The Ups and Downs of New Zealand House Prices

This paper identifies the expansion and contraction phases of New Zealand's national and regional house prices, by employing techniques typically used to study cycles in real activity, the so-called Classical cycle dating method.

We then enquire into the nature of the cycles, addressing five questions:

  1. What are the New Zealand and regional house price cycles, and do the regional cycles differ from the national cycle?;
  2. What are the typical durations, magnitudes and shapes of these house price cycles?;
  3. Do cycles in house prices match cycles in economic activity, at either national or regional levels?;
  4. Does it matter which of the two main sets of house price series are used? i.e. Quotable Value New Zealand (QVNZ) or Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)?; and
  5. Does the sample period matter?

Findings are evaluated in the context of work by Grimes, Aitken and Kerr (2004), and Hall and McDermott (2005). Avenues for further research are suggested.