While the national picture represents the busiest April in 5 years, the reality is that we’ve seen the number of sales decrease when compared to March, says REINZ Acting Chief Executive, Wendy Alexander
The number of residential properties sold in April across New Zealand was the highest number of properties sold in an April month for 5 years with 7,218 properties sold, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).
Despite this, the market actually appears to be slowing. In April 2020 New Zealand was under Level 4 lockdown restrictions, and the housing market has heated up significantly since previous years. It is no surprise that this year saw the busiest April in half a decade.
Yet compared to March, April sales were down by over 2,500.
“While in part this is what we expect to happen when moving from March to April, there is definitely a wait and see approach from a number of investors and also some first time buyers,” says Alexander.
“Some of these falls in sales volumes are likely to be early signs of the LVRs slowing the market, some will be attributed to the changes announced on 23 March and some are likely to be the fact that we have the lowest level of inventory for an April month since records began.”
The total number of properties available for sale in New Zealand dropped to 15,838, down from 19,702 in April 2020.
“The ongoing lack of supply continues to put upwards pressure on house prices,” says Alexander.
“However, we have seen some regions start to show signs of prices easing and the rate of growth slowing down a little which will be welcome news to those looking to get on the property market. Additionally, it might be the first signs that the re-introduction of the LVRs is starting to have the desired effect.”
Median prices for residential property across New Zealand increased by 19.1% from $680,000 in April 2020 to $810,000 in April 2021, albeit down from last month’s record. Additionally, 9 out of 16 regions reached record median prices and so did 21 districts – well down on 32 districts last month.
Median house prices for New Zealand excluding Auckland increased by 33.5% from $517,000 in April last year to $690,000, a new record high for New Zealand excluding Auckland.
Auckland’s median house price increased by 21.6% from $925,000 in April 2020 to $1,125,000 in April 2021 – a new record for Auckland. Additionally, Manukau City reached a new record median high of $1,070,000 and Franklin District reached a new record median price of $838,000.
In addition to Auckland, 8 other regions reached record median prices. They were:
- Waikato: with a 37.7% increase from $530,000 in April 2020 to $730,000 in April 2021. Additionally, Hauraki District ($610,000), Taupo District ($700,000), Thames Coromandel District ($950,000) and Waipa District ($860,000) all reached record median highs
- Gisborne: with a 72.5% increase from $400,000 in April 2020 to $690,000 in April 2021
- Hawke’s Bay: with a 17.6% increase from $655,000 in April 2020 to $770,500 in April 2021. Additionally, Napier City reached a new record high of $810,000
- Manawatu/Wanganui: with a 46.8% increase from $395,000 in April 2020 to $580,000 in April 2021 – the tenth record median price in a row. Additionally, Manawatu District ($623,250) and Rangitikei District ($451,250) reached record median highs
- Taranaki: with a 42.1% increase from $380,000 in April 2020 to $540,000 in April 2021. Additionally, New Plymouth District saw a new record median of $620,000 – the sixth record median price in a row
- Nelson: with a 15.1% increase from $645,500 in April 2020 to $743,000 in April 2021
- Marlborough: with a 46.1% increase from $460,000 in April 2020 to $672,000 in April 2021
- Otago: with a 58.8% increase from $447,000 in April 2020 to $710,000 in April 2021. Additionally, Dunedin City ($621,120) and Queenstown-Lakes District ($1,200,000) both reached a record median high.
“As we head further into the cooler months of the year and the second tranche of LVRs comes into effect, we would expect to see further stabilisation of the market in the coming months – as long as we see a solid level of new listings come to the market,” concludes Alexander.
REINZ HPI shows house values reach new high in April
The REINZ House Price Index (HPI) for New Zealand, which measures the changing value of property in the market, increased 26.8% year-on-year to 3,775 a new high on the index. This is the highest annual percentage increase in the HPI that we’ve seen since records began, and is the eleventh consecutive month that we’ve seen a new high, showing the continued strength of the market in April.
The HPI for New Zealand excluding Auckland showed house price values increased 28.6% from April 2020 to 3,804 in April 2021 a new high on the index and the highest percentage increase since records began.
Auckland’s house price values increased 24.5% year-on-year to 3,738 meaning house values in the City of Sails, although not a new record, this was the highest annual percentage increase in 67 months (September 2015).
All regions bar Auckland and Waikato reached new highs on the index.
In April, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay again had the highest annual growth rate in house price values with a 37.0% increase to a new record index level of 4,301. This was the largest annual percentage increase in house values for the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region since records began.
In second place was Manawatu/Wanganui with a 36.6% increase and in third place was Wellington with a 34.2% annual increase in house price values. Manawatu/Wanganui, Waikato and Wellington’s increases were the largest increase in annual house price values for their respective regions since records began.
Median days to sell lowest for an April month since records began
In April, the median number of days to sell a property nationally decreased 5 days from 34 to 29 when compared to April 2020, the lowest for an April month since records began.
For New Zealand excluding Auckland, the median days to sell decreased by 6 days from 34 to 28, the lowest median days to sell for an April month since records began.
Auckland saw the median number of days to sell a property decrease by 3 days from 34 to 31, the lowest for the month of April in 6 years.
Nine regions across the country had a median number of days to sell of less than 30 – the first time we’ve seen this in an April month since records began.
Properties in Taranaki and Southland have sold at the fastest rate of any region in New Zealand, with the median number of days to sell at 22. For Taranaki this was the fastest that properties have sold in an April month since records began and for Southland this was the fastest in 14 years.
Northland had the highest days to sell of any region at 37 days, down from 76 days at the same time last year – the lowest for the month of April 16 years.
Nearly a third of NZ homes sold by auction in April – highest for an April month ever
April saw nearly a third of all properties sold by auction (30.6%) – the highest percentage of auctions for an April month ever.
New Zealand excluding Auckland saw 20.8% of properties sold by auction – the highest percentage of auctions for an April month ever.
For the first time in 14 months, Auckland had the highest percentage of auctions across the country with 48.1% (1,246) of properties sold under the hammer – the highest percentage of auctions for an April month ever.
Gisborne was close behind in second place with 46.7% (21) properties sold under the hammer, down from 59.6% (31) in March this year.
Bay of Plenty had the third highest percentage of auctions in New Zealand with 41.7% (187) properties sold under the hammer in April down from 46.3% in March (257 properties).
Also of note were Canterbury with 32.9% (354) properties sold under the hammer the highest percentage of auctions since records began and Waikato with 27.1% (190) properties sold under the hammer the highest percentage of auctions for an April month since records began.
Inventory levels lowest for an April month since records began
The total number of properties available for sale in New Zealand decreased by 19.6% in April to 15,838 down from 19,702 in April 2020 – 3,864 fewer properties compared to 12 months ago and the lowest for an April month since records began.
Only one region saw an annual uplift in inventory levels – Gisborne with a 9.3% increase in inventory levels from the same time last year (from 92 to 101 properties – 9 additional houses).
Regions with the largest percentage decrease in total inventory levels were Nelson -39.7% (from 353 to 213 – 140 fewer properties), West Coast -37.4% (from 301 to 189 – 112 fewer properties) and the Bay of Plenty -36.9% (from 1,324 to 835 – 489 fewer properties).
Waikato, Manawatu/Wanganui and Wellington all had the lowest level of inventory in the country at 5 weeks.
Northland and Marlborough had the highest number of weeks’ inventory with 13 weeks’ inventory available to prospective purchasers down from 41 and 17 weeks respectively in April 2020.
The West Coast saw the biggest fall from 96 weeks’ inventory in April last year to just 10 this April – the lowest level of inventory seen in the West Coast since records began.
The number of homes sold for less than $500,000 across New Zealand fell from 30.4% of the market (422 properties) in April 2020 to 15.6% of the market (1,124 properties) in April 2021.
The number of properties sold in the $500,000 to $750,000 bracket fell from 28.1% (390 properties) to 27.5% (1,984 properties).
At the top end of the market, the percentage of properties sold for $1 million or more increased from 21.5% (298 properties) in April 2020 to 33.7% (2,431 properties) in April 2021.