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Regional Commentary and Property Market Statistics - December 2018

Market Statistics

Property Brokers 17 Jan 2019

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The 2018 year ended with a fizz rather than a bang, with the lowest number of residential properties sold for the month of December for 7 years according to the latest market statistics from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

In December 2018, the number of houses sold across New Zealand decreased by -12.9% year-on-year to 5,330, down from 6,117 – 787 fewer houses. For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold decreased by -8.2% when compared to December 2017, from 4,352 down to 3,994 – 358 fewer houses and the lowest for the month of December in 5 years.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “While December is usually a quiet month as people focus on Christmas holidays, December 2018 was extremely quiet with the lowest number of properties sold for the month of December for seven years. Additionally, 12 out of 16 regions saw an annual decrease in the number of properties sold.

With national listing levels down -11.3% in November and -13.3% in December, it’s not entirely surprising that December was a quiet month in terms of sales volumes. However, what we’re hearing is that part of the lower sales volumes can also be attributed to some vendors’ understanding of the value of their home. A realistic approach to market value may help vendors sell their property in a more reasonable timeframe,” points out Norwell.

 

Regional Analysis - Auckland

“While December saw the Auckland market finish 2018 with a 9-month high in median price, the reality is that it presented the same stable story that personified much of 2018 with the median price hovering within $20,000 of the $850,000 mark. However, volumes and days to sell were a different story, with volumes down 24.3% year-on-year and median days to sell at 39 days, the highest for the month of December in 17 years. First home buyer interest remained active in the central parts, particularly ahead of the January changes to the LVRs.

Investor interest has declined, which is in part likely caused by the foreign buyer ban but also by the changes to regulation for landlords. Auckland’s median price peaked in March 2017 and while there are still some areas achieving record prices, for example Waitakere City, there is strong feedback from agents across the Auckland region that some vendors may need to take a more realistic approach to asking prices in order to sell their property in a timelier manner. Going forward, January is likely to be quiet as it’s peak holiday season, so we won’t get a true picture of the market until the February figures are available in early March.” (REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed minute increase in median price was slightly more than was expected and the observed massive increase in sales count was much more than expected. The current Days to Sell of 39 days is more than the 10-year average for December which is 32 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 22 weeks, two weeks less than in December 2017.

 

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Regional Analysis - Northland

“The Northland market remained positive with prices up a solid 9.1% for the region to $480,000 during December and also a record median for the Kaipara District of $617,000. Enquiry numbers rose for properties in the higher price brackets, particularly those priced from $800,000 and upwards. There was the usual seasonal decrease in people visiting open homes.

Demand continued to be reasonably strong; however, with new listings down for two months in a row it’s not surprising sales volumes were down 10.3% year-on-year. Areas like Kerikeri continue to see older buyers coming through, who have sold elsewhere and are cash buyers, resulting in fewer finance clauses. Going forward, there is an expectation locally that the relaxation of LVR levels will likely increase buyer numbers across the board and that there will be more investors returning to the market in the first quarter of 2019." (REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed decrease in median price was in contrast to the expected small increase and the observed massive decrease in sales count was much larger than expected. The current Days to Sell of 48 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 53 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 31 weeks, one week more than in December 2017.

 

 

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Regional Analysis - Waikato

“The Waikato market was still steady throughout December despite a lower number of sales compared to November. Record median prices were seen in the South Waikato, Waipa and Waitomo Districts. Banks are still lending and are trying to assist in helping deals cross the line, where they can. We see quite a few KiwiSaver contracts coming through amongst first home buyers, and the lending criteria is very similar to last year. We also saw the summer influx of people coming to the region, especially in the Coromandel/Thames area.

Taupo continues to be seen as an affordable place to buy property, despite the new record high median house price achieved in November. In Coromandel/Thames first home buyer enquiries were dictated by price. As usual, people are looking for good quality in good locations, but the continued shortage of listings limits the options. The region continues to see multi offers and has a quite positive feel about the market place now, which we hope lasts into the New Year.”(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed minute decrease in median price was in contrast to the expected minute increase and the observed large decrease in sales count was greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 37 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 40 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 16 weeks, one week less than in December 2017.

 

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Regional Analysis - Bay of Plenty

“The Bay of Plenty market followed closely the patterns we saw in November with a strong upper end market in the Tauranga region, while first home buyers continue to sit on the fence. The Bay of Plenty was the only region that achieved a new record median house price, increasing 3.4% year-on-year to $610,000. Tauranga City also saw a record median price of $662,500 beating the record set in May 2018.

As usual, anything newly listed gets well attended at open homes. New listings dropped by 21.5% year-on-year, and inventory fell by 1.5% year-on-year. Vendor’s asking prices fell slightly compared to 12 months ago, which hasn’t really changed the days on the market which only rose one day from 36 to 37 year-on-year. Once the holiday period comes to an end, it will most likely be business as usual with a healthy and stable market."(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed increase in median price was a little greater than expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was larger than expected. The current Days to Sell of 37 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 47 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14 weeks, three weeks less than in December 2017.

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Regional Analysis - Hawke's Bay

“With two consecutive record high median house price months in October and November, the Hawke’s Bay market continued its strong performance during December. The median house price increased by 9.3% year-on-year, but dipped slightly from November’s median price, down 2.8% to $457,000. Overall inventory levels still remain at 8 weeks, despite a 3.6% increase of new listings compared to December 2017. There continue to be multiple offers for many of the listed properties.

First home buyers and investors made a comeback to the market and showed an increased demand. With the two months of record high median prices, vendors are expecting a bit more for their properties reflected by a 10.3% increase in the median listing price for the region. This has not lessened demand as Hawke’s Bay was one of only four regions to see an annual increase in sales volumes. We expect that the market will continue in this positive spirit for the first few months in the new year.”(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed decrease in median price was greater than expected and the observed huge decrease in sales count was greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 32 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 40 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at eight weeks, one week less than in December 2017.

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Regional Analysis - Taranaki

“The Taranaki market remains stable, but the continuation of low inventory in some price brackets is causing issues for some pockets of the market – especially for first home buyers. November was a very active month and saw the highest number of sold properties within a month since March 2004 for the region, and this high created a shortage in the market as the sales numbers dropped to the lowest number of properties sold in the month of December since December 2013.

New listings fell 9.6% compared to one year ago, but the total inventory was up 7.6% on the same time last year. With a shortage of inventory in the lower to middle price brackets this is encouraging vendors to expect a little bit more for their properties. Looking forward, the market seems steady with very few changes.”(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed small increase in median price was in contrast to the expected minute decrease and the observed gigantic decrease in sales count was much larger than expected. The current Days to Sell of 30 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 39 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14 weeks, one week less than in December 2017.

 

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Regional Analysis - Manawatu/Whanganui

“As predicted, the Manawatu/Whanganui market remained buoyant throughout December with the second lowest days to sell of all the regions in the country and median house prices were up 11.7% year-on-year. The REINZ House Price Index indicated the region achieved a new record high of 2867. Additionally, the Whanganui District saw a record median price of $259,000.

However, the region continues to see low inventory numbers, with total inventory down 23% year-on-year and a 13.1% drop in new listings compared to one year ago. Attendance rates at open homes rose in early December but slowed closer to the Christmas break, which was to be expected. The New Year will most likely be stable, and we will see if the LVR changes will create more activity in the market."(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed decrease in median price was slightly more than expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was larger than expected. The current Days to Sell of 25 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 39 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 10 weeks, three weeks less than in December 2017.

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Regional Analysis - Wellington

“Demand continues to remain strong in the Wellington market, which is still struggling with low inventory numbers, which are now sitting at only 6 weeks. New listings dropped 23.6% year-on-year, leaving the total number of listed properties down 23% compared to last December. We now see that “mum and dad” investors are looking to invest in flats for university students instead of more traditional rental investment properties or flats.

The number of people attending open homes increased, which followed the upswing we noticed in investor numbers compared to November. Vendors are optimistic, and they have raised their pricing expectations following November’s record median price. We hope to see more listings in the New Year, as the demand doesn’t seem to be cooling down anytime soon."(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed small decrease in median price was a bit larger than expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was considerably greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 29 days is slightly less than the 10-year average for December of 31 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at six weeks, one week less than in December 2017. This is the second lowest (in terms of weeks) level of inventory of all the regions.

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Regional Analysis - Nelson/Marlborough

“The Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman market ended the year with another strong month including good demand across the price ranges, strong attendance at open homes and plenty of inquiries. However, the attendance rate did drop slightly towards the end of the month. However, the drop in listings was a bit unusual for this time of year with a 20.2% drop in new listings compared to December last year. However, this might be an effect of the market being very active throughout the year.

The overall interest remained high, but first home buyers and investor interest cooled, which was expected after the rush we experienced in November. With the holiday season well on its way, the influx of visitors to the region will see the market continue to be vibrant as the increase of people usually means more general interest and attendance at open homes.”(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed small decrease in median price was pretty much what was expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 34 days is more than the 10-year average for December which is 33 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14 weeks, half a week less than in December 2017.

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Regional Analysis - West Coast

“The West Coast market ended the year with some strong numbers as we saw an 18.4% year-on-year increase in the median house price to $219,000 and the highest number of properties sold in the month of December for 12 years. The median number of days to sell dropped a staggering 76 days from 152 days in December 2017 to 76 days in December 2018, though the median days to sell still remains the highest in the country.

While the West Coast market fluctuates significantly and can be very seasonal, there is currently an overall increase in interest in the region as a result of tourism in the area. It will be interesting to see the if this focus continues into the New Year."(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed large increase in median price was much larger than expected and the observed stability in sales count in contrast to the expected minute decrease. The current Days to Sell of 76 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 85 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 47 weeks, 37 weeks less than in December 2017.

 WC_dec2018

 

Regional Analysis - Canterbury

“We saw a confident and steady Canterbury market in December with an 4.6% increase in the median house price year-on-year, now at $455,000. Though some wet weather early in the month had a negative impact on the attendance rate at open homes, this quickly bounced up as the rain cleared and we even saw enquiries coming through after the last working day of the year. Most vendors have a realistic price expectation, however, those vendors with higher asking prices are seeing their properties stay on the market a little longer resulting in the median days to sell increasing by 7 days when compared to the same time last year.

The most interest is generated for properties that are listed under the $500,000 mark, which ties in with the upswing of first home buyer enquiry we noticed in December. However, they tend to continue to be slow to commit. Christchurch experienced busy auction rooms, with 84 properties selling under the hammer. Looking forward to the New Year, it is likely that we will see a wee burst for the first quarter across the board."(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed increase in median price was greater than expected and the observed huge decrease in sales count was much larger than expected. The current Days to Sell of 37 days is higher than the 10-year average for December which is 31 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 19 weeks, one week more than in December 2017.

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Regional Analysis - Otago

“Once again there was a lift in the median sale price which is now sitting at $445,000 up from $426,000 in November while the number of sales is down a little from last December. The listing inventory slipped to 251 which is to be expected with people not wanting to go to market in the last two weeks prior to Christmas. It is encouraging to see new listings coming to market as the year starts to replenish the stock. Buyers are still waiting right across the market from first homes to property well up the market.” Dunedin City. (REINZ)

“The Queenstown Lakes market was quite mixed during December with prices increasing in Wanaka but down in Queenstown/Wakatipu. However, volumes decreased across the district by 43.8% and Arrowtown saw the lowest level of sales for 10 months. The low inventory numbers levels are creating competition in the market, and we have noticed an increase in cash buyers. The upswing in attendance at open homes continued to increase, which is positive. January is traditionally a pretty quiet month as most people are still on holiday, so we will have to wait a bit to see how the market will continue once the holidays are over.” Queenstown. (REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed decrease in median price was greater than expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 29 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 33 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at eight weeks, four weeks less than in December 2017. 

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Regional Analysis - Southland

“The Southland market, which has seen a very active year did experience a slowdown in December as it had its lowest level of sales since April 2017. This is in part due to a 20.9% drop in new listings compared to one year ago. Investor inquiries increased slightly in part due to the LVR changes that were announced in November. We are seeing signs that the November and December slowdown will turn in the new year as the general inquiry remain in a positive spirit.

The median house price, which had a record month in November, fell back 9.1% and now sits at $250,000 which is closer to where it was in December 2017. However, Southland continues to be the region that has the lowest number of days to sell, staying at 23 which is a positive indicator going into 2019. Additionally, the REINZ House Price Index indicated the region achieved a new record high of 2741.”(REINZ)

The seasonally adjusted results tell us that, compared to what we expect when moving from November to December, the observed decrease in median price was greater than expected and the observed large decrease in sales count was also greater than expected. The current Days to Sell of 23 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 35 days. This is the region with the lowest median days to sell. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 16 weeks, two weeks less than in December 2017.

 

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