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Regional Commentary and Property Market Statistics - December 2020

Market Statistics

Property Brokers 16 Jan 2021

REINZ stats_December2020The number of residential properties sold in December 2020 across New Zealand increased by 36.6% from December 2019 (from 6,543 to 8,935) – the highest number of properties sold in a December month ever, according to the latest data from the Real Estate institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold increased by 24.2% when compared to the
same time last year (from 4,604 to 5,716).

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says:“If 2020 taught us anything, it was that the unusual can happen. Looking at December’s sales data again proves this point, as we saw the highest number of properties sold in a December month since REINZ began keeping records."

“November saw more than half (10 out of 16) of the regions across the country with double-digit percentage increases in annual sales volumes showing how buoyant the market is. Part of this is likely to be attributed to people wanting to purchase property ahead of Christmas, partly due to the Reserve Bank announcing in early November that it would undertake a consultation in December to re-introduce LVRs earlier than planned, but also due to this underlying fear that prices might increase even further in the coming months,” continues Norwell.

“December 2020 saw 8,935 properties sold which is 2,392 more houses than the same time last year. That’s an additional 77 properties sold every single day in December, which is a pretty remarkable result and shows what a strong position the property market finished 2020 in,” continues Norwell.

Regions with the largest increase in annual sales volumes during December were:
•West Coast: +55.3% (from 38 to 59 – 21 more houses) – the highest for the month of December in 14 years
• Canterbury: +45.6% (from 934 to 1,360 – 426 more houses) – the highest for the month of December since records
began
• Waikato: +39.5% (from 641 to 894 – 253 more houses) – the highest for the month of December in 16 years
• Gisborne: +31.3% (from 48 to 63 – 15 more houses)
• Taranaki: +29.2% (from 144 to 186 – 42 more houses)

Regional Analysis - Auckland

“Auckland saw another record median house price in December 2020 of $1,040,000, the fifth consecutive month of record prices, up 17.4% year-on-year from $886,000 in December 2019. Five of Auckland’s seven districts also reached record median house prices, including Auckland City ($1,280,000), North Shore City ($1,235,000), Papakura District ($813,044), Rodney District ($1,005,000) and Waitakere City ($951,600). Inquiry levels and open homes remained busy in December, particularly compared to a regular December month where things usually quieten down, particularly as we get closer to Christmas. Sales volumes for Auckland region increased 66.0% year-on-year to 3,219, the highest for a December month since records began. While interest rates remain low, we expect this level of activity to continue. 46.6% of all properties sold, were sold by auction in December, the highest percentage of sale by auction since August 2016.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 29 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 32 days. There were 9 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 8 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Northland

“Northland reached a record median house price in December 2020 of $675,000, up 25.2% year-on-year from $539,000 in December 2019. Far North District and Whangarei District also reached record median house prices of $680,000 and $660,000 respectively in December 2020. The market has remained busy in December with sales volumes increasing 28.1% year-on-year from 210 in December 2019 to 269 in December 2020 – the highest sales count for a December month in 17 years. Investors are active in the market, both local and out of town, as competition at auctions is strong. Stock is slow to come to the market with new listings down -5.4% to 330, resulting in the lowest level of inventory for the region since records began, although ironically, Northland has 17 weeks of available inventory, which is one of the longest across the country. Access to finance continues to be a struggle for buyers as pre-approvals have become more difficult to secure from the main banks.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 37 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 48 days. There were 17 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 26 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Waikato

“The Waikato region reached a record median price of $675,000 in December 2020, the eighth consecutive month of new or equal record median prices, up 17.4% year-on-year from $575,000 in December 2019. This was the result of double-digit percentage price increased in all districts bar Matamata-Piako and Otorohanga. Additionally, the increasing value of properties is shown by a 14.7% year-on-year increase in HPI to a record high 3,616. Waikato had the highest sales count for a December month in 16 years, reaching 894, up 39.5% from the same time last year (641). Listings were up 36.3% in December with 537 properties coming to the market, however, with the high levels of sales volumes, overall inventory for the region was down -40.0% year-on-year to 789, the lowest level of inventory since records began. Accessing finance has been difficult for some purchasers, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, however, we are hoping this will improve in the New Year.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 24 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 37 days. There were 7 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 6 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Bay of Plenty

“The Bay of Plenty region saw median house prices increase 13.4% year-on-year from $635,000 in December 2019 to $720,000 in December 2020, buoyed by strong prices being achieved in all districts bar Kawerau and Opotiki. Sales volumes for the region were up 15.2% from the same time last year. Increased sales volumes, combined with a -0.6% decrease in new listings for the region in December has resulted in a -45.7% decrease in inventory to 858, the lowest level of inventory since records began. Demand has remained strong and supply has become tighter, increasing competition for each property. Days to sell reached a record low in December at 27 days, down from 37 days at the same time last year. 34.2% of all properties sold in December were sold by auction (202), up from 13.1% of all properties sold in December 2019 (67). Access to finance continues to be a barrier for some buyers, with reports that it is taking up to two weeks for an appointment to get a mortgage.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 42 days. There were 5 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 8 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Gisborne

“The Gisborne region saw median house prices reach $590,000 in December 2020, up 43.9% year-on-year and a new record for the region. Sales volumes increased 31.1% year-on-year, from 48 properties sold in December 2019 to 63 properties sold in December 2020. First time buyers are still active in the market trying to secure a property, however, saving for a deposit and accessing finance has continued to be a barrier for some purchasers. Investors are still active but are becoming a lot more particular with the properties they buy, as the new regulations approach. Auction remains a popular method of sale, with 68.3% of all properties sold by auction in December 2020, up from 50.0% in December 2019. Properties sold in the $500,000 plus bracket have increased from 22.9% of the market in December 2019 to 81.0% of the market in December 2020. The REINZ HPI showed house values in Gisborne increased by nearly a quarter (24.8%) when compared to the same time last year – the highest in the country.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 29 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 34 days. There are 9 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 4 weeks more than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Hawke's Bay

“The Hawke’s Bay region reached a record median house price of $662,000 in December 2020, up 27.3% year-on-year from $520,000 in December 2019. Sales volumes for the region increased 16.8% year-on-year to 250, up from 214 in December 2019, the highest for a December month in 16 years. Normally we would expect a slowdown in the lead up to Christmas, however, this year has been an anomaly with activity levels remaining strong. New listings were down -20.1% from the same time last year, with 183 properties coming to the market in December 2020. High sales volumes and low levels of new listings have resulted in a -45.3% decrease in inventory – the lowest level for the region since records began. We would hope to see an uplift in new listings in the New Year.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 24 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 36 days. There were 5 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 2 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Taranaki

“Taranaki reached a record median house price in December 2020 of $500,000 up 19.6% from $418,000 at the same time last year. Five of the last six months of 2020 saw Taranaki achieve record median house prices showing the strength of the property market in the region. This is further supported by the 18.1% year-on-year increase in house price index, displaying the increasing value of properties in the region. New Plymouth District and Stratford District also reached record median house prices in December 2020 of $593,500 and $407,000 respectively. Sales volumes for the Taranaki region increased 29.2% year-on-year to 186, the highest level of sales for a December month in 14 years. Demand is still strong for good properties, with most properties receiving multiple offers. Days to sell reached an all time low of 20 days, down from 27 days at the same time last year.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 20 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 33 days. There were 9 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 5 weeks less than the same time last year

 

Regional Analysis - Manawatu/Whanganui

“The Manawatu/Wanganui region reached a record median price for the sixth consecutive month in December, up 31.3% year-on-year from $402,000 in December 2019 to $528,000 in December 2020. Sales volumes increased 13.4% in December 2020 from the same time last year, for an unusually busy December. New listings decreased -3.4% from the same time last year, with 338 new properties coming to the market in December. The strong level of sales combined with the low level of new listings has resulted in a -48.3% decrease in inventory, the lowest level of inventory for the region since records began. Days to sell decreased 6 days from the same time last year to 21 days, a record low number of days to sell, further demonstrating the demand and competition to secure a property. Further evidence of the strong market is the fact that the region saw the highest level of auctions in four years and that it had the third highest growth in the REINZ House Price Index.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 21 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 33 days. There were 5 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 4 weeks less than the same time last year

 

Regional Analysis - Wellington

“Wellington reached a record median sales price of $812,251 in December 2020, up 18.6% year-on-year from $685,000 in December 2019. The REINZ HPI showed the strength in the market, with the second highest increase in house values in the country with a 20.5% uplift year-on-year. The lead into Christmas continued at the same pace we had seen for the last few months, with sales volumes increasing 7.9% year-on-year with 745 properties sold in December 2019 to 804 properties sold in December 2020. New listings also increased 32.8% from the same time last year, with 340 new properties coming to the market in December 2020. However, this has not been enough to offset the demand for good properties, leaving inventory down -39.4% with only 4 weeks of available stock – the lowest any region has ever experienced on record. This lack of demand is likely to place increasing pressure on house prices as we head into the New Year. Properties are continuing to sell quickly as the median days to sell was down 2 days from the same time last year to 25 days, the lowest days to sell for a December month in 14 years. Auctions became an increasingly popular method of sale in December 2020 with 9.3% of all sales made by auction, compared to 4.7% in December 2019 – this is the highest percentage of sales by auction since December 2016.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 25 days is less than the 10-year average for December of 29 days. There were 4 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 2 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

 

Regional Analysis - Nelson/Marlborough

“Median house prices increased annually in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions, up 12.7%, 18.8% and 11.5% respectively, with Nelson reaching a record median house price of $682,000 in December 2020 up from $605,000 in December 2019. Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman were the only regions across the country where sales volumes decreased year-on-year as stock levels continue to put pressure on the market. As a result, inventory has reached its lowest point for the regions on record. The majority of purchasers are locals looking to purchase a new home, but with a shortage of stock, properties are going for higher than anticipated prices particularly with many properties seeing multi-offers.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 23 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 31 days. There were 6 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 7 weeks less than the same time last year

 

Regional Analysis - West Coast

“The West Coast region reached a record high median house price in December 2020, up 31.9% year-on-year from $216,000 in December 2019 to $285,000 in December 2020. Demand for good properties in the region has remained strong with a 55.3% increase in sales volume yearon-year (59 properties sold in December 2020, up from 38 properties sold in December 2019). Many of these properties are being sold to retirees relocating to the West Coast region from urban areas, as has been the trend throughout 2020. Listings increased 38.7% from the same time last year with 86 new properties coming to the market in December. This has not been enough to relieve pressure on the market with the West Coast experiencing the lowest level of inventory since records began, now sitting on 17 weeks down from 59 weeks at the same time last year. The West Coast region saw its first sale by auction since November 2017.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 42 days is much less than the 10-year average for December which is 81 days. There were 17 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 42 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Canterbury

“Canterbury reached a record high median house price in ecember 2020 of $536,000, up 16.5% year-on-year from $460,000 in December 2019 – this is the fifth consecutive month of record median house prices for the region. Attendance at open homes did not slow in December as would normally be expected in the lead up to Christmas, with a resulting 45.6% uplift in sales volumes from December 2019 (1,360 properties sold in December 2020 compared to 934 properties sold in December 2019). This was the highest number of properties sold in a December month ever. More properties are going to auction, so buyers are getting their finance sorted early where possible, although this is still proving to be difficult for some. Auctions increased from 11.9% of all sales in December 2019 to 24.1% of all sales in December 2020, this is the highest percentage of sales by auction for the region since records began. The upward pressure on prices is likely to continue as inventory decreased -36.6% year-on-year to the lowest level on record.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 30 days. There were 8 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 9 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Otago

“The Queenstown Lakes District saw median house prices increase 8.2% year-on-year to $1,050,000 in December 2020, up from $970,000 in December 2019. Investors and owner-occupiers continue to be a leading force in the market partially as a result of low interest rates, as first home buyers are finding it more difficult to save for a deposit and access finance. Properties continue to sell quickly with days to sell down 8 days annually from 45 days in December 2019 to 37 days in December 2020.” (REINZ)

“Median house prices in Dunedin increased 18.8% annually to $585,000 in December 2020 from $492,500 in December 2019. The market did not slow down in December with first home buyers remaining active, so they don’t miss out, and investors keen to secure property before a mandated return of any LVRs. Sales volumes increased 20.2% year-on-year with 232 properties sold in December 2020, up from 193 properties sold in December 2019. Listings have started to increase in Dunedin City as the market shows no signs of slowing down.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 31 days. There were 8 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 9 weeks less than the same time last year.

 

Regional Analysis - Southland

“Median house prices increased 13.6% year-on-year to $375,000 in December 2020, up from $330,000 in December 2019. The strength of the market locally saw Southland with the highest increase in house price values for the South Island with a 15.7% increase in the HPI yearon-year. The market has remained relatively steady over the last few months with sales volumes increasing 25.5% year-on-year from 157 in December 2019 to 197 in December 2020 – this is the highest sales count for a December month in 14 years. Listings increased 23.2% annually with 170 new properties coming to the market in December, however recent high sales volumes have resulted in inventory decreasing -19.7% year-on-year to the lowest level on record. Looking forward, we would expect to see the market continue in a similar manner in the coming months.” (REINZ)

The current Days to Sell of 22 days is less than the 10-year average for December which is 32 days. There were 8 weeks of inventory in December 2020 which is 2 weeks less than the same time last year.