RBNZ survey of households finds expectations of higher house prices have actually increased, while mortgage holders are far less worried about meeting payments than renters
By David Hargreaves
Well, the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) might be about to do its version of removing the punch bowl this week (on Wednesday, August 18) - if and when it raises interest rates - but home owners aren't perturbed.
They see house price rises continuing over the next year, with house price inflation expectations actually increasing, while mortgage holders are more confident about making payments than renters.
These are some of the key 'take-outs' from the RBNZ's latest quarterly Household Expectations Survey, which is compiled for the central bank by research group UMR. (Detailed note on the survey here.)
After taking something of a dip mid-year, the expectations of households for rising house prices over the next 12 months have actually firmed up appreciably in the latest survey, carried out towards the end of last month.
Nearly three out of four households see higher house prices in 12 months' time.
To be precise, 72.9% of households surveyed said prices were going higher. That's a sharp increase on the 62.4% of respondents three months ago that saw higher prices in a year. And it heads the sentiment back towards the peak in March 2021 when 81.4% of survey respondents saw rising house prices ahead.
It is to be presumed that the fall in sentiment three months ago reflected some of the measures being implemented by the RBNZ - such as tighter loan to value (LVR) limits and also the Government's March housing package.
But in reality the housing market has continued to roar on.
In commentary on the latest survey, the RBNZ said the latest house price inflation result suggests "households do not expect house price increases to slow down".
"This is contrary to what households expected in June 2020 where we saw only a small number of people expecting house prices to increase (0.2%)."
In terms of the kinds of increases in prices that are now expected, the survey found that households see prices rising 5% in the next year - and that's up from just 4% in the survey three months ago and now again approaching the record level, which was a 6% expectation in the March survey. The survey has been asking that particular question for 10 years.
Additional survey questions have been asked around ability to meet mortgage repayments. And there's a pretty high degree of confidence among home owners. More so than for those who don't own their own home, who have concerns about finding the rent.
"When comparing three month mortgage repayment concerns with three month rent payment concerns for this quarter, they are telling two different stories (Figure 5 & 6)," the RBNZ says.
"Over one half of mortgage holders are ‘not at all worried’ about being able to make a mortgage payment in the next three months, whereas only 30.9% of renters feel this way. One third (33.7%) of renters are either ‘extremely worried’ or ‘moderately worried’ about making a rental payment, versus 17.8% of mortgage holders."
The RBNZ suggests this "worry" could be partly explained by renters expressing more concern for having a job in three months time compared with those who have a mortgage (38.8% of renters are ‘Extremely worried’ or ‘Moderately worried’ about their short term job security compared with 25.5% of mortgagors.).
"More investigative work is required to understand the reasons behind the differences in worry between mortgagors and renters," the RBNZ says.
The latest survey was conducted shortly after the release of the super-hot inflation figures for the June quarter.
And that is reflected in the latest results on expectations of inflation, with respondents in the survey seeing a median rise of 3% over the next year, compared with just 2.2% in the previous survey three months ago.
This story was originally published on Interest.co.nz and has been republished here with permission.