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Finance Minister warns home buyers to think ahead, with houses "fully priced"

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Appearing at the finance and expenditure committee on Wednesday Joyce said the house price market was "pretty fully priced", especially in Auckland.

With more houses coming on the market and with interest rates rising there was not "massive upside in house prices".

"It's for people to make their own assessments but I would say to them don't just think about the mortgage payment you would have to pay today, think about the one you might have to pay in three or four years time before you make that commitment."

But Joyce has also put on hold any move by the Reserve Bank to impose debt to income ratios (DTIs) demanding it do a cost benefit analysis of them - including their likely impact on first home buyers - before he will agree to add that option to the bank's "tool kit" which already includes loan to value limits.

The central bank would begin its analysis in March and had indicated it could report back by the middle of the year, Joyce said.

He said the central bank would do that analysis anyway, but he believed it was good practice, particularly with no urgency to bring in DTIs, to provide him with the analysis before he provided the bank with that tool.

"Given the novel nature of a DTI tool in New Zealand and the fact there are a number of possible policy actions the RBNZ could take, it is important that the costs and benefits of the different policy options be adequately and rigorously explored."

He said the impact of DTIs on first home buyers was the obvious one, but there may be others and he wanted to be clear what impact they would have before approving their use.

Joyce said his first Budget would be delivered on May 25.

It "may or may not be able to do something for people on the income side this time around".

Treasury's Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) in December, forecast a surplus of just $473 million this year, but growing to $3.3 billion, $5.4b and $6.7b over the next three years

At the time the Government indicated a planned increase in infrastructure spending, earthquake recovery and debt reduction, were in the mix for the next Budget alongside the "tax and family package" announced by John Key before he quit as prime minister.

Joyce said this year's Budget - an election year Budget - would be "centred on providing opportunities for all Kiwis to get ahead".

"The 2017 Budget will build on the strengthening performance of the New Zealand economy over the last several years. It will focus on creating the conditions for further growth and greater prosperity for all New Zealanders," he said.

"As the economy grows, we have a little more headroom to invest in better public services. However, as always, our focus will be on achieving better results, and not just tipping in more taxpayers money.

"It is also very important to remain mindful that the money the Government spends comes from hard working Kiwi families."

In an interview after being appointed to the finance role Joyce indicated he would be cautious despite Treasury's tip of annual growth above three per cent and surpluses hitting $8.5 billion by 2021.

But he seemed more enthusiastic about tax cuts than Bill English and seemed to favour lifting the tax thresholds - the level at which the various tax rates cut in - though perhaps not the rates themselves.

The current rates are 10.5 per cent on income up to $14,000 a year, 17.5 per cent between $14,000 and $48,000 and 30 per cent above that until you hit $70,000, when the top 33 per cent rate cuts in.

He mentioned in particular the pressures at the $48,000 level, where the 30 per cent rate kicks in and where wage rises push people into the higher bracket.

Topics: Values / Prices

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