more before they were at sustainable levels.

Some economists now see house prices falling about 10% this year.

While lower house prices would help the government's affordability objectives, the combination of weaker asset values, soaring inflation and higher debt burdens could reduce consumer spending.

This would make it harder for recent homebuyers to repay their loans as interest rates rise.

"A sharp correction remains a plausible outcome that would have broad economic implications," the RBNZ said last week.

The central bank expects that around 50% of those who bought a property in the past 12 months will need to "belt tighten" if mortgage rates hit 7%. Currently major banks are offering a floating mortgage rate of around 5.5%.

Miles Workman, senior economist at ANZ Bank, said recent buyers who borrowed heavily were most at risk of falling into negative equity as prices come down.

"That is going to hurt from a psychological perspective," he said. "Hopefully those first-home buyers can just grit their teeth and get through it because the labour market is very tight."

Economists expect a hit to consumption as the mix of higher loan repayments and rising prices make households cautious about spending.

Westpac's acting chief economist for New Zealand, Michael Gordon, said all of these factors could squeeze the broader economy.

"The Reserve Bank is facing a very difficult balancing act – probably the hardest that they faced in the inflation targeting era," he said.

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 EUR/USD1.0735↑ Buy
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 AUD/USD0.7161↑ Buy
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 EUR/JPY136.48↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF1.0278↑ Buy
 Gold1,851.64↑ Buy
 Silver22.130↑ Buy
 Copper4.3225↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI115.07↑ Sell
 Brent Oil115.32↑ Sell
 Natural Gas8.708↑ Buy
 US Coffee C228.65↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 503,808.86↑ Buy
 S&P 5004,158.24↑ Buy
 DAX14,462.19↑ Buy
 FTSE 1007,585.46Sell
 Hang Seng20,697.36↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20001,887.90Neutral
 IBEX 358,933.60↑ Buy
 BASF51.110Neutral
 Bayer66.58↑ Buy
 Allianz200.20↑ Buy
 Adidas179.96↑ Buy
 Lufthansa6.881↑ Buy
 Siemens AG121.86Buy
 Deutsche Bank AG10.392↑ Sell
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,830/ 6,940
(0/ 0) # 1,716
SJC HCM6,850/ 6,950
(-5/ -5) # 1,738
SJC Hanoi6,850/ 6,952
(-5/ -5) # 1,740
SJC Danang6,850/ 6,952
(-5/ -5) # 1,740
SJC Nhatrang6,850/ 6,952
(-5/ -5) # 1,740
SJC Cantho6,850/ 6,952
(-5/ -5) # 1,740
Cập nhật 28-05-2022 11:06:05
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ↀ Giá vàng thế giới
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E5 RON 92-II29.63030.220
DO 0.05S25.55026.060
DO 0,001S-V26.35026.870
Dầu hỏa 2-K24.40024.880
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WTI$113.93+1.171.01%
Brent$115.32+4.013.36%
$ Tỷ giá Vietcombank
Ngoại tệMua vàoBán ra
USD23.030,0023.340,00
EUR24.263,1125.622,23
GBP28.523,9629.740,84
JPY177,60188,03
KRW15,9119,38
Cập nhật lúc 10:59:59 28/05/2022
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