Average property asking price jumps to over $900,000 but growth expected to flatten after summer

Realestate.co.nz October figures show the national average asking price for properties hit a record $933,135, up from $865,348 in September.
Realestate.co.nz October figures show the national average asking price for properties hit a record $933,135, up from $865,348 in September. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The average asking price for properties has jumped to over $900,000, new figures show.

After a slight fall to $865,348 in September, the national average asking price reached $933,135 in October, up 9.8 percent, realestate.co.nz says. It's up from $900,671 in August, when record-low stock levels amid COVID-19 level 4 restrictions pushed the national asking price above $900,000 for the first time.

Releasing its October report on Monday, realestate.co.nz said 10 out of 19 regions showed record 14-year highs in average asking prices. 

In Central Otago/Lakes, prices shot up 41.9 percent year-on-year to $1.423 million, making it the most expensive region to buy in the country. In October, it grew by $200,000, with lakeside properties pushing up the average asking price.

In the Central North Island, average asking prices were up 37.2 percent year-on-year to $794,975. In Wairarapa, prices were up 34 percent to $810,790, making it the third-highest region for house price growth.

In Auckland, prices were up 21.3 percent year-on-year, to $1.23 million.

Referring to swelling property prices as a "complex issue", realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Williams acknowledged historical price cycles in the market. But she noted "low stock, high demand and decades-old legislation" had led to price rises.

Discussing realestate.co.nz October figures, independent economist Tony Alexander told Newshub he expects house price growth to continue over summer.  

But due to a combination of tightening of credit availability, rising interest rates and new housing density rules increasing supply over the medium-to-long term, house price growth is expected to flatten from next autumn. 

"Summer's still going to be pretty strong, catch-up spending [and] FOMO still rampant, but as we get into 2022, it's definitely going to ease off," Alexander said.  

Property listings increase in October - but mixed across regions

At a national level, new listings were up nearly 58 percent in October compared to September, in line with the typically busy Spring season.

Compared to October 2019, national listings were down 4.7 percent. 

In Auckland, listings were up 158 percent month-on-month. But year-on-year, listings in the super city were down 9.4 percent amid ongoing alert level 3 restrictions in the region.

"Looking at the October data for Auckland, we saw a 158.8 percent month-on-month increase in new listings... [it] seems as though agents and vendors were waiting for alert level 3 to list," Williams said.

In the Capital, property listings were up 27.1 percent month-on-month - and up 28.1 percent year-on-year.

In addition to Wellington, property listings were also up both month-on-month and year-on-year in Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Otago, Southland, Central Otago/Lakes, Marlborough and Manawatu/Wanganui.

Overall, the market saw an increase in listings in October - but mixed regional data made it difficult to pinpoint trends, realestate.co.nz said.

"Overall, we saw new listings increase from September to October, ostensibly because Levels 2 and 3 meant that the market could transact," Williams added.

Housing stock down 17 percent in Auckland, up 35 percent in Wellington  

National housing stock, described as the number of properties remaining on the market in October, was up 13.5 percent month-on-month, but down 16.1 percent year-on-year.

The Auckland region had about 17 percent less stock than the same time last year, a likely contributor to price increases in the region, realestate.co.nz said.  

This was in stark contrast to Wellington, where stock was up 35.4 percent year-on-year.

"We did start to see stock and listings go up in the Lower North Island, which is certainly breaking trends... it'll be interesting to see if Auckland follows," Williams said.

A New Zealand Initiative Report containing data from Infometrics and Statistics New Zealand suggested New Zealand wouldn't get on top of its housing shortfall until 2026. The data indicated New Zealand "hadn't built fast enough" to keep up with demand, contributing to higher prices, Williams said.

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan told Newshub in the five years from 2015 to 2019, estimates comparing underlying demand to new dwelling consents suggested there was a shortage of around 30,000 homes.

But given the drop in net migration and population growth, consents for 2021 to 2023 are running "well ahead" of underlying demand, Kiernan said - though he acknowledged the data assumes consents turn into new houses immediately.

Capacity constraints and supply limitations mean that new housing supply is likely to take longer to reach the market, affecting demand and prices. 

National average asking prices - October 2021 v September 2021.
National average asking prices - October 2021 v September 2021. Photo credit: Supplied/realestate.co.nz.