Latest REINZ figures indicate glimmer of hope for Auckland property values

Latest REINZ figures indicate glimmer of hope for Auckland property values
Strong start to Spring for house price across most regions. Photo credit: Getty.

As expected, house prices in most regions sprung back after winter - and Auckland is no exception.

According to new figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), it's not all doom and gloom for Auckland with median price increases in September 2019 jumping by 2 percent to $848,000 - the first increase in 11 months.

Auckland's median selling price is up from $846,000 compared with last spring, and higher than August's median of $818,000.

Across the rest of the country, September was another record month, with the median price increasing by 6.6 percent to $597,000, up from $560,000 at the same time last year.   

Excluding Auckland, the national increase in September was 6.8 percent to $500,0000, up from $468,000 last September.

Out of the big smoke, one of the rising stars is the Waikato, chalking up a record median selling price of $550,000, up from $521,000 last spring.

Regions show plenty of strength left

Median selling prices in several regions rose to new record highs last month, indicating there's still plenty of catch-up to do.

In the Manawatu and Wanganui, the median price increased by 24.1 percent to $397,000, up from $320,000 last September.

Southland enjoyed a similar rise as the median selling price increased by 22.1 percent in September year-on-year, to $315,000.

The region of Taranaki showed a more modest increase at 15.9 percent compared with last year, to $400,000, while in the Hawkes Bay, the median price increased by 13.4 percent to $500,000, in line with the national average (excluding Auckland).

Dips in Northland, Nelson and West Coast

Although many regions increased, a few regions showed potential for some easing of the market with decreases in median selling prices.

In the West Coast, the median selling price dropped to $185,000, down by 7.5 percent compared to last September, while Northland, the bar also dropped to $477,000, down 5.5 percent year-on-year.

In the national-park mecca of Nelson, the median price dropped to $560,000, down by 5.4 percent compared with last September.

Summing up the monthly sales figures, Bindi Norwell, chief executive at REINZ said that September was a strong month with record median prices achieved in the Waikato and an increase in median prices in 13 out of 16 regions.

"Median prices are lifting as a result of [several] influences such as the OCR drop back in August.

"[These factors], including a continued lack of supply across many parts of the country are slowly injecting more confidence into the market."

There could be life left in Auckland yet

Despite having a bit of a rough ride this year, Auckland had the first annual increase in median price in 11 months, cited to be due to an increase in the number of properties sold between $750k and $1m.

Within Auckland's Waitakere City, median prices rose by 6.3 percent.  But although Auckland as a while - and Waitakere City - are up, Norwell said that potential sellers shouldn't bring out the champagne just yet.

"The median price [in Auckland] has returned to around the $850,000 mark, where we've seen median prices sit for a few years now." 

Typically, the on-set of spring brings on a flurry of activity and last month was no exception.

Sales numbers

In September, the number of residential homes sold across the country increased by 3.3 percent compared to last year, to 5896, while in Auckland, the number sold increased by 6.3 percent year-on-year, with an uplift of 58 percent more properties sold in the Papakura District.

With the second annual increase in sales volumes this year and the busiest September in three years, spring has certainly got off to a healthy start.

Regions with the highest increase in annual sales volumes for September include the Tasman, up 45.8 percent (70 sales), followed by Otago (up 12 percent (363 sales), each achieving the highest number of September sales in three years.  The West Coast followed a similar pattern with a jump in sales of 11.4 percent compared to last September, to 39. 

Regions with the greatest decrease in annual sales during September include Southland (down 27 percent to 130), Gisborne (down 20.4 percent to 39) and Marlborough (down 13.9 percent to 62 - the lowest since September 2017.

House Price Index, median days to sell and auctions

The REINZ House Price Index for New Zealand, which measures the changing value of property in the market, increased 3.6 percent year-on-year to 2,837..

In September the median number of days to sell a property nationally decreased by one day from 36 to 35 compared to the same month last year.

Auctions accounted for 13.5 percent of house sales across the country, with 796 properties selling under the hammer  down from 14.2 percent sold by auction last September. 

Homes under $500,000

Homes selling under $500,000 accounted for 36.4 percent of the market in September (2,144 properties), falling from 40.9 percent in September 2018.

The number of homes that sold in the $500,00 to $750,000 range increased to 32.4 percent of the market (1912 homes) in September, up from 1,785 in September last year.

Homes above $1m 

At the top end of the market, the percentage of properties that sold for $1m plus increased slightly to 14 percent (824 homes) in September, up from 13.9 percent at the same time last year.   

With median house prices in Auckland rebounding, including in the West and people on the move in the South, coupled with strength in the Waikato, Manawatu/Wanganui, Southland and Taranaki, the property market seems poised for another healthy spring.

While prices are holding strong in most regions, with an Official Cash Rate announcement due to in November, home buyers who decide to hold off could be rewarded with lower interest rates leading up to Christmas.