Green shoots appearing in housing market

Green shoots are showing in the housing market across the country as confidence begins to bounce back.

Thursday, October 12th 2023

The latest REINZ House Price Index shows more activity last month with prices stabilising, sales counts rising and properties selling in fewer days.

Sales were 5.1% higher in September compared to this time last year from 5,174 to 5,439, year-on-year, and up 5.6% for New Zealand, excluding Auckland, increasing from 3,474 to 3,669 year-on-year.

Marlborough had the highest increase in sales, up by 66.7% year-on-year. Other regions with increases were Northland (1.8%), Auckland (4.1%), Bay of Plenty (2.8%), Hawke’s Bay (3%), Manawatu/Whanganui (22.6%) Taranaki (16.2%), Tasman (16.4%), Canterbury (13.9%) and Southland (10.7%).”

Nationally there was a 2.3% increase in the median sale price rising to $785,000 from $767,500 month-on-month but declining year-on-year by 3.1%. Median sale prices have increased in all but three regions month-on-month, with the West Coast (+16.4%), Marlborough (+13.8%) and Otago (+9.3%) leading the way.”

At the end last month, the total number of properties for sale across New Zealand was 23,564, down 9.0% (2,339 properties) from 25,903 year-on-year. However, the number rose by 3.6% month-on-month as expected heading into the busier months of the market cycle. New Zealand, excluding Auckland, inventory was down year-on-year from 15,744 to 14,690, a drop of 1,054 properties or 6.7%, but increased by 4.2% month-on-month.

The national median days to sell reduced by seven days year-on-year from 47 to 40 days, and three days month-on-month from 43 to 40 days. For a third month (49 July, 43 August and 40 in September), available inventory is now moving quicker.

Ten regions had a drop in the median days to sell compared to September last year, with the biggest decline occurring in Wellington, which dropped 22 days from 56 days to 34 days.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird says the numbers show the expected upturn in the market post winter but after many months of a much weaker market, there seems to be stronger signals in growing activity from both buyers and sellers.

Nationally, new listings dropped by 0.9% from 7,881 listings to 7,812 year-on-year and increased 4.9% month-on-month compared to August. For New Zealand, excluding Auckland, listings dropped 4.7% year-on-year from 5,201 to 4,954 and increased 8.9% month-on-month.

Only four regions had a negative month-on-month shift in listings. “Listings and the median days to sell are key areas to watch as they can indicate a shift in the property market cycle. Local agents continue to report an increase in activity, enquiry, and bigger numbers at open homes,” Baird says.

Auctions coming back, she says. “Nationally auctions comprised 15.3% of the total sales last month, compared to 14% in August  and 11.4% compared to September last year.”

“The public want to know what is happening now, should they sell, should they buy, or what are prices doing. We’re past the traditionally quiet winter months, and the market is turning. Certainty is returning for some who are seeing the low point of the market cycle behind them and are acting.”

Baird says with another OCR announcement coming at the end of November, there will be some who still hold off, but we are seeing more buyers and sellers decide now is the time for them to be in the market. Agents are also reporting that the pipeline for new listings is looking healthy.”

The HPI for New Zealand stood at 3,614 last month, showing a 0.7% increase compared to the previous month. However, when compared to the same period last year, the HPI reflects a 3.3% decline. The average annual growth in the New Zealand HPI over the past five years has been 5.7% per annum and it now sits 15.5% below the peak.


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