House prices flatten in April

Core Logic Research News, House Price Index   •   01 May 2024

Home value growth in Aotearoa New Zealand stalled in April, with the 0.1% dip indicative of the indecisive nature of the property market at present.

CoreLogic’s House Price Index edged down 0.1% in April, with the average NZ property value now $933,633, up around 3% from September’s trough, but still almost 11% less than the peak.

Below the ‘flat’ national result, the main centres continue to show some variability. Dunedin values rose 0.7% in April, with Wellington and Hamilton seeing 0.4% growth. But Christchurch and Tauranga flattened (-0.1% apiece) and Auckland values dipped 0.6%.

House Price Index

National & Main Centres

CoreLogic NZ Chief Property Economist, Kelvin Davidson, said the continuation of soft house price trends in April reaffirms the sense of a ‘buyer’s market’, giving sellers reduced bargaining power.

“House prices are certainly lacking any strong momentum at present. Given the rise in total listings available on the market, as new properties come forward for sale but actual transactions remain subdued, it’s no surprise price growth has flattened off,” Mr Davidson said.

“To be fair, buyers don’t have it all their own way. For a start, they’ve got to have their finance in place first, and that’s not easy with mortgage rates still hovering at around 7%. In addition, with new jobs still being filled and the unemployment rate relatively low for now, there aren’t many ‘forced sellers’ out there at the moment either.”

“Even so, elevated stock levels mean that finance-approved buyers are in the ascendency. In this environment, I’d expect house price movements to remain a bit variable from month to month, and across regions too,” Mr Davidson added.

“We’re also now very close to finding out what a system of capping debt to income ratios might look like in NZ, and although deposit requirements will probably ease at the same time, DTI limits are also a reason to be cautious about the housing market’s outlook into 2025 as well.”


Market performance was variable across Auckland in April, with Rodney the only area to see a small rise. Auckland City saw a minor decline, while Waitakere, Manukau, and Franklin recorded falls of 0.6-0.9%, and North Shore and Franklin were more than 1% down.

Over quarterly and annual horizons, the data also remains patchy across Auckland, with Rodney having seen values rise since January (2.1%) and also compared to last April (0.9%), but an area such as Papakura is now 1.9% down since January, and Auckland City for example still 5% lower than last April.

“I’d always be cautious of reading too much into the results for a single month, but the sluggishness and general variability of house prices across Auckland’s sub-markets in April is probably a timely reminder of the challenges that buyers face from high mortgage rates and stretched affordability, even though they have more choice amongst the stock of listings on the market,” Mr Davidson said.


In contrast, Wellington’s wider housing market slightly strengthened, although values were still relatively flat in Kapiti Coast, Lower Hutt, and Wellington City. Porirua and Upper Hutt were more buoyant, with 1.5% and 1.4% rises respectively.

Upper Hutt has shown the strongest gains over the past quarter (4.5%) and the past year too, up 5.9% since April 2023. Porirua is up 4.7% in the past 12 months, with Lower Hutt and Wellington City recording 2.1% annual growth.

“Wellington’s wider housing market has generally remained on an upwards trend over the past couple of months after recording larger falls through the downturn, but there’s a chance this could peter out in the near term, just like we’ve seen in Auckland. After all, significant public sector job cuts could well be undermining general economic and housing market confidence in Wellington,” Mr Davidson said.

Regional House Price Index results

Other Main Urban Areas

Outside the main centres, the housing market recorded mostly modest gains in April, with the exception of Napier and New Plymouth which both saw mild declines.

Rotorua was perhaps the only area that markedly stood out from the pack in April, with a 1.3% rise in average values, although Whangarei, Nelson, and Invercargill all recorded growth between 0.5-0.7% too.

“The house price results for April across many of the provincial markets just back up the headline result. That is, a market that has gone flat in the past few months, as conditions switch to favour buyers who have secured their finance.”

Property market outlook

Looking ahead, Mr Davidson said the big-picture theme of an ‘underwhelming upturn’ for the property market this year and possibly into 2025 remains on track.

“Our expectation is that sales volumes might rise by around 10% this year, which is decent growth in percentage terms, but it’s coming off a low base. Indeed, it’d still leave activity about 15-20% below normal. House price growth could be around 5% in 2024, but certainly not uniform across the various regions.

“Clearly, inflation and the Reserve Bank’s plans for the official cash rate remain hugely influential for housing market performance in the coming months, with significant mortgage rate falls potentially a story for 2025 not 2024,” Mr Davidson added.

“One group that could continue to see good opportunities will be first home buyers. Of course, it’s never easy to get that first property. But with other groups, such as mortgaged investors, still just watching and waiting to some degree, the recent strength for FHBs’ market share in an environment where prices have flattened might remain a feature for much of the year.”