PHOTO: Vanessa Williams, spokesperson for realestate.co.nz
Main centres leading the trend
Real-time data from realestate.co.nz shows that the tables are turning on New Zealand’s hot property market. In March, Wellington tipped into a buyers’ market, and during April Auckland followed the trendsetting capital. Average asking prices in these two main centres have also largely been on a downward trajectory since February 2022.
Meanwhile, property stock is up year-on-year by 70.8% nationally and in all regions, providing more choices for buyers. Vanessa Williams, spokesperson for realestate.co.nz, says that while there is still plenty of demand from buyers, the heat has come out of the market. “We have become accustomed to urgency in the market with multi-offers and high competition being the norm.”
“Right now, however, buyers have more time to do their due diligence and make an educated decision on their future property,” says Vanessa.
The latest user data showed that more than 1.2 million users browsed for properties on realestate.co.nz during April—a dip from March’s record 1.37 million, largely due to April’s long weekends when some Kiwis take a break from property-seeking.
Buyers’ markets for Auckland and Wellington while Hawke’s Bay, Otago and Manawatu/Whanganui show signs of tipping
After tipping into a buyers’ market last month for the first time since June 2014, Wellington’s buyers’ market strengthened in April 2022. Auckland also became a buyers’ market last month, according to our seasonally adjusted inventory data from realestate.co.nz.
Inventory measures, theoretically, how long it would take to sell all current stock at the current rate of sale if no new listings came on to the market. An indicator of turnover, when inventory is higher than the 15-year long-term average, it tells us that properties took longer to sell in these regions during April than they have on average over the last 15 years since records began.
Vanessa says that Auckland and Wellington tend to lead property trends, so it will be interesting to see whether buyers’ markets emerge in other regions over the coming months.
“Prices have been declining month on month in Auckland since February, and we have seen much the same trend in Wellington,” says Vanessa.
In April, Hawke’s Bay, Otago, and Manawatu/Whanganui also exhibited signs of moving into buyers’ markets.
“Anecdotally, we hear from real estate agents that, although there is still demand for property nationwide, things have slowed in many markets,” says Vanessa.
Stock increases offer breathing room to buyers
Last month buyers had plenty of choices, with stock up by 70.8% nationally compared to April 2021. Data from realestate.co.nz shows that with 27,050 homes available for sale, national stock hit levels not seen since April 2019.
Compared to last year, the biggest increase was in Manawatu/Whanganui where stock was up 174.8% year-on-year. Following close behind were Wellington (up 157.3% year-on-year) and Hawke’s Bay (up 144.2% year-on-year).
Stock also more than doubled year-on-year in Central North Island (up 135.9%), Wairarapa (up 133.1%), Bay of Plenty (up 116.6%), Nelson & Bays (up 115.5%), Waikato (up 109.8%) and Otago (up 103.0%).
Vanessa says that while this doesn’t mean the end of our housing shortage woes, this will give buyers some breathing room:
“In a highly competitive market, for example when stock is low, buyers need to move quickly to secure property. These stock increases likely mean there is less of a rush for buyers to make decisions.”
Having shifted into a buyers’ market, Auckland also saw stock levels lift by 42.4% year-on-year, with 9,990 homes available for sale in the region during April.
All-time asking price highs in regional New Zealand
Eight of our 19 regions hit all-time asking price highs last month. Tipping over $1 million for the first time was Waikato, where the average asking price was up 41.2% compared to the same time last year.
15-year record average asking prices were also seen in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Otago, Southland, Coromandel, Central Otago / Lakes District and Wairarapa.
Compared to March 2022, however, average asking prices dropped in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson & Bays, West Coast and Marlborough. Nationally and in Canterbury and Manawatu/Whanganui, prices remained steady.
Vanessa says these month-on-month decreases could signal the beginning of market changes:
“We can already see a cooling market trend in Auckland and Wellington, so we will have to wait and see what happens in our regions.”
She notes that declining prices meant both Bay of Plenty and Wellington left the $1 million club in April. After several months of average asking prices sitting north of $1 million, prices dropped to $908,974 in Bay of Plenty and to $971,976 in Wellington.
New listings a mixed bag but down nationally and in 12 of 19 regions year-on-year
Compared to April 2021, new listings were down nationally and in 12 of 19 regions last month. The most significant year-on-year decreases were in Gisborne (down -21.2% with 52 new listings) and Southland (down -19.9% with 165 new listings).
Vanessa says that vendors remained motivated in many parts of the country despite most regions seeing new listings decline.
“Compared to April 2021, listings were up by between 12.2% and 28.1% in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson & Bays, Coromandel, Central North Island and Manawatu/Whanganui.”
“Stock and new listings have been consistently low over the last few years, so these significant lifts likely signal changes in the market,” says Vanessa.