Wellington house prices: Singles driven out of the property market, as values jump 60 per cent

Wellington house prices: Singles driven out of the property market, as values jump 60 per cent

Accelerating house prices in the capital are making it nearly impossible for single people to get on the market, says a Wellington mortgage broker.

The capital’s new rateable values (RVs) were released yesterday, showing more than a 60 per cent increase in the average Wellington house since 2018 – to $1.435m.

This figure is for houses only, while the average 2021 RV for all residential properties in Wellington – including standalone houses, terraces, units and apartments – is around $1.245m.

Land value in the capital has also more than doubled to an average of $985,000.

Loan Market Mortgage advisor Craig Pope said they had received more inquiries over the past few years, but were starting to see certain people increasingly shut out of the market.

“For a lot of those single [income] buyers it’s just not going to happen, at least not in Wellington,” he said.

“The loan they need has almost doubled from what it might have been two or three years ago … On paper they might actually be able to get a loan approval but it’s just not big enough to buy anything of any meaningful size.”

Pope said he sometimes had to be honest with people about their prospects of getting into the market with one income.

“I’ve been blunt with people, that unless you shack up with a new partner or go in with a sibling, you’re just going to be left behind, unfortunately.”

“Two or three years ago they could have just about got on.”

The heat of the Wellington property market was also driving people into his office much earlier in life, anxious about getting onto the market as soon as possible.

Wellington house prices: Singles driven out of the property market, as values jump 60 per cent

Wellington's new rateable values showed a jump of 60 per cent in three years. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“I’ve noticed more younger first-home buyers trying to get on the ladder,” he said.

“I think that’s partly because of mum and dad helping out, and people in the early 20s are perhaps on better salaries than they have been in the past. They feel like they’ve got to buy now.

“I guess a lot of them haven’t been able to go on an OE and things like that, which has pushed them towards buying a house.”

Pope said the RVs released yesterday made little difference to the difficulty of getting a loan and buying a house.

“I think people know the RVs are not always indicative of the true cost of a house might be, they can be a bit all over the place,” he said.

“They just need to focus on what their borrowing capacity is from their financial position, regardless of the RVs.”

“People already know they’re going to have to borrow a truckload of money one way or another.”

Tommy’s Real Estate sales director Nicki Cruickshank also advised homeowners not to take RVs too seriously.

“Take it as what it is – it’s for council to work out rates on your property, it’s not an actual valuation. Take it with a grain of salt probably.”

She said some people’s properties could be worth significantly less than their RV if they had not been well-maintained.

“It’s an algorithm, so they don’t go in and look at the properties. And you can’t value something unless you’ve seen it.

“I would say a lot of properties in Wellington are not well-maintained. If you’ve done nothing on them for eight or ten years and had them as a rental and then expect top dollar, it’s just not reality.”

But she said the general increase in RVs reflected the “incredible growth” in the capital over the past few years.

“Last time, three years ago, there were two or three suburbs above a million and now there’s at least that many at two million,” she said.

“We definitely know there’s been incredible growth in Wellington for the last three or four years but that’s a milestone – everyone’s a millionaire.”

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