Property prices dropped back a notch in September, the national average asking price at its lowest level in four months.
As September included a mix of alert level 3 and 2 restrictions for areas outside of Auckland, the super city in COVID-19 alert level 4 until September 21, realestate.co.nz CEO Sarah Wood it's too soon to tell what impact the COVID-19 Delta outbreak has had on the property market.
"It’s too soon to tell if the lower national average asking price is a trend...there are a number of factors at play," Wood said.
Despite level 4 lockdown restrictions preventing private viewings, average asking prices in Auckland reached $1,196,975 in September - up 2.6 percent from August, and up 22.5 percent year-on-year.
"Auckland is an interesting one - the region is largely unable to transact, and this can result in only the higher-priced properties coming to market, swinging the data upward," Wood explained.
Having reached a record low in August, stock and new listings "remain a challenge across New Zealand," Wood said.
With 13,407 homes available to buy nationally throughout the September month, housing stock was down 23.7 percent year-on-year.
Compared to the same time last year, stock in the West Coast was down 49.6 percent. In Coromandel, stock was down 59.4 percent, followed by Northland, down 45 percent and Central Otago/Lakes, down 44.6 percent.
As September marks the start of the Spring, realestate.co.nz saw "a notable increase in listings". But at 7035 new listings nationwide, they were down 30 percent year-on-year.
Central Otago/Lakes remains the most expensive area to buy real estate, the average asking price in the region hitting $1,228,868 in September, up 0.6 percent compared to August.
Auckland property listings down 57.9 percent year-on-year
While Auckland remains in alert level 3, one-on-one viewings can be arranged, but there are no open homes.
New listings were down 57.9 percent year-on-year in Auckland, 34 percent lower than in August, realestate.co.nz said. This reflected the alert level restrictions.
Housing stock was down 21 percent.
"Our largest city still has tight restrictions for agents to hold open homes and transact - level 2 will likely change the game," Wood said.
Wellington property listings up 14.5 percent year-on-year
The average asking price in the capital was $958,670 in September, an increase of 26.3 percent year-on-year.
New listings were up 14.5 percent year-on-year and stock was up as up 21.9 percent.
When stock and new listings increase, it's a sign supply is starting to meet demand, Wood said.
"Although we’re probably a few years away from that, it’s heartening to see these signs in our Capital."
In addition to Wellington, property listings in the Hawkes Bay (up 15.2 percent) and the Central North Island (up 1.6 percent), were also higher year-on-year.
The latest CoreLogic House Price Index (HPI) released on Friday, shows national property values increased 1.4 percent in September, down from 1.6 percent in August.
It marks the fifth consecutive month of easing growth rates.
The average value of properties nationwide was $950,229 in September, up 27.8 percent year-on-year, CoreLogic data showed.
In Auckland, the average value was $1,346,964, a monthly increase of 0.7 percent. The average value in Wellington was $1,082,993, a monthly increase of 1.7 percent.
Referring to mid-September data showing around 14,000 properties available to buy, CoreLogic head of research Nick Goodall said Auckland alert level 3 restrictions are having a dampening effect on stock levels.
But with other regions under alert level 2, agents were appraising properties to list and activity was starting to return.
In the short-term, CoreLogic expects the lack of supply, combined with pent-up demand to cause some "upward price pressure". But as tighter loan-to-value (LVR) restrictions and rising interest rates reduce demand - and the number of potential buyers in the market - price growth is expected to continue to ease.
"Given affordability measures are already showing debt to income ratios at all-time highs, and with interest rates now on their way up, fewer people will be able to borrow the amount of money required to satisfy vendors’ expectations," Goodall said.