House Prices

Market transferring in buyers’ favour

Wellington switched to a buyers’ market last month, while Auckland might soon follow.according to the Real Estate Institue.

Thursday, April 07th 2022

Realestate.co.nz, says its latest data highlighted some potential market shifts last month.

For example, Wellington properties are taking longer to sell than they have, on average, over the past 15 years and the rate of sale also appears to have slowed in Auckland.

“This could signal a future market shift led by the main centres, says realestate spokeswoman Vanessa Williams. 

Year-on-year, total stock levels were up 32% nationally, and in most regions during March. “This is a telling sign there are more properties on the market for buyers to pursue,” says Williams.

However, new listings added to the property search site last month were down in 10 of 19 regions compared to the previous year. The data suggests that fewer vendors decided to list when compared with March last year perhaps in the face of Covid-19 and inflation uncertainty, she says.

Despite a drop in the number of new listings last month, demand didn’t dwindle. Latest user data shows a record 1.4 million Kiwis browsed for property on realestate.co.nz during March with 45–54-year-olds the most active property seekers on the site.

Buyers’ market for Wellington

When inventory is higher than the 15-year long-term average, it shows there is more stock than people buying property,” says Williams. 

“Theoretically, if no new listings came on to the Wellington region market and all existing stock was sold, there would be no houses available to buy in 17 weeks which is longer than the long-term average 15 weeks.

According to realestate.co.nz’s seasonally adjusted data, the last time Wellington was a buyers’ market was almost eight years ago in June 2014.

Williams says it is, however, important to distinguish between what the data considers a buyers' market and what most people understand the term to mean.

“Most people assume a buyers' market means that purchasers hold most of the power in a negotiation. However, when it comes to the data, it is about how quickly properties are selling.

“It is a good indication of where the market is heading, with a slowdown in sales typically being good news for buyers. But the average asking price in the region is still more than $1 million – up 16.9% on the same month last year,” says Williams.

She says demand in the Wellington region remained high last month, with Waikanae, Karori, Eastbourne, Wellington Central and Otaki the top suburbs searched by users.

Auckland inventory shift

Meanwhile, a shift in turnover rates in Auckland could signal a buyers' market is on the way. Last month the gap close between the current sales rate of 20 weeks and the long-term average of 22 weeks to ‘sell out’ all homes on the market.

“A buyers' market hasn’t been seen in Auckland since June 2020, so this is something to watch over the next few months,” says Williams.

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