N.Z. Home Buyers Less Optimistic as Prices Rise, Survey Shows

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand home buyers are less optimistic as a shortage of properties for sale bolsters prices, ASB Bank Ltd. said, citing the results of a January survey.

The proportion of respondents expecting higher home prices rose to 27 percent from 22 percent in the previous survey in October, Auckland-based ASB said in an e-mailed report today. Twenty percent said now is a good time to buy a house, down from 24 percent in the previous survey.

“The housing market still looks to be constrained by supply, with recent data showing a decline in new house listings,” ASB Chief Economist Nick Tuffley said in the report. “The general tightening in the housing market shows signs of feeding through into a recovery in house prices.”

New listings fell 2 percent in January following a 35 percent slump in December, with the number of homes for sale in the nation’s three cities at four-year lows, according to industry website realestate.co.nz. Rising prices may spark home building and spending, helping an economic recovery that has been sluggish in the past year.

House prices may rise about 3 percent this year, Tuffley said. The outlook for more expensive homes means ASB’s overall housing confidence gauge declined, Tuffley said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net