Housing market still at a low ebb despite lift in sales

While the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) November data show a solid increase in sales, up by 15.7%, from 5,550 to 6,422, month-on-month, and up by 12.2%, from 5,724 to 6,422, compared to November last year, the number was the lowest for a November month since 2011.  Apart from November last year, last month’s sales were below 7,000 for a November month since 2013.

For New Zealand, excluding Auckland, the total number of properties sold has followed a similar pattern, increasing by 17% month-on-month and increasing by 12.2% year-on-year.

Across the regions, the data shows that only three of the 16 regions had a drop in the number of properties sold month-on- month – West Coast -5.6%, Taranaki -2.1% and Otago -0.3% – and only two had declines year-on-year – Nelson -16.9% and West Coast -2.9%.

Comparatively, Nelson was also the region with the biggest increase month-on-month for November, with a 51.3% rise, followed by Tasman at 32.8% and Wellington at 31.1%.

The national median sale price rose slightly, increasing by $1,000 to $790,000. Year-on-year, there is a slight national decrease of 2 % from $806,000, while New Zealand excluding Auckland is down by 1.4% to $700,000 from $710,000.

Median sale prices are still mixed, with half of the regions’ houses rising by up to 3.1% month-on- month. The remaining regions had a drop in the median sale price, albeit at less than 4%. West Coast stood out from the other regions with a 17.4% increase month-on-month to $399,500 from $340,000.

Days to Sell has remained the same this month at 38 days compared to last month, and dropped year-on-year by three days from 41. Regionally, the West Coast again saw a decline of 22 days, with Nelson close behind with a 17-day ddrop in median days to sell month-on-month.

At the end of November, the total number of properties available for sale was 28,014, down 1.5% or 435 properties, from 28,449 year-on-year, and up 9.4% month- on-month. For New Zealand excluding Auckland, inventory increased marginally by 113 properties, or 0.6% year-on-year from 17,579 to 17,692 and increased 9.8% month-on-month.

Nationally, new listings increased by 5.2% from 10,185 to 10,712 year-on-year and increased 12.4% month-on-month. New Zealand excluding Auckland also had an increase month- on-month of 12.9% and year-on-year of 2.5%.

There has been a big rise in the number of listings coming to market this month compared to last month. Notably, Gisborne with a 75% increase and Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, and Nelson all reached increases in the mid-20% range. Year-on- year numbers remained mixed.

The House Price Index (HPI) stood at 3,686, showing a 0.8% increase compared to October. However, when compared to the same period last year, the HPI reflects a 0.2% decline. The average annual growth in the New Zealand HPI over the past five years has been 6.1% per annum. It remains 13.8% below the peak of the market in 2021.

REINZ Chief Executive Jen Baird says November continues the trend of slow and steady improvement in property market activity now that the country is past the election, and it heads into more active months in the property cycle.

“Local agents are reporting steady activity across different buyer groups, with more competition for buyers’ attention in areas where listings have increased. With median prices either largely unchanged or slightly lower year-on-year in a number of regions, for some buyers, now will be the time to act.”

She says REINZ  anticipates seeing a resurgence of activity from the end of January, as the boost in market positivity helps raise confidence further.

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