Wellington housing market shows confidence as asking prices soar

Latest data shows an increase in Wellington average asking prices.
Latest data shows an increase in Wellington average asking prices. Photo credit: Getty

While median house prices and average asking prices in Auckland have been flat or declining, latest data shows that sellers in the capital continue to entertain the idea that buyers are waiting to snap up their properties.

Based on selling price expectations of Trade Me Property Listings in August, the average asking price in Wellington rose by $52,550 (9.4 percent) compared with 2018, to $636,250.

Nigel Jeffries, head of Trade Me Property, said that demand in Wellington has grown significantly over the last few years and the classic demand and supply equation is at play.

“Wellington [has] limited supply which puts pressure on prices for both buying and renting. 

"As the region continues to become more popular with buyers and demand increases, prices will keep heading north,” he said. 

As an example of growth areas within the city, the average asking price in Porirua increased by 10 percent to $706,200 year-on-year, a new high for the region, while in Upper Hutt, it rose 9.6 percent to $564,800.

Lower Hutt also took a healthy increase of an increase in confidence, with the average asking price rising 7.7 percent year-on-year, to $584,750.  

Of particular interest were the increases in average asking prices for homes with 5 or more bedrooms, up 17 percent to $1,022,800 and townhouses, up 20.9 percent, indicating strong interest in buying at both ends of the scale.

Auckland takes a chill pill

The picture in Auckland isn't so rosy, as data indicates that expectations have dropped 2.4 percent to an average asking price of $873,500.  

The average asking price for a townhouse in Auckland also fell 7.4 per cent compared with August last year.  

Explaining the apparent drop in confidence for Auckland, Jeffries said that the drop in listings indicate that sellers are holding back.

“There’s strong demand for Auckland properties, with listing views up 14 per cent on last year. 

"Sellers, on the other hand, are thinking twice, with the number of properties available for sale falling 10 per cent [compared with] August last year."

Jeffries said that the decrease in average asking price for Auckland is likely to be good news for local prospective buyers, as it bucks the trend of years of record prices and double-digit growth. 

Regional confidence more of a mixed bag

While Gisborne, Manawatu, Otago and Southland all reached new records in average asking price, similar to Auckland, demand in the West Coast appears to have cooled with around a  2 percent dip compared with last year.

While asking prices for Auckland townhouses decreased, that wasn't the case in Christchurch, which like Wellington, showed an increase in the average asking price for a townhouse increasing 6 percent to $479,450. 

With Spring underway and more buyers typically shopping around for homes, people who are taking a wait-and-see approach may have more buying power as interest rate announcements and data on median selling prices comes to hand.