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Regional Commentary and Property Market Statistics - February 2020

Market Statistics

Property Brokers 16 Mar 2020

PB030482 - Regional Commentary & Property market StatisticsThe number of properties sold in February across New Zealand increased by 9.2% from the same time last year (from 6,132 to 6,694) making it the highest number of properties sold in the month of February in 4 years.

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold decreased by a marginal -0.3% when compared to the same time last year (from 4,742 to 4,726) – 16 fewer properties.

 

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “February was a very buoyant month from a price perspective with
median price rises the largest the country has seen in 53 months and record median prices for New Zealand, New
Zealand excluding Auckland and 7 regions around the country.

 

“For two months in a row now we’ve seen every region in the country experience annual median price increases,
showing a continuation of the price growth we started to see just before Christmas. With strong demand across
the country it’s highly likely we’ll see these price rises continue in March unless the economy takes a sudden hit
from COVID-19,” she continues.

 

Regions with the largest decrease in annual sales volumes during February were:
• Nelson: -24.2% (from 99 to 75 – 24 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of February in 6 years
• Taranaki: -20.7% (from 193 to 153 – 40 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of February in 5 years
• Southland: -17.9% (from 184 to 151 – 33 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of February in 5 years
• West Coast: -13.0% (from 46 to 40 – 6 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of February in 3 years.

 

Regions outside Auckland with the highest percentage increase in annual sales volumes during January were:
• Gisborne: +35.7% (from to 56 to 76 – 20 more houses) – the strongest February in 15 years
• Tasman: +17.5% (from 63 to 74 – 11 more houses) – the highest for the month of February in 3 years
• Hawke’s Bay: +11.9% (from 235 to 263 – 28 more houses) – the highest for the month of February in 4 years
• Bay of Plenty: +11.7% (from 453 to 506 – 53 more houses) – the highest for the month of February in 4 years

Regional Analysis - Auckland

“Sales activity has picked up significantly in Auckland with a 41.6% increase in sales, the highest February sales count in 5 years. The median price also increased by 4.3% annually to $888,000. Interestingly, Auckland’s price growth has been more central rather than at Auckland’s extremities, Rodney and Franklin, were are the only 2 districts to see year-on-year drops of -0.6% and -2.3% respectively. The REINZ House Price Index recorded 3,035, the first time it crossed the 3,000 mark. North Shore City also reached a new record of $1,155,000, 26 months since its prior record. There has been a lot of positive activity and high energy with properties selling ahead of the
set sale date and interest at auctions increasing. The increase in the number of new listings (+5.8% year-on-year) has also likely contributed to the increase in activity. Towards the end of February there has been some apprehension around COVID-19 which has likely been the cause of a few instances of reduced numbers at open homes. Looking forward over the next few months, if we see a further reduction in the OCR by the Reserve Bank, this may encourage more investors into the market.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 39 days is less than the 10-year average for February which is 41 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 19 weeks, three weeks less than in February 2019.

Auckland 

Regional Analysis - Northland

“In February, the Northland market achieved a record median price of $560,000 and saw an increase in sales volumes (+2.8%) when compared to the same time last year. The Far North District also had the second highest annual increase in median price in the country, up 49.3%. The REINZ House Price Index also crossed the 3,000 mark for the first time, recording 3,009. Generally, the market has been busier with more investors in the market and more attendees at open homes. A good number of new listings have entered the market (+9.9% annually) especially in the latter part of February. However, there is still a lack of available listings particularly for first home buyers who are looking to use their KiwiSaver and HomeStart grants. The positive activity in Auckland is driving enquiry and sales in the Northland region. Expats are making a return to the market and over the next few months we expect to see an increase in the number of retirees and expats continuing to look to purchase in the region.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 60 days is less than the 10-year average for February which is 71 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 53 weeks, 22 weeks more than in February 2019.

Northland

Regional Analysis - Waikato

“The Waikato saw an annual median price increase of 10% reaching $583,250. Hamilton City ($644,000) and the Hauraki District ($460,000) also saw record median prices. Sales volumes were similar to last year with a slight 1.9% increase in 2020; however, new listings were down, particularly in the Coromandel where new listings decreased 21.5%, the largest decrease across all regions. In Hamilton, townhouses and multi-unit homes are becoming more popular as house prices rise, and people’s lifestyles change. Looking at the southern part of the Waikato, there has been similar numbers at open homes but slightly less first home buyers in the market due to the lack of affordable listings under $500,000. There has been a steady number of investors in the market who are using their equity while interest rates are low, giving them the confidence to take some risk. Overall with the increase in median prices, listing numbers down and interest rates still low, demand will continue to remain high.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 38 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 52 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 17 weeks, one week more than in February 2019.

 

Waikato

Regional Analysis - Bay of Plenty

“The Bay of Plenty market saw median price increases in all areas across the region with an overall increase of 14.1% to $670,000. Both the Rotorua District ($515,000) and Tauranga City ($735,000) saw record median prices. Additionally, the REINZ House Price Index reached 3,007, the first time it has crossed the 3,000 mark, one of four regions to do so this month. Sales increased from 453 in February 2019 to 506 in February 2020, the highest number of February sales in 4 years, reflecting the increased confidence in the market that we’ve seen for a few months now. There are more cash buyers in the market which means auction clearance rates are up and days to sell have dropped 11 days compared to this time last year. Many sale agreements are subject to conditions, but this hasn’t stopped properties selling quickly. In Rotorua, new listings are receiving a lot of interest with multi offers being presented and a subdivision that was recently released sold 70% under the hammer.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 44 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 62 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 12 weeks, one week less than in February 2019.

Bay of Plenty

 

Regional Analysis - Gisborne

“In February, Gisborne reached a new record median price of $450,000. Vendor expectations have increased as anticipated with the continued increase in median prices. Interestingly, Gisborne had the highest February sales count in 15 years recording 76 sales, up 35.7% year-on-year and up a significant 192.3% month-on-month. New listings were up 22.9%, the largest increase across all regions which is likely to have contributed to the increase in sales. Open homes were very busy this month with many more people looking to purchase in the region with only 50% of enquiries coming in from local buyers. Looking forward to the next few months, the Gisborne market is likely to remain tight unless more listings come onto the market.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 36 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 53 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 18 weeks, eight weeks more than in February 2019.

Gisborne

Regional Analysis - Hawke's Bay

“A 9.2% increase in median house prices saw the Hawke’s Bay region reach $516,000 compared to $472,500 in February 2019. Napier City saw a new record median price of $600,000. New listings increased 15.2% and sales volumes increased 11.9% compared to this time last year. Although listings have increased slightly, total inventory in the main cities of Napier and Hastings are low at 5-6 weeks. Buyers are still frustrated with sellers choosing not to enter the market out of fear that they can’t purchase another property. Overall, both investors and first home buyers are more prevalent compared to this time last year. ‘Subject to sale’ agreements are few and far between likely due to competition and multi offers. Over the next few months it is uncertain as to whether the COVID-19 will affect the ports, exports and tourism which the region heavily relies on.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 30 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 44 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 10 weeks, one week more than in February 2019.

Hawkes Bay

Regional Analysis - Taranaki

“The median price in the Taranaki region rose 8.4% from $380,000 in February 2019 to $412,000 in February 2020. Additionally, the New Plymouth District achieved a new record price of $525,000. New listings increased 3.3% year-on-year, but sales decreased 20.7%. The increase in properties has been well received, however, demand still outweighs supply with most properties in all price brackets receiving multiple offers. Banks are taking longer to process loan applications and they have tightened their lending criteria. Days to sell fell another 9 days compared to this time last year. Taranaki has had Days to Sell of under 30 days for 5 months in a row which is significant as no other region has had such a sustained period of fast selling sales. The lack of rentals in New Plymouth remains high especially with families looking for larger homes or those who have recently moved to the region. As we head into Autumn, the market should remain steady with plenty of busy open homes and activity across the region.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 25 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 49 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 16 weeks, the same as in February 2019.

Taranaki

Regional Analysis - Manawatu/Whanganui

“The Manawatu/Wanganui region experienced another record median price in February of $425,000, something we’ve seen for 3 consecutive months now. In particular, Whanganui District remains buoyant reaching a record median price of $345,000. The Manawatu District also saw a record median price of $520,000. Additionally, the REINZ House Price Index saw a new high of 3,582, up 21.5% annually, showing the continued strength of the region. The region has the lowest Days to Sell in the country and the lowest of all the months of February since records began in 1992. The previous lowest February Days to Sell for Manawatu-Wanganui was 29 days, achieved last year (February 2019) and in February 2005. There are fewer investment buyers in the market, and the number of investors has slowly been decreasing over the last year, likely due to the Healthy Homes Standards and RTA proposals. However, we may see investors re-enter the market in the next few months due to the low cost of borrowing and the low returns they are receiving from cash investments. The number of local listings has increased since the holiday period which is encouraging. Vendors are expecting premium prices for their homes, a result of the uplift in confidence we’ve seen for a number of months now. In most cases vendor price expectations are being achieved.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 24 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 48 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 9 weeks (the lowest of all regions), two weeks less than in February 2019.

Manawatu Whanganui

Regional Analysis - Wellington

“The Wellington market had a busier February from a quieter January, achieving a record median price of $716,000. Additionally, 4 out the 8 districts also saw record prices (Carterton District $550,000, Lower Hutt City $660,000, Upper Hutt City $643,000 and Masterton District $500,000). The price increase is likely due to the increase in the number of properties sold in the $500,000+ price range (+10.8%) and the continued shortage of listings. The REINZ House Price Index also reached a new high of 3,025, the first time the region has reached over 3,000 along with Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. Although sales volumes were down 4.9% annually, they increased significantly by 86.4% from last month. The rental market continues to be in high demand with many first home buyers looking to purchase their first home to avoid high rental costs. Now that the Transmission Gully is due to be opened soon, the reliable access and appeal of properties in Porirua, the Hutt, Kapiti Coast and the Lower North Island will continue to increase.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 30 days is less than the 10-year average for February of 37 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 12 weeks, four weeks more than in February 2019.

Wellington

Regional Analysis - Nelson/Marlborough

“The Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman regions all saw increases in the median price with Marlborough achieving a record of $531,250 (up 21.2% on last year) and Tasman achieving a record of $665,000. Despite the increase in annual sales in the Tasman region (+17.5%, the highest February count in 3 years), sales decreased in Marlborough and Nelson (-8.3% and -24.2% respectively), with Nelson seeing the lowest sales count in 5 months. Although new listings in the Marlborough region increased 7.4% compared to the same time last year, the region had the lowest inventory levels since records began in January 2007. Properties are selling quickly and with multi offers whilst some auctions are being brought forward before the auction date. There is a constant stream of first home buyers at open homes across the board, but they are still finding it competitive and hard to enter the market. The market remains active and the number of people interested in a property doesn’t drop off as it enters its second and third weeks of marketing. Moving forward as prices increase, we may see a drop off in investors and more interest from owner occupiers who are attracted to the lifestyle of the region.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 32 days is less than the 10-year average for February which is 41 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 15.5 weeks, the same as in February 2019.

Nelson Marlborough

Regional Analysis - West Coast

“In February, the West Coast achieved an annual price increase of 21.1% to $230,000 in part a result of the percentage of properties sold in the sub $250,000 price bracket falling by 26.3 percentage points and the number of properties sold in the $250,000 to $499,999 price bracket doubling. The number of new listings also increased by 22.5% compared to the same time last year, which is positive to see especially considering the low population base. Days to Sell decreased significantly on last year, dropping from 91 days in February 2019 to 54 days in February 2020 – the lowest days to sell for the month of February in 15 years! There are good numbers at open homes after reintroducing them in the last couple of months compared to last year where there weren’t many due to years of no shows. There are constant numbers of first home buyers and retirees, with very few families looking to buy at the moment. Buyers are spread across the market with options in all price brackets under $750,000 up and down the Coast. There has also been an increase in the number of cash buyers compared to last year, likely due to the quick turnover in the West Coast livestock feeder markets allowing purchasers to come to town with cash in hand.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 54 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 93 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 51 weeks, nine weeks more than in February 2019.

West Coast

Regional Analysis - Canterbury

“The Canterbury market remains steady, achieving another record median price of $474,000 a 4.2% annual increase. This was in line with the REINZ HPI for Canterbury which saw a 4.5% increase year-on-year. Additionally, the Mackenzie District saw a record median price of $630,000 and the Waimakariri District saw a record median price of $480,000. Although new listings decreased 7.5%, sales volumes were up 5.8% year-on-year, recording the highest February sales count in 4 years. Even though listings are down, there was a big surge in the number of new listings towards the end of February. First home buyers are a strong part of the Canterbury market with no signs of slowing down. A change in demographics is changing the type of investors who are also starting to look to invest in the region. Overall, the market is steady with lots of activity and many buyers who are looking to spend but are being sensible about prices.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 39 days is less than the 10-year average for February which is 42 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 18 weeks, the same as in February 2019.

Canterbury-2020

Regional Analysis - Otago

“In February, the Queenstown Lakes District saw a 17% increase in median prices to $1,030,000 when compared to the same time last year. The market remains steady; however, listings are highly sought after and the reduced number of new listings (-12% year-on-year) for the area is assisting to hold prices firm. Looking across the wider region, the Waitaki District achieved a new record price of $375,000. On the flipside, sales volumes for the Otago region are down 4.7% annually, the lowest February sales count in 8 years.” (REINZ)

 

“Prices in Dunedin City increased 23.8% year-on-year reaching $520,000. There continues to be a strong number of people attending open homes with first home buyers continuing to try to get on the property ladder, and investors are looking to take advantage of the low interest rates. Vendor expectations in terms of asking prices are keeping up with the latest sales. As we head into Autumn, we expect the market to remain relatively the same despite potential flow on effects of COVID 19 as we continue to have the same issues of supply and demand.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 30 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 42 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 20 weeks, 11 weeks more than in February 2019.

Otago

Regional Analysis - Southland

“The Southland market saw another steady month in February achieving a 12.3% increase in median prices, when compared to the same time last year, reaching $320,000. The strength of the region continues with the REINZ House Price Index achieving 3,435, up 22.9% annually, one of only two regions alongside the Manawatu-Wanganui region, to achieve an annual movement of over 20%. Although new listings increased 3.8%, sales volumes dropped 17.9% compared to this time last year. There continues to be strong demand for properties under $500,000, but then it slows down after that. Generally, the market has been busier this month compared to last month, with more people at open homes with a mix of first home buyers, owner occupiers and investors. There is still some uncertainty around whether the Tiwai Point smelter will close, which is likely to affect the region’s economy and property prices.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is much less than the 10-year average for February which is 43 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 20 weeks, nine weeks more than in February 2019.

Southland