'Buyer's market': Property listings up 19.7 percent in June - report

Open home sign
A surge in new property listings in June indicates it could now be a buyer's market. Photo credit: RNZ.

Online property listings surged in June, indicating that in four regions including Auckland, it could finally be a buyer's market.  

New data from property website realestate.co.nz shows that last month, 9033 properties were listed, up 19.7 percent on June 2019.

Auckland had 3559 property listings, up 38.9 percent year-on-year. Southland had the biggest increase in listings, up 59 percent to 213 listings.  The West Coast had 45 listings, up 32.4 percent. 

Vanessa Taylor, spokesperson for realestate.co.nz, said that in Auckland, Nelson & Bays, Canterbury and Central Otago/Lakes, June "inventory" (a measure which uses historical data to estimate time to sell existing properties listed on the website), was higher than the 13-year average, indicating a "buyer's market".  

"If no new listings came onto the market in Auckland and all existing stock that was listed on realestate.co.nz was sold, there would be no houses for sale in 37 weeks which overtake[s] the long-term average of 23 weeks, making it a buyer's market," Taylor explained.

COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, including no open homes, forced the property market to be put on hold. Moving into alert levels 2 and 1, the surge in new listings shows sellers moved quickly to get properties on the market.

"Overall, what the national increase in new listings tells us is that the market is not slowing down," Taylor said.

Average asking price change May to June 2020

The nationwide average asking price (based on indicative asking prices divided by total listings), increased by 0.5 percent to $727,749 in June - an increase of 10.4 percent year-on-year.

Between the two months, seven regions had an increase in average asking price and 12 had a decrease.  

In Auckland, the average asking price dropped marginally, down 0.4 percent, to $958,274.

The biggest rises in average asking prices were in the regions of Central Otago/Lakes, Southland and Coromandel. Central Otago's average asking price rose 9.2 percent to $1,061,122, Southland's increased 9 percent to $415,094 and Coromandel grew 8 percent to $847,950.  

"The average asking price rose above $800,000 for the first time in the Coromandel, to $847,950 - a 14.3 percent increase on the same time last year and a significant jump on the region's last recorded high of $786,037 in April 2019," the report said.

In the West Coast, the average asking price dropped 17.3 percent from May to June, to $251, 522. In Manawatu/Whanganui, it dropped 4.9 percent to $471,090.

With listings currently well above 2019 levels and interest rates at all-time lows, it may now be the right time for buyers to test the waters.