New Zealand house prices rise despite COVID-19

New Zealand house prices rise despite COVID-19
Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown hasn't dampened house prices, with one real estate company showing all-time average highs in asking prices in seven regions.

Data from realestate.co.nz shows although new listings were down in May, they were still ahead of usual winter levels.

Gisborne, Manawatu-Whanganui and the central North Island saw the largest percentage increases in average property asking prices. Gisborne's rose 26.7 percent to $509,099, Manawatu-Whanganui's increased 24.8 percent to $495,294, and the central North Island's grew 20.1 percent to $565,636.

All regions in New Zealand saw an increase in average asking prices except for the Central Otago-Lakes area where prices dropped 3.7 percent to $972,073. Despite seeing a decrease, realestate.co.nz says houses in that region are on average the most expensive in New Zealand, beating Auckland where the average price is $961,686 - an increase of 9.9 percent.

Spokesperson Vanessa Taylor says since there are seven regional asking price highs, most vendors are still expecting high prices for their properties.

"I believe it is promising to see these asking price highs around the country during what is a

challenging time globally," Taylor says.

New property listings declined almost completely across the country. Gisborne saw the largest drop with only 39 listings in May - a fall of 43.5 percent.

The West Coast and Central Otago-Lakes were the only regions that had an increase in new listings. There were 52 new listings on the West Coast, an increase of 2 percent, and 235 in Central Otago-Lakes, up 21.8 percent.

Housing stock - which in this case shows the number of houses that are for sale on the penultimate day of May - also increased in Central Otago-Lakes. There were 732 homes for sale, up 13 percent compared with May 2019.

Taylor says the tourism downturn in this region due to COVID-19 might be the reason for the lift in stock.

"Ultimately, personal circumstances will always drive people's decision to buy or sell and, with the tourism industry on ice to overseas tourists, this might be what we are seeing in Central Otago-Lakes," she says.

Regions with all-time average asking price record highs during May 2020, ordered by the year-on-year percentage increase

  • Manawatu-Whanganui: $495,294, up 24.8 percent
  • Central North Island: $565,636, up 20.1 percent
  • Taranaki: $504,887, up 16.3 percent
  • Hawke's Bay: $606,136, up 11.3 percent
  • Canterbury: $556,476, up 10.7 percent
  • Northland: $666,830, up 9.6 percent
  • Waikato: $680,961, up 8.7 percent
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