Lockdown fails to dampen demand as New Zealand house prices rise to record level in August

Real estate prices have once more risen to never-seen-before heights, with the COVID-19 lockdown failing to curb demand and housing supply falling to its lowest level ever.

New data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows house prices nationwide jumped again in August, with every region seeing a year-on-year increase from August 2020.

Median residential property prices across New Zealand increased by 25.5 percent from $677,400 in August 2020 to a record high of $850,000 in August 2021.

Meanwhile the median house price for Auckland rose 26.4 percent over the last year to $1.2 million - up from $949,500 a year earlier. Alongside Auckland, three other regions reached new record median prices in August - Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui and Canterbury.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird says the arrival of Delta on our shores doesn't appear to have dampened demand or confidence in the housing market.

"We have heard from across the industry that prices achieved on sales completed in the early part of this lockdown continue to illustrate an ongoing excess of demand over supply; prices are still rising," she said.

Among the reasons for the escalating prices is a lack of supply.

"August saw another record low level of inventory as the shortage of houses available for sale continues," REINZ said.

"New Zealand decreased year-on-year by 31.9 percent in August to 12,249, down from 17,974 in August 2020 - 5725 fewer properties compared to 12 months ago… This is the lowest level of inventory we've ever seen in New Zealand."

The median number of days to sell a property across New Zealand fell by three days to 30 days in August, while the REINZ House Price Index (HPI) for New Zealand increased 31.1 percent year-on-year to 4012 - another new high.

REINZ says nine of the 12 regions across New Zealand reached a record level on the HPI in August.