House price frenzy: Property prices up again, dashing buyers' hopes of a winter bargain

REINZ CEO Jen Baird said stock available for sale in June was the second-lowest on record.
REINZ CEO Jen Baird said stock available for sale in June was the second-lowest on record. Photo credit: Supplied/Getty Images.

Property prices are up 28.7 percent on the same time last year, dashing buyers' hopes of a winter bargain, latest figures show.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) June property report released on Tuesday shows house prices rose 28.7 percent over the last year, the national median sale price hitting $820,000. Compared to the previous month (May), the national median price is up by 0.3 percent. 

The five regions hitting new price records in June were Auckland (up 25 percent year-on-year), Waikato (up 19.7 percent), Taranaki (up 41.5 percent), Marlborough (up 56 percent), Southland (up 23.2 percent) and Manawatu/Whanganui (up 35.6 percent).

The national median selling price in the super city is now $1.150 million: prices rising by a quarter over the last year. And outside of Auckland city, prices are also tipping the $1 million mark: Manukau City at $1.070 million, Rodney District at $1.194 million and Waitakere City at $1.065 million.

The house price index (HPI), which measures the underlying value of the housing market, was up 29.8 percent on the same time last year.  With every region seeing an uplift in HPI values compared to May, REINZ chief executive Jen Baird said in the first month of winter, house prices continue to "defy expectations".

"We just aren't seeing the kind of drop off we normally see...the fundamental issue is the level of inventory - there's not a lot of choice out there," Baird said.

Low stock is pushing prices up, demand outweighing supply. In June, less than 14,000 (13,861) properties were available for sale. REINZ confirms this is the second-lowest level of inventory (stock) on record - 900 more than the lowest level in December 2020.

"Those buyers hoping for a bargain over winter might be disappointed, and today's data really points to how important it is to address the housing supply issues we have," Baird added.

Most properties sold in 5 years

In June, 7345 properties sold: 432 more than in June 2020, REINZ confirming it was "the highest for a June month for 5 years".

In Auckland, 2766 properties sold, the highest number in 15 years.

Properties take fewer days to sell 

Nationwide, the median number of days properties took to sell in June was 31 - 32 days in Auckland.

The data shows properties are selling more quickly than the same time last year (which included COVID-19 alert level 2 restrictions to June 8).

With fewer properties providing a lack of choice for buyers, REINZ said anecdotal feedback shows homeowners who don't need to sell, are waiting.

"What we're hearing is there's a sense of concern that 'if I sell my house now, I won't be able to find what I need in the timeframe I need...if I can wait, I'm going to choose to wait," Baird said.

Annual change in median house price by region.
Annual change in median house price by region. Photo credit: Supplied/REINZ.