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Global Insight: New Zealand Property Market

According to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) record median house prices can be seen across multiple regions of New Zealand.

The Auckland market is showing its strength and is pushing the ‘Halo Effect’ of rising median prices across the country. This is demonstrating that recent fears of the Auckland market cooling off were overstated, median prices across the city have rebounded and shot through $800k for the first time, to a new record high of $820,000.

Record median house prices have also been seen in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Canterbury/Westland, and extraordinary growth in Central Otago Lakes.

Summary


- 9,527 dwellings sold in New Zealand in March 2016, up 30.7% on February and up 8.2% on March 2015. This is the highest number of sales in March since 2007.

- On a seasonally adjusted basis the number of dwellings sold rose by 5.5% compared to February

- National median price of $495,000, up $20,000 (+4.2%) on March 2015 and up 10.0% on February

- New record national median prices across New Zealand, New Zealand excluding Auckland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Canterbury/Westland and Central Otago Lakes

- A 27% rise in the number of sales over $1 million between March 2016 and March 2015 – from 1,023 to 1,301

- 20,180 dwellings sold by auction in the 12 months to March 2016, representing 22.0% of all sales, an increase of 38% in the number sold by auction in the 12 months to March 2015

- Excluding the impact of the Auckland region, the national median price rose $35,000 to $385,000 compared to March 2015.

Chief Executive of REINZ, Colleen Milne, says “We have talked before about the Halo Effect, which is gaining in strength. Right across the country regional markets have been strong with a large number of record medians and the strongest sales for nine years for most regions, with the strongest March sales for 11 years in Waikato/Bay of Plenty and 14 years in Central Otago Lakes. 

March demonstrates a noticeable surge in sales of higher priced properties, with the number of sales over $1 million increasing by over 90% compared to February. This is especially true in Auckland, where one in three properties that sell are valued at more than $1 million - a record 35% of the market.”

The surge in demand also shows in the number of days to sell, with the number of days to sell in March the lowest for Central Otago Lakes since 1994 and the lowest for most other regions between nine and thirteen years. Only Auckland and Southland did not see any major shift in the number of days to sell for March 2016.

The data demonstrates a generally robust real estate market across New Zealand, with Auckland appearing to overcome the changes to tax and LVRs introduced towards the end of last year and anecdotal evidence of surging investor demand in a number of regional markets.

Sales Volumes

There were 9,527 unconditional residential sales in March, an 8.2% increase on March 2015 and a 30.7% increase on February. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of sales rose 5.5% from February to March, although Easter reduced the number of trading days in March. 



Sales volumes excluding Auckland were up 22.7% on March 2015 and up 19.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis. Otago, Northland, Manawatu/Wanganui, Wellington and Waikato/Bay of Plenty are all showing in excess of 25% annual sales growth.

In contrast, Auckland saw the number of sales shrink by 12% compared to March 2015.
10 regions recorded increases in sales volumes compared to February. Compared to March 2015, 10 regions recorded increases in sales volume, with Otago & Northland recording the largest increases of 39%, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui with 33%.

Prices

The national median house price rose $20,000 (+4.2%) to $495,000 from March 2015 to March 2016. Compared to February the national median house price increased by $45,000 (+10.0%). Excluding the Auckland region, the national median price rose $35,000 (+10.0%) compared to March 2015. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the national median house price rose 3.4% compared to March 2015. 



Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Central Otago Lakes, New Zealand ex Auckland and New Zealand all reached new record median prices in March. Canterbury/Westland hit its record median for the third time after reaching it in April 2015 and January 2016. Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase in median price
compared to March 2015, at 26.5%, followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty at 22.1% and Nelson/Marlborough at 15.2%. In comparison Auckland recorded the fourth largest increase in the median price at 13.9%. Central Otago Lakes also recorded the largest percentage increase in median price compared to February, with a 26.2% increase, followed by Auckland with a 9.3% increase and Otago with a 3.7% increase.

Auctions

There were 2,354 dwellings sold by auction nationally in March, representing 24.7% of all sales and an increase of 87 (+4%) on the number for March 2015. The 20,180 sales by auction in the 12 months to March 2016 represented 22.0% of all dwelling sales, compared to 19.1% (14,659 sales) for the year ending March 2015. 



Transactions in Auckland represented 63% of national auction sales, a significant drop from the 78% of national auction sales in March 2015. In contrast, the number of auction sales in Waikato/Bay of Plenty has increased from 8.3% of national auction sales to 17.7% in March 2016. Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury/Westland, Central Otago Lakes and Otago all recorded a new record number of sales by auction in March.

Further Data

Across New Zealand the total value of residential sales, including sections, was $6.187 billion in March, compared to $5.381 billion in March 2015 and $4.232 billion in February. For the 12 months ended March 2016 the total value of residential sales was $55.207 billion. The breakdown of the value of properties sold in March 2016 compared to March 2015 is: 





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