Serious buyers still active despite lockdown

Real-time data from realestate.co.nz indicates that Kiwis hit pause on selling their homes at the end of March as the industry adapted to a temporary period of disruption. Nationally, new listings coming onto the market in the month of March were down 16.5% on the same time last year. The drop reflects the impact that Alert Level 4 has had on numerous industries, including the property market.

Despite the lockdown, average asking prices around the country, however, remained buoyant in March with eight all-time highs since records began 13 years ago.

Vanessa Taylor, spokesperson for realestate.co.nz, says that it will be a waiting game to see what the property market does in the face of Covid-19. However, she says that buyers and sellers have remained active, with average time on the website increasing significantly since the lockdown was put in place.

“For many Kiwis, this is a good time to get their property in front of potential buyers who are spending more time looking at property online. It is also a good time for Kiwis searching for something new to look carefully at what is available,” says Vanessa.

She adds that floorplans, 3D walkthroughs and video content will be even more important for sellers during this time when homes cannot be viewed in person.

 New listings drop nationally after a busy start to 2020 for vendors

New listings coming onto the market were down 16.5% nationally in March compared to the same time last year. Coinciding with New Zealand moving into Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 4, most of the decline in new listings occurred in the last week of March.

Regionally, the biggest decreases were in Northland and the Coromandel which dropped back by 34.5% and 33.1% respectively.

This follows a busy start to 2020 for many vendors. In February, 12 of 19 regions saw a lift in new homes coming onto the market, signalling a potential market shift across the country. In comparison, only three regions this March saw a lift in new listings.

Vanessa says that while people can put their homes on the market during Alert Level 4, she believes that some people may wait to list their homes due to the logistical challenges a lockdown brings.

“I suspect that many Kiwis, whether they are planning to list now or after the Alert Level 4 period, will be making the smart decision to prepare their homes for sale now.”

The regions who saw new listings increase during March were Central Otago/Lakes, Taranaki and Wairarapa, with increases of 18.2%, 10.0% and 8.7% respectively.

“New listings coming onto the market have been down in Taranaki since December 2019 so, although the total homes for sale in the region is still down on last year, it is nice to see some activity in the region,” says Vanessa.

Eight all-time asking price highs

Although the country is in lockdown, we did still see some regions reaching record highs.

Nationally, the average asking price increased by 5.0% on the same time last year to a record high of $711,696 – just slightly above the nation’s last recorded high of $710,393 in January 2020.

Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury, Otago, Wellington, Southland and Manawatu/Whanganui also hit all-time asking price highs since records began 13 years ago.

 

Average asking price highs in March 2020
Region Average asking price March 2020 Year on year increase Month on month increase
National $711,696 5.0% 1.3%
Gisborne $465,741 22.6% 4.1%
Hawke’s Bay $598,769 15.1% 0.7%
Wellington $713,868 8.5% 4.6%
Canterbury $526,125 3.3% 1.0%
Otago $502,942 18.9% 3.2%
Southland $388,210 15.5% 0.7%
Manawatu / Whanganui $459,113 17.8% 0.4%

 

Stock shortage continues

This is a challenging time for nearly every industry, but Vanessa says that our national housing shortage remains an issue for the property market. In March, the total homes available for sale nationwide was down 26.7% on the same time last year. This decrease, Vanessa says, follows a long-term trend with stock already down by 22.3% in February when compared to the same time last year.

The total homes available for sale decreased in every region during March with Marlborough (230 homes) hitting an all-time low since records began in 2007. Some of the top drops were seen in Taranaki, Waikato, Auckland and Wellington, where total homes available for sale were down 44.4%, 29.1%, 28.5% and 26.1% respectively compared to the same month last year.