House Prices

Lift in sales but prices still declining

The winter chill has been taken off the housing market, the latest REINZ data show.

Tuesday, August 15th 2023

Nationally house sales lifted 1.6%, to 4,903 last month compared to last year and were up 10.8% in Auckland, but on a month-on-month basis sales were 15.6%.

At the same time, the median sale price dropped 4.9% year-on-year to $770,000 across the country. In Auckland it dropped below $1 million to $990,000.

Sales

Across the regions, sales were up year-on-year in Waikato by 9.4%, Bay of Plenty 13.7%, Nelson 3.9%, West Coast 31.0% and Canterbury 10.1%.

At the end of July, the total number of properties for sale was 23,090, down 12.4%, or 3,268 properties, from 26,358 year-on-year, and down 6.4% month-on-month.

Outside of Auckland sales were down year-on-year from 15,732 to 14,497, a decline of 1,235 properties or 7.8% annually.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird says while sales counts are up the number of listings is falling. “More competitive prices and a ‘get in now’ attitude is bringing more buyers out ahead of this year’s election,” she says.

Listings

New listings dropped by 17.6% year-on-year, from 7,470 listings in July last year to 6,156 last month, and a 1% decline compared to June from 6,218. New Zealand, excluding Auckland, listings dropped 19.5% year-on-year from 4,778 to 3,847.

“The looming election and ongoing tighter economic conditions are seeing sellers holding back,” Baird says.

Prices

While the median sale price dropped it also took a tumble in the regions year-on-year, with Waikato down 8.9%, Bay of Plenty, down 7%, and Wellington, down 8.9%. It has not been all bad news though for three regions. Prices were up in Marlborough, by 0.3%, Southland, 1.2% and Central Otago, up 4.6%.

The national median days to sell remained relatively stable at 48 days. West Coast had the shortest median days to sell at 28, while Tasman had the longest at 80.

Impacts

Baird says the ongoing impact of government policies, economic conditions, and global factors will continue to shape the New Zealand housing market. “We also tend to see a slowing in activity in the lead-up to a general election, but with buyer activity rising and lower levels of supply coming to market, we may see stronger demand appear in the coming months.”

While there was a slight increase in the House Price Index (HPI) compared to June, the market continues to face challenges with a decline in value over the past year.

The HPI stood at 3,551, showing a 0.7% rise compared to June. However, when compared to the same period last year, the HPI reflects a 6.9% decline.

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