House Prices

Housing shortage pumps prices

Pressure is still being put on house prices, despite the Government introducing policies aimed at dampening the market and the country’s Covid lockdown.

Tuesday, August 31st 2021

Far fewer houses coming to the market can be blamed for some of the pressure.

REINZ data show the total number of properties available for sale dropped by 34.8% in July to 12,684 down from 19,441 in July last year – 6,757 fewer properties compared to 12 months ago.

This is the lowest level of inventory ever seen across the country – surpassing the previous record low set in December 2020 of 12,932.

Houses under $500,000 account for just 17.6% of the market, while houses over $1 million make up more than 30% of the market.

A year ago, those numbers were reversed, with nearly a third of houses in the lowest bracket.

Houses typically took around 30 days to sell, which is the fastest sales rate in 17 years.

For the fourth month in a row, only one region had an annual increase in inventory levels – Gisborne with a 20% rise from the same time last year – from 50 to 60 properties.

Regions with the largest percentage drop in total inventory levels were Northland -53.6% (from 1,013 to 470 – 543 fewer properties), Nelson -53.5% (from 357 to 166 – 191 fewer properties), Canterbury -48.6% (from 2,535 to 1,303 – 1,232 fewer properties), West Coast -47.3% (from 260 to 137 – 123 fewer properties) and Bay of Plenty -47.2% (from 1,281 to 676 – 605 fewer houses).

Days to sell

The number of days to sell a property nationally dropped three days from 34 to 31 when compared to July last year, the lowest for a July month since 2016.

For New Zealand, excluding Auckland, the median days to sell dropped by three days from 33 to 30, the lowest for a July month since 2004.

In Auckland the median number of days to sell a property also dropped by three days from 35 to 32 – the lowest for a July month since 2016.

Properties in Tasman have sold at the fastest rate of any region in New Zealand, taking a median of 25 days – the fastest in a July month since 2003.

On the West Coast properties took a median 31 days to sell – the fastest in a July month since 1994.

Selling in Northland took a median of 43 days – the only region where it took more than 40 days.

Auction record

Despite the lockdown auctions are still going ahead online and show only a slight dip in the number of houses sold.

Property viewings and auctions can only take place online but this is not putting people off.

REINZ says the number of inquiries for property listings have surged and were stronger this lockdown than in the level four lockdown last year.

The strength in the market is expected to continue after the level four lockdown finishes and confidence is high among buyers.

Before the lockdown auction rooms were humming along without the usual winter slowdown.

More than a quarter of all properties were sold by auction in July (26.5%) up from 13.5% in July last year.

This is the highest percentage of auctions for a July month since records began.

“Auctions continue to be a popular method of sale across many parts of the country as it provides a good way of finding the value of a property when the market is moving quickly, which has been the case for some time now,” says REINZ chief executive Jen Baird.

“From a buyer’s perspective, auctions provide complete transparency in terms of pricing and understanding where other bidders see value.”

New Zealand excluding Auckland had 18.2% of properties sold by auction, up from 7.3% in July last year – the highest percentage of auctions for a July month since records began.

Gisborne had the highest percentage of auctions across the country with 53.4% of properties selling under the hammer (31) up from 47.1% (16) at the same time last year.

This was the highest percentage for a July month since records began.

Auckland had the second highest percentage of auctions in New Zealand with 40.4% (1,086) properties sold under the hammer in July up from 25.9% in July 2020 (701 properties).

This was the highest percentage of auction sales in a July month since 2016.

Bay of Plenty was in third place with 35.1% (155) properties sold by auction – up from 17.3% (95) in July last year.

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