Low number of new listings impacts sales volumes in August

 
Aerial view of houses in suburb

The number of residential properties sold across New Zealand in August decreased by -6.1% from the same time last year to 5,959 (down from 6,346), the lowest level of sales for 7 months, according to the latest data from REINZ.

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold decreased by -6.9% when compared to the same time last year (to 4,198 down from 4,509).

In Auckland, the number of properties sold in August decreased by -4.1% year-on-year (to 1,761 down from 1,837) the lowest in 4 months.

Regions with the greatest decrease in annual sales volumes during August were:

  • Southland: -33.2% (from 187 to 125 – 62 fewer houses)

  • Hawke’s Bay: -18.4% (from 223 to 182 – 41 fewer houses) – the lowest number of sales in 19 months

  • Taranaki: -16.6% (from 187 to 156 – 31 fewer houses).

Regions with the greatest increase in annual sales volumes during August were:

  • Tasman: +12.3% (from 57 to 64 – 7 more houses) – the highest for the month of August in 3 years

  • Bay of Plenty: +7.7% (from 441 to 475 – 34 more houses) – the highest for the month of August in 3 years

  • Nelson: +2.9% (from 68 to 70 – 2 more houses) – the highest for the month of August in 3 years.

Bindi Norwell, REINZ Chief Executive says: “Despite a good uplift in sales during July, August saw sales volumes fall by -6.1% from the same time last year – the lowest level of sales for 7 months. This was a bit of a surprise given the strength of July’s figures, however, an extremely wet August across most parts of the country and the past three months having the lowest number of new listings of any consecutive three months since records began in 2007 look to have been contributing factors.

“Additionally, we’ve had 3,624 fewer new listings than at the same time last year. With limited choice in many parts of the country in terms of new listings, we’re hearing from a number of agents that people are waiting to purchase before they put their own property on the market, which is slowing the whole market down. Hopefully as confidence starts to improve over the coming months, we’ll start to see this flow through to new listings which leads to more choice for buyers,” continues Norwell.

“Sales volumes for the Auckland region fell by -4.1% when compared to August 2018, but breaking this down showed volumes actually only fell in Auckland City (-14.0%), North Shore City (-13.0%) and Manukau City (-5.4%). Whereas they increased by 43.0% in Papakura District, 16.2% in Franklin District, 13.8% in Rodney District and 0.4% in Waitakere City showing how mixed the Auckland region is,” continues Norwell.

House prices continue to rise & 4 regions see new record median prices

Median house prices across New Zealand increased by 5.5% in August to $580,000, up from $550,000 in August 2018. These results are in line with the REINZ House Price Index (HPI) which saw property values increase 2.9% annually.

Median price increases for New Zealand excluding Auckland were even stronger, increasing by 9.5% to new record high of $498,000, up from $455,000 in August last year.

Median house prices in Auckland fell by -3.5% to $820,000 – down from $850,000 at the same time last year.

Record median prices were recorded in:

  • Southland with a 29.2% increase to $310,000 up from $240,000 at the same time last year

  • Manawatu/Wanganui with a 25.6% increase to $390,000 up from $310,500 at the same time last year

  • Hawke’s Bay with a 12.4% increase to $500,000 up from $445,000 at the same time last year

  • Northland with a 10.8% increase to $507,500 up from $458,000 at the same time last year.

The only regions outside of Auckland with annual decreases in median price during August were:

  • West Coast: -6.1% to $215,000 down from $229,000 – ironically this was the highest median price though in 8 months

  • Marlborough: -1.1% to $435,000 down from $440,000.

“Median house prices across the country continue to increase with a 5.5% lift across the country to $580,000. Regionally, 12 out of 16 regions saw an increase in median prices since the same time last year, and 8 of those regions saw double-digit growth,” says Norwell.

“Southland, Manawatu/Wanganui and Hawke’s Bay all achieved record median prices during August reflecting the strong median price growth for a number of months now. This price growth shows no sign of slowing down – especially as there is limited stock for buyers to choose from,” says Norwell.

“Northland also saw a record median price in August, and this was influenced by particularly strong growth in the Whangarei District where prices increased 12.4% annually to $515,000,” points out Norwell.

“Looking at the Auckland region, prices fell overall by -3.5% which can partly be attributed to a fall in the number of million-dollar plus properties (from 34.8% to 31.7%). Breaking the region down, median prices fell by -10.5% year-on-year in Manukau City to $770,000 the lowest price for the area for 19 months. However, on the flip side, prices on the North Shore increased on an annual basis by 8.6% to $999,000 the highest price in 5 months,” continues Norwell.

REINZ House Price Index (HPI) reaches new record high

The REINZ House Price Index for New Zealand, which measures the changing value of property in the market, increased 2.9% year-on-year to 2,797 – a new record high.

The HPI for New Zealand excluding Auckland increased 6.8% from August 2018 to 2,779 another new record high. The Auckland HPI decreased -1.5% year-on-year to 2,819, however it was up 1.0% on July 2018 - the second consecutive monthly increase and the highest HPI result for 5 months.

In August, Southland had the highest annual growth rate with a 15.2% increase to 3,066, a new record high. In second place was Manawatu/Wanganui with an annual growth of 13.6% and in third place was Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay with a 13.2% annual increase to a new record high of 2,882.

In August, 9 out of 12 regions reached record high HPI levels. The only exceptions were Auckland (down -3.1% from its peak), Manawatu/Wanganui (down -0.3% from its peak), and Canterbury (down -0.6% from its peak). These record levels show the strength of the properties in the market.

In August, the REINZ HPI saw 11 out of 12 regions experience an annual increase in their index level, Auckland was the only region to experience a decrease.

Days to Sell increases YOY but falls MOM

In August the median number of days to sell a property nationally increased by 2 days from 37 to 39 when compared to August last year. However, this was down 1 day on last month’s figure of 40 days.

For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the median days to sell increased by 2 days from 35 to 37. Auckland also saw the median number of days to sell a property increase by 2 days from 42 to 44 when compared to the same time last year.

Manawatu/Wanganui had the lowest days to sell of all the regions at 28 days, up 1 day from the same time last year, and the only region below 30 days. West Coast again has the highest days to sell of any region at 94 days, up 44 days on August last year – the highest for 18 months. Northland again had the second highest median days to sell across the country at 76 days – up 27 days on the same time last year – the highest since July 2014.

Auctions

Auctions were used in 10.9% of all sales across the country in August, with 647 properties selling under the hammer – this is down from the same time last year, when 12.2% of properties (772) were sold via auction, but up on July 2019 when 8.6% (540) of all sales were via auction.

Gisborne again had the highest percentage of sales by auction across the country with 31.5% (or 17 properties) in the region sold under the hammer – down from 38.6% (22 properties) in August 2018.

Auckland saw the second largest percentage of sales by auction on 18.8% (331 properties) down from 22.0% in August 2018 (404 properties). Bay of Plenty remained in its usual third place in August with 13.3% (63 properties) sold under the hammer, down from 16.1% (71 properties) in August 2018.

Inventory

The total number of properties available for sale nationally decreased by -2.3% in August 2019 to 20,712 down from 21,207 to – a decrease of 495 properties compared to 12 months ago.

August saw 6 of 15 regions with an annual increase in inventory levels. Regions with the largest percentage increases were:

  • Northland: +12.1% from 1,176 to 1,318 – an additional 142 properties

  • Otago: +6.7% from 430 to 459 – an additional 29 properties

  • Marlborough: +3.7% from 245 to 254 – an additional 9 properties.

9 out of 15 regions saw an annual decrease in total inventory levels, with the largest percentage decreases in:

  • Gisborne: -46.5% from 127 to 68 – 59 fewer properties

  • West Coast: -34.4% from 482 to 316 – 166 fewer properties

  • Southland: -19.6% from 403 to 324 – 79 fewer properties.

Gisborne had the lowest number of weeks’ inventory with 6 weeks’ inventory available to prospective purchasers. This was closely followed by Wellington on 7 weeks’ inventory available.

The West Coast had the highest number of week’s inventory with 36 weeks’ inventory available to prospective purchasers which was a result of 77.9% increase in new listings during August.

Price Bands

The number of homes sold for less than $500,000 across New Zealand fell from 43.9% of the market (2,783 properties) in August 2018 to 37.7% of the market (2,248 properties) in August 2019.

The number of properties sold in the $500,000 to $750,000 bracket increased from 28.3% in August 2018 (1,798 properties) to 32.2% in August 2019 (1,917 properties).

At the top end of the market, the percentage of properties sold for $1 million or more increased slightly from 13.1% with 831 houses sold for $1 million or more in August 2018 compared 13.5% with 802 houses in August 2019.