The full pdf version of the Weekly Overview is contained here.
Weekly Overview 4 August 2016
Thursday August 4th 2016
In this week’s Overview we take a look at recent data showing booming prospects for the construction sector, hints of slowing in the Auckland housing market, the likely cut in interest rates from the Reserve Bank next week, and deliver some thoughts on the deteriorating global geopolitical environment. We also again try to put into perspective the plan to facilitate construction of 422,000 dwellings in Auckland in the next 25 years. That is roughly the number that were built over 161 years between 1840 and 2001.
This is the last Weekly Overview until I return from leave in a couple of weeks time. To tide everyone over until then the issue is devoted entirely to the focus for many people of housing. We take a look at whether there are parallels with 1986-87, the implications for policy and housing here of Brexit, the Aussie election, rising nationalism in Europe and the rise of Mr Sanders and Mr Trump in the United States.
Like everyone else this week we take a look at the Brexit vote and offer some thoughts as an outsider looking in as a disgruntled bunch of Remain losers debate ditching democracy, taking votes away from old people, and portray Leave voters as racist Neanderthals.
As we all bide time waiting for the Brexit referendum result, this week we take a quick run-through of NZ economic data reinforcing our view that current NZ growth is good and reasonable prospects lie ahead.
This week I am at Fieldays so start the Overview with a few observations on the mood at Australasia’s biggest agricultural gathering. I also take a look again at the housing market, focussing in on two things. Firstly a list of structural changes helping to explain the apparent downward trend in home ownership. Second the data suggesting near 40% of house sales in our three biggest cities are to investors.
As was expected the Reserve Bank left its cash rate unchanged at 2.25% this morning and retained a warning that a further reduction may be needed. They in fact have one pencilled in which we think will arrive in August, and forecast no rate rise until beyond the end of their forecast horison which is the middle of 2019. This ongoing good environment for borrowers can do nothing other than provide continued support to a housing market replete with more and more people seeking accommodation but restricted by some existing shortages and less than optimal construction growth.
This week the data releases have been on the positive side, so it is easy to understand why the Kiwi dollar remains firm. In the housing market data show strong price rises and listings shortages. We take a look at the many factors driving house prices higher and the results of our special question in last week’s BNZ Confidence Survey regarding whether people are Happy or Unhappy that house prices are rising. The outcome helps explain why stops will not be pulled out to cause price declines.
As promised by the Finance Minister there were no big surprises in today’s Budget, the numbers look good with small though growing fiscal surpluses projected, growth averaging near 3%, unemployment falling to 4.6%, and interest rates not rising until 2018/19. The Budget Speech referenced an upcoming National Policy Statement on Urban Development which will direct councils to allow more housing and measure the impact on house prices of their decisions.