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Regional Commentary and Property Market Statistics - March 2020

Market Statistics

Property Brokers 20 Apr 2020

PB030482 - Regional Commentary & Property market StatisticsThe number of properties sold in March across New Zealand decreased by -4.8% from the same time last year – from 7,213 to 6,866 – 347 fewer properties and the lowest number of properties sold in the month of March in 9 years.

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold decreased by -11.1% when compared to the same time last year (from 5,130 to 4,559) – 571 fewer properties.

 

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says:“The first quarter of the year has seen 2,000 fewer new listings come to the market than the same time last year, so when you take that into account, plus the impact of 6 days of lockdown because of the impact of COVID-19 then it’s understandable why the number of properties sold in March has fallen nearly 5%. This is backed up by REINZ’s seasonally adjusted sales volumes figures, which show based on what happened in February we would have expected a much bette result in March and this is likely the impact of the lockdown week on sales volumes."

 

“Interestingly, Auckland bucked the trend, with the highest annual uplift in sales volumes of all regions with
a 10.8% increase, thanks to big increases in the number of properties sold in North Shore City (+29.6%), Rodney
District (+20.5%) and Papakura District (+18.4%),” she continues.

 

“Right now, in the Alert Level 4 lockdown period, people are still able to list their property for sale, but
inspections can only be carried out online or via means such as virtual reality or ‘walk-through’ type tours. Going
forward, we expect people will take a bit of a ‘wait and see’ approach when it comes to listing their property
for sale. But for those who have decided after 4 weeks of being locked in their ‘bubble’ that they don’t like their
house anymore, they will be desperate for the chance to move, so there may be some great opportunities for
those wanting to buy and sell in the coming months,” continues Norwell.

 

Regions with the largest decrease in annual sales volumes during March were:
• West Coast: -48.1% (from 52 to 27 – 25 fewer houses) – the lowest number of properties sold for 35 months
• Southland: -24.8% (from 218 to 164 – 54 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of March in 7 years
• Nelson: -21.1% (from 90 to 71 – 19 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of March in 12 years
• Otago: -17.0% (from 424 to 352 – 72 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of March in 9 years
• Manawatu/Wanganui: -14.1% (from 418 to 359 – 59 fewer houses)
• Wellington: -12.7% (from 858 to 749 – 109 fewer houses) – the lowest for the month of March in 9 years
• Gisborne: -12.0% (from 50 to 44 – 6 fewer houses).

 

Regions outside Auckland with the highest percentage increase in annual sales volumes during March were:

  • Northland: +4.8% (from 188 to 197 – 9 more houses)
  • Marlborough: +9.6% (from 83 to 91 – 8 more houses)

Regional Analysis - Auckland

“Auckland experienced a significant increase on its previous record median price (set three years ago of $900,000) reaching a new record of $950,000 in March 2020. This is likely due to the increase in million-dollar plus properties (+9.6% year on year). Additionally, the REINZ House Price Index saw a new record high of 3,063, up 8.2% from the same time last year. Auckland City, Manukau City and Waitakere City also saw record median prices. Sales were also up 10.8% annually, the highest increase in sales across all regions and the highest March sales count since March 2018. There were good numbers at open homes (pre-lockdown), and many pre-auction offers during the month. There was still a strong number of first home buyers in the market and they have been more confident in the market than for some time with support from their families, coupled with lower interest rates, which provided some opportunity to get onto the property ladder. Low interest rates had also likely driven interest from investors who continued to be active in the market. In South Auckland, there were several builders looking for land to purchase. Overall, the market was positive and really starting to build momentum until we headed into the lockdown period. People are upbeat about coming out of lockdown over the next month and we should continue to see good levels of enquiry over the coming weeks.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 33 days is less than the 10-year average for March which is 34 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 16 weeks, 10 weeks less than in March 2019.

Auckland-2020 

Regional Analysis - Northland

“The Northland market achieved a record median price of $565,000 and saw a 4.8% increase in sales volumes compared to the same time last year. Additionally, the Far North District also achieved a record median price of $650,000. On the other hand, new listings were down 34.5%, the largest decrease across all regions. New listings were steady at the start of the month but then dramatically dropped off as we neared lockdown at the end of the month. Days to sell also increased 5 days from 47 days in March 2019 to 52 days in March 2020, the only region to experience an increase in days to sell. Generally, there were fewer people at open homes and less first home buyers in the market. The majority of sales in the Kerikeri area were above the $500,000 mark as vendors continue to hold onto their asking price in negotiations. There were more appraisals completed this month and we expect that may continue throughout the lockdown period. Looking forward, it will be interesting to see what happens post-lockdown, but we expect some investors and buyers to return to the market.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 52 days is less than the 10-year average for March which is 61 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 40 weeks, the same as in March 2019.

Northland

Regional Analysis - Waikato

“In March, Waikato reached a new record median price of $600,000 for the first time. Additionally, 6 of the 10 regions saw record median prices (Hauraki District - $508,500, Matamata-Piako District - $570,000, Otorohanga District - $410,000, South Waikato District - $349,000, Waipa District - $670,000 and Waitomo District - $335,000). This is likely due to the increase in the number of properties sold in the $500,000+ bracket which moved from 56.6% in March 2019 to 74.5% in March 2020 as well as the number of motivated buyers looking to buy in the region. Interestingly, the growth in the Waipa area continues to be strong, particularly in Cambridge, with a median price of $670,000 compared to Hamilton City which has recorded $625,000 this month. In Hamilton, houses in newer suburbs continue to be popular. Additionally, as the city attracted new companies and the economic growth strengthens, demand for houses in the region grew. There has been steady enquiry throughout the Thames-Coromandel District, with it only dropping off towards the end of March due to the lockdown.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 29 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 41 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14 weeks, five weeks less than in March 2019.

 

Waikato-2020

Regional Analysis - Bay of Plenty

“The Bay of Plenty region saw median prices increase by 13.7% but results were varied across the region with Whakatane seeing a 25.4% increase in median prices, yet Kawerau saw a fall of 1.6% annually. The number of houses sold in the sub $500,000 price bracket decreased from 35.1% in March 2019 to 23% in March 2020. Days to sell decreased 11 days compared to this time last year, reaching 33 days. The decrease in new listings (-5.5% annually) along with the demand for good quality properties amongst first home buyers and investors alike, is likely to be contributing to the decrease in the number of days it takes to sell a property. There were approximately 10% more investors in the market this month compared to the same time last year. The market was tracking steadily for most of March, with activity only falling off as we entered lockdown. Over the next 6-8 weeks it may be slow, but we expect it to pick up quite quickly afterwards.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 33 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 48 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 12 weeks, two weeks less than in March 2019.

BOP

 

Regional Analysis - Gisborne

“The Gisborne market continued to be active for most of March with a 1.3% increase in median price reaching $385,000 compared to March last year. The REINZ House Price Index for Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay also reached a new high of 3,195 showing the strength of the region. However, new listings have dropped with only 72 new listings coming onto the market in March. Additionally, the region had only 7 weeks of inventory available. There continued to be high demand for homes for first home buyers with approximately 30% more first home buyers in the market compared to this time last year. Investors also continued to be present which has increased competition and the large number of people attending open homes. Buyers tended to be at the expensive end of the market, with a very limited number of properties on the market in the sub $250,000 range. Looking forward to the next couple of weeks, with no ability to physically view properties, buyers will prepare but without an inspection banks may be unlikely to provide finance in some cases.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 29 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 40 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 7 weeks, four weeks less than in March 2019, and has the equal lowest weeks of inventory of all the regions.

Gisborne-2020

Regional Analysis - Hawke's Bay

“Hawke’s Bay saw a 10.8% increase in the median price reaching $543,000. Additionally, the Central Hawke’s Bay District achieved a record median price of $450,000. However, with new listings down 22.4% annually, the number of properties sold fell 6.1%. Demand across the region is still strong, but with only 8 weeks of inventory available, competition will likely continue. Activity in the market dropped off towards the end of March, with many deferred conditional sales and settlements occurring. However, during the first few days of lockdown there were a couple of sales to buyers who had already viewed properties. Vendors remain positive with listings ready to go once they can be dressed and photographed, and viewings can recommence.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 28 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 38 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 8 weeks, one week less than in March 2019.

Hawkes Bay-1

Regional Analysis - Taranaki

“March was a good month for the Taranaki region with a record median price of $425,000 as well as the number of new listings increasing by 10% annually, one of only three regions alongside Central Otago/Lakes and Wairarapa, to see an increase in the number of new listings. On the flipside, sales decreased from 185 sales in March 2019 to 172 sales in March 2020, the lowest March sales count in 10 years (March 2010). The number of sales fell towards the end of the month which is likely a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. There was a slight upswing in the number of first home buyers and investors in the market compared to this time last year. The buyers in the region were mostly locals buying permanent homes with approximately 5% looking to purchase a rental investment. Over the next month there is likely to still be a few enquiries, especially in relation to pre-lockdown sales.”(REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 23 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 38 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 17 weeks, the same as in March 2019.

Taranaki-2020

Regional Analysis - Manawatu/Whanganui

“The Manawatu/Wanganui region achieved a record median price of $431,250. Interestingly, 9 of the last 10 months have either been a record median price or equal record price for the region. Additionally, the Horowhenua and Whanganui Districts both saw record medians of $440,000 and $352,560 respectively. The REINZ House Price Index reached a new high of 3,661 up 22.9% annually, showing the continued strength and popularity of the region. Days to sell fell by 3 to 23 days compared to this time last year, the lowest equal days to sell alongside Taranaki across all regions. Attendance at open homes was very good, especially for newly listed properties. Attendance only dropped off towards the end of the month as we neared lockdown. There were slightly fewer first home buyers in the market possibly due to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on KiwiSaver funds. Approximately 90% of buyers in the region were locals with a small number of out of town buyers. Enquiries and communication is expected to continue throughout the lockdown period, ready for when things start to get back to normal.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 23 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 38 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 10 weeks, the same as in March 2019.

Manawatu

Regional Analysis - Wellington

“Across the Wellington region median prices climbed from $627,000 in March 2019 to $711,000 in March 2020. The South Wairarapa District saw a new record median price, hitting the $700,000 mark for the first time. South Wairarapa is increasingly becoming more popular which is likely to be contributing to the increase in property values and new listings (up 8.7% annually) in the area. Although new listings were down 20.8% annually in Wellington, they have increased in the Wairarapa area. Looking to the wider region many people continue to be attracted and interested in the value of Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt areas which generally have lower priced properties. Sales were down 12.7% (109 less sales than this time last year), the lowest March sales count in 9 years since March 2011. Over the next month or so we will start to see more agencies use virtual tools to assist with viewings until we are able to recommence open homes.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is less than the 10-year average for March of 30 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 7 weeks, one week less than in March 2019 and is the equal lowest weeks of inventory of all the regions.

Wellington-2020

Regional Analysis - Nelson/Marlborough

“Activity in the Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman market continued with all three regions seeing annual median house price increases, with Tasman achieving a new record median price of $670,000. The REINZ House Price Index for the region also saw a new record high of 2,527, up 8.1% annually. On the other hand, there were mixed results from the number of sales volumes. Marlborough saw an increase in sales of 9.6% compared to this time last year, one of only 3 regions across the country to see an annual increase. However, both Tasman and Nelson saw a drop in sales volumes with Nelson’s sales dropping 21.1% year-on-year, the lowest March sales count since March 2008. Interestingly, days to sell in Marlborough dropped significantly by 20 days from 46 days in March 2019 to just 26 days in March 2020. Overall, the region continues to be an attractive option for investors and first home buyers, however, activity started to drop off as we neared the lockdown period. The region will retain a positive presence in what unfolds post-lockdown as an attractive destination to live, work and do business.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 28 days is less than the 10-year average for March which is 34 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14.5 weeks, half a week less than in March 2019.

Nelson

Regional Analysis - West Coast

“The West Coast market experienced an increase in the median price compared to this time last year reaching $225,000 (+9.2%). Additionally, the Grey District saw a new record median price of $330,000, 18 months since it’s last record of $280,000 in September 2018. On the flipside, sales numbers were down annually by 48.1%, the lowest sales count since April 2017. There were slightly more first home buyers in the market this month compared to last year when there wasn’t very much happening because of high LVR’s. The low interest rates coupled with lower than average cost of living is attractive to first home buyers and retirees. Investors continue their interest in the region with the attractiveness of great returns. Confidence among vendors continues to improve who are asking more in asking prices. New listings were steady; however, they fell 11.3% year-onyear. Overall, the market was positive pre-lockdown with values remaining steady over the last few months, but were slowing as we entered the lockdown period.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 48 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 62 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 68 weeks, 32 weeks more than in March 2019.

West Coast-2020

Regional Analysis - Canterbury

“In March, the Canterbury region achieved another record median price of $490,000, just shy of the $500,000 mark. However, Christchurch City saw a new record median price hitting $500,000 for the first time. The number of sales in the $500,000+ price brackets increased from 40.5% in March 2019 to 48.5% in March 2020, which was likely to have been contributing to the increase in median price across the region. There were approximately 10% more cash buyers in the market compared to twelve months ago. The number of auctions in the region increased from 11.3% in March 2019 to 17.2% in March 2020. The increase in auctions in the local market meant more people were prepared with cash deposits. The lower interest rates are appealing to first home buyers, but with the recent events with COVID-19 and the effects it has had on some KiwiSaver funds prevented several first home buyers from purchasing. Over the next few months there may be an initial increase in activity once we come out of lockdown which may then taper off to prelockdown activity in the market.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 29 days is less than the 10-year average for March which is 33 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 16 weeks, four weeks less than in March 2019.

Canterbury-2021

Regional Analysis - Otago

“The Queenstown Lakes District saw an increase in the median price of 9.7% reaching $1,070,000 compared to the same time last year. Although sales volumes were down 40.4%, new listings were up 18.2% annually, the largest increase in new listings across all regions. New listings slowed towards the end of March and the market will be watching closely to see how many new listings come to the market after the lockdown period. The level of activity will be determined by buyer confidence, seller motivation and the overall economic position of the region.” (REINZ)

 

“Median prices in Dunedin City increased by 23.0% yearon-year to $540,000. Although sales were down 15.4% annually, there was good interest from investors in March likely due to the attractive interest rates. Credit continues to be tight, but there is still demand from plenty of buyers in the market. There were fewer attendees at open homes, especially as we moved towards lockdown. Given the current situation, very little new property is coming to the market. We expect to see a significant number of listings launch as soon as we leave lockdown. Buyer enquiry has still been strong during the lockdown period so we are optimistic that the market will be active again in coming months.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is much less than the 10-year average for March which is 33 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 12 weeks, three weeks more than in March 2019.

Otago-2020

Regional Analysis - Southland

“The Southland market continued to be buoyant and achieved a new record median house price of $374,580, which is a 28.2% year-on-year increase indicating how strong the market has performed over the last twelve months. Additionally, both the Gore District and Invercargill city saw record median prices of $369,000 and $370,000 respectively. Days to sell stayed the same at 27 days, compared to the same time last year, however, sales volumes dropped 24.8%, the lowest March sales count in 7 years. Some first home buyers have had issues with KiwiSaver balances dropping which affected borrowing. The low to middle price brackets have been steady with a slower market in the upper priced brackets. The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter uncertainty may well have slowed sales volumes of $500,000+ priced houses.” (REINZ)

 

The current Days to Sell of 27 days is less than the 10-year average for March which is 34 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 17 weeks, five weeks more than in March 2019.

Southland-2020