Housing: Average asking price hits 14-year high, but number of homes for purchase also up

The latest data from realestate.co.nz shows New Zealand's national average asking price for a property hit a 14-year high in December, but a dramatic rise in the number of homes available for purchase could give buyers more choice in 2022.

According to the housing website, the national average asking price for a property in December was $985,246, a 14-year record-high. This was also up 23.4 percent compared to December 2020, but just 0.2 percent on November, a month prior.

The rise was driven by surges in nine regions, each of which also hit their top prices in 14 years. They include Hawke's Bay (up 36.9 percent to $865,209), Wairarapa (up 30.1 percent to $827,766), and Bay of Plenty (up 29.1 percent to $999,978).

The region with the highest average asking price in December was Central Otago/Lakes at $1,398,407 (up 19.1 percent year-on-year), realestate.co.nz says. Auckland was in second (up 18.5 percent to $1,225,265), while Coromandel was third (up 25.2 percent to $1,110,512).

Looking at the average asking prices in comparison to November, some regions saw drops, with the largest being in Gisborne, down 18 percent to $593,480. Auckland was down 3.6 percent month-on-month, while Wellington fell 2.5 percent to $982,824.

Housing: Average asking price hits 14-year high, but number of homes for purchase also up

However, while prices have gone up over the year, so has the national housing stock. Realestate.co.nz reports it has jumped 29.7 percent since December 2020, an increase of about 4000 properties. The housing stock is the total number of homes available for Kiwis to purchase in New Zealand.

The largest increase year-on-year was Wellington, which saw stock jump a massive 206.6 percent. Stock also more than doubled in Hawke's Bay (up 107.4 percent), Wairarapa (up 111.8 percent) and Manawatu / Whanganui (up 133.7 percent). In Auckland, the stock increase nearly mirrored that nationally with a jump of 30.7 percent.

Despite those lifts, there were falls in some regions. Stock was down 1.7 percent in Northland, 21.9 percent in West Coast, 13.6 percent in Canterbury, 28.3 percent in Coromandel and 19.7 percent in Central Otago/Lakes. 

Vanessa Williams, a realestate.co.nz spokesperson, says the stock data confirms the view that the market is becoming more palatable for property seekers. 

"Buyers across the country have more choice coming into 2022. This could mean less FOMO (fear of missing out) and perhaps even more properties hitting the market," she says. 

"If sellers are confident that they'll be able to purchase after they sell, we could see this number continue to climb.

"It's heartening to see more housing availability coming into 2022. It looks like there's an exciting summer ahead for buyers and sellers alike."

While the increase in stock hasn't yet led prices to cool, Williams says it will be "fascinating" to see the effect in 2022.

New listing on realestate.co.nz jumped 5.6 percent in December. The most significant rises regionally year-on-year were in Wairarapa (25.7 percent), Manawatu/Whanganui (22.8 percent) and Hawke's Bay (18.6 percent). Others saw falls, such as in Gisborne, where new listings were down 34.9 percent. 

"December is usually a 'short' month for the property market - Kiwis are winding down for the holidays, so we usually only see activity to the middle of the month," says Williams.

"But with significant restrictions still in place in December, it was heartening to see vendors active right up until the festive break."