Latest REINZ figures put Auckland prices back on the ladder

Latest REINZ figures show highest median house price for Auckland in 32 months.
Latest REINZ figures show highest median house price for Auckland in 32 months. Photo credit: Getty.

It seems low-interest rates and warm weather equate to a sunny picture for property owners across much of the country, latest figures show.

According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), the nationwide median house price increased by 8.6 percent in November to $630,000, up from $580,000 in November 2018.

Although Auckland prices remained flat mid-year, the median house price has continued to head north, currently $885,000, up 2.9 percent from November 2018 - the highest price in almost three years.

Bindi Norwell, chief executive at REINZ, confirmed that the median house price in Auckland has tracked upwards for the last three months, indicating the Auckland property market is back on the boil.

"Increasing levels of confidence in the property market coupled with low-interest rates and a lack of choice of new listings means that people are prepared to pay more for properties than they were a few months ago. 

"The median price for Auckland represents a $22,000 increase since last month and is the highest price in 32 months," Norwell confirmed.

However, across the wider Auckland region, November's median prices were a mixed bag.  While Auckland city had an 8.4 percent increase on November 2018, achieving a median price record of  $1,030,000, Franklin District remained flat at $702,000, while properties in North Shore City experienced a median price decrease of 6.2 percent year-on-year, to $985,000.

For sellers in the regions, November was unlikely to disappoint. Properties in Manawatu/Wanganui chalked up a record median price of $400,000 last month, increasing by 19 percent year-on-year, holding the same value as October 2019.

Among those also experiencing a strong nudge in median property prices were Nelson, increasing by 16.6 percent to $610,000 last month compared to November 2018 and Southland, increasing by 16.4 percent to $320,000, up from $275,000 last November.  

"November was a very strong month price-wise, with record median prices seen in 10 regions and a record equal in Manawatu/Wanganui. 

"This is the highest number of regional records we've seen in a single month since March 2005," Norwell added.

Regions which experienced a year-on-year decrease in the median house price in November include Northland, down by 12 percent and Tasman, down 3.7 percent year-on-year.

Percentage change in regional median house prices - November 2019.
Percentage change in regional median house prices - November 2019. Photo credit: Supplied/REINZ.

Sales volumes vary across the country.

The number of residential properties sold across New Zealand in November was 7,405 - 145 fewer compared with November 2018, although it also represents the highest number of properties sold in the last six months.

In Auckland, 2,335 residential properties sold in November, up 8.7 percent year-on-year - the highest number sold for 18 months and the highest for the month of November since 2015.

In the Waikato, 816 properties were sold, up 5.6 percent year-on-year - the highest for the month of November in four years, while in the West Coast, 43 houses were sold, up 7.5 percent year-on-year, marking the busiest November in eight years.

Among the regions which experienced a decrease in annual sales volumes were Taranaki, with 170 homes sold, falling by 24.8 percent year-on-year - the slowest November in five years.  Similarly, in Gisborne, sales reduced to 69 properties, down 18.8 percent compared to last November, while in Wellington, 776 properties were sold - 114 fewer year-on-year, the slowest November in three years.

"With [around] 9000 fewer listings than [in] 2018 and [around] 13,000 fewer listings than in 2017, unless we start to see more properties for sale across most parts of the country, we can expect to see this pattern of lower sales volumes continue for the immediate future," Norwell added.

The REINZ House Price Index (HPI), which measures the changing value of property in the market, increased 5.6 percent year-on-year, to 2902.  

Based on nationwide figures, the median number of days to sell a property in November was 33 days, down two days compared to November 2018.

Sale by auction accounted for 17.1 percent of nationwide sales in November, with 1263 properties selling under the hammer - the highest percentage in 24 months.  Gisborne had the highest percentage of sales by auction (38 properties), followed by Auckland, with 32.3 percent (754 properties) selling under the hammer.

With the festive season now underway, prospective buyers can look forward to a month's respite before gearing up for the typical influx of properties for sale in the New Year.