Million-dollar-plus property sales increase across NZ in 2021

While the number of million-dollar properties sold in Auckland increased 50.7 per cent from 2020, percentage growth has slowed. Photo Clive Barrington Construction/Registered Master Builders House of the Year.

Last year showed a sharp increase in the percentage of million-dollar property sales across New Zealand, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) Million Dollar Price Report.

In Auckland, Flat Bush was top of the list for the number of sales of properties worth more than $1m (see table).

In 2021, the number of properties sold nationwide for $1 million or more increased by 69.1 per cent compared to 2020. In 2021, 30,873 million-dollar-plus properties were sold – up from 18,260 in 2020. Across New Zealand, properties sold for over $1m accounted for 35.2 per cent of sales, up from 21.4 per cent in 2020.

New Zealand excluding Auckland saw the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold increase by 116.8 per cent compared to 2020 setting a new record for a calendar year. In 2020, 5072 properties sold within this price bracket; this increased to 10,996 in 2021, which was 19.7 per cent of total sales for the year.

In Auckland, the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold in 2021 increased by 50.7 per cent compared to the prior year. In 2020, there were 13,188 million-dollar-plus properties sold, compared to 19,877 in 2021 — up 6,689. While this was a new record for the region, percentage growth seems to be mellowing. It is worth noting that 62.1 per cent of properties sold in the Auckland region went for over $1m.

Rowan Dixon, acting chief executive at REINZ, says: “2021 saw record price growth across New Zealand, and it’s not just more expensive properties on the market \- the market value of properties has increased.

“In December 2021, the median price for residential property across New Zealand reached $905,000. With annual percentage increases in price growth sitting in double figures throughout the year, a 69.1 per cent annual uplift in the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold is not unexpected.

“While the number of million-dollar properties sold in Auckland increased 50.7 per cent from 2020, percentage growth has slowed. This may in part be due to changing market conditions as interest rates increased and, towards the year’s end, changes to the CCCFA were introduced. Sales of properties sold for over the $1m mark accounted for 62.1 per cent of total sales.

“Most significant is the increase in New Zealand excluding Auckland, where there was a 116.8 per cent increase in residential properties selling for $1m-plus. Across the regions, when we look at the number of properties sold in this price bracket over 2021 compared to 2020, there is a marked increase. This is likely the result of a strong market underpinned by continued demand exceeding supply in many parts of the country. Also at play is a shift in buyer sentiment. As prices increase, lifestyle expectations change, and people look beyond the usual urban centres or rural pockets, we inevitably see demand — and consequently price growth — having a growing impact on more regions.”

Regional breakdown

All regions saw an annual increase in the number of properties sold for $1m or more in 2021, and all regions reached new record highs. In all but three regions (Auckland, Nelson and Otago) the number of million-dollar properties sold more than doubled compared to 2020. The region with the most significant percentage increase in the number of properties sold for $1m or more was Manawatu/Whanganui — from 52 properties in 2020 to 212 in 2021, an increase of 307.7 per cent.

When we look at properties sold nationally in the $3m-plus bracket in 2021, there was an increase of 81.6 per cent year-on-year — from 835 in 2020 to 1516 properties. The Canterbury region saw the greatest percentage increase, from 12 properties in 2020 to 35 properties in 2021 — a 191.7 per cent increase annually.

There was also a 94.6 per cent annual increase in $5m-plus properties sold in New Zealand in 2021 — from 147 in 2020 to 286 properties. Auckland saw 248 properties sold in this price bracket, an increase of 93.8 per cent compared to 2020. However, the most significant percentage increases were Canterbury, where five properties sold for $5m-plus compared to one in 2020, and Bay of Plenty, which saw nine properties sell for $5 million-plus compared to two in 2020.

“Persistently strong demand for residential property throughout 2021 resulted in a year of records and rapid price growth across the country — despite regulatory changes, interest rate increases and Covid-19 restrictions. This is reflected in the number of properties selling for over the $1m mark,” says Dixon.

“At the top end of the market, properties selling for over $3m increased 81.6 per cent across New Zealand compared to 2020. Again, New Zealand excluding Auckland saw a significant uptick compared to the year prior, showing a 120.9 per cent increase in properties selling in this price bracket. Further, in 2021 there was a 94.6 per cent national increase in $5m sales compared to 2020.

“Our December data does show signs of deceleration in terms of price growth. However, given the strength of the market, we will have to see how gathering headwinds play out in the coming months.”