Fewer homes available to buy this lockdown compared to April 2020 - realestate.co.nz

The latest report from realestate.co.nz shows 12,249 houses were for sale in August, the lowest amount of stock on record.
The latest report from realestate.co.nz shows 12,249 houses were for sale in August, the lowest amount of stock on record. Photo credit: GettyImages.

Housing stock is at its lowest level in 14 years, providing slim pickings for those wanting to buy homes during lockdown, latest realestate.co.nz data shows. 

Releasing its August report on Wednesday, realestate.co.nz says there were 12,249 houses for sale in August - down 31.9 percent on the same time last year. 

Realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Williams said this was the lowest level of stock on record.

"We've never seen it this low in housing stock... even in April [2020] there were still 20,000 homes available," Williams told Newshub.

Across 16 regions, seven had record low levels of houses available for sale in August.

Those regions were Coromandel, Central Otago/Lakes district, Canterbury, the West Coast, Nelson and Bays, Taranaki, and the Bay of Plenty.

The national average asking price reached $900,671 in August, rising 9.7 percent year-on-year.

Williams said this was the first time the price tipped $900,000.

"Because there's not enough supply and demand is still very strong, sellers are able to command a higher price - and also get it," Williams added.

Second-lowest month on record for property listings  

Over the month, 6504 properties were listed online, making August the second-lowest month on record for new listings, Williams said. 

Listings were only lower in April 2020, after the four-and-a-half week nationwide lockdown.

On a typical workday, realestate.co.nz had between 300 and 500 new listings, Williams said. 

But following the level 4 lockdown, the number of new daily listings dwindled to less than 150. 

Regional average asking price rises

Compared to the same time last year, average asking prices in all regions increased.

In Auckland, the average asking price was $1,164,225, up 18.9 percent year-on-year.  

In the capital, the average asking price was $954,831, up 26.4 percent year-on-year.  In Canterbury, it was $624,017, up 17.8 percent year-on-year.

Coromandel had the biggest year-on-year rise at 39.7 percent, the average asking price reaching $1,115,951.

This was followed by the West Coast, which was up 35.3 percent to $414,461, and Manawatu/ Wanganui, up 30.6 percent to $635,561.

Three regions had a price drop from July to August. The biggest monthly drop was in the central North Island, down 6.2 percent, to $713,125. Asking prices in Auckland and Otago were also slightly down on the previous month.  

The report showed website visits and time spent looking increased over the month. Since the start of level 4 lockdown at just before midnight on August 17, time spent online jumped 6.7 percent compared to before the lockdown.

"Although visits to our site cooled, it wasn’t nearly the drop we saw in April 2020," Williams said.

Outlook for Spring

Williams said it was too early to tell if the lockdown would have any impact on asking prices.

September 1 marks the first day of spring, typically one of the best times to buy and sell property.

"With a large portion of the country coming into alert level 3 and plenty of sellers waiting to list their properties, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a heavy transaction season," Williams said.

With Auckland in alert level 4 until at least September 13, Northland until Thursday night (if wastewater tests come back clear), private viewings can only be held in regions south of Auckland, which moved to alert level 3 on Wednesday.

A "swell of pent-up properties" could come onto the market one the alert level changes, including those unable to sell during lockdown. 

"If we see a surge of listings come onto the market, we may also see those people who are more hesitant to come to market, also come to market at the same time," Williams added.

Annual change in average asking price: August 2021/July 2021, by region.
Annual change in average asking price: August 2021/July 2021, by region. Photo credit: Supplied/realestate.co.nz.