Median property selling price drops in December, stock up 29.7 percent year-on-year

Property prices are taking a dip over summer, the national median property selling price falling 1.6 percent in December compared to November, according to latest figures.

Compared to the same time last year, properties available to buy (stock) was up by 3841 (29.7 percent), at 16,773 properties.

Released on Tuesday, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data shows the national median property selling price in December was $905,000, down from $920,143 in November.

Compared to a year ago (December 2020), the median selling price was up 21.5 percent.
In Auckland, the median selling price was $1.290 million, up 25.9 percent ($265,000) year-on-year, but dropping 0.8 percent compared to November. 

Referring to year-on-year growth in selling prices, REINZ chief executive Jen Baird, said 2021 finished strongly for the New Zealand property market. As December marks the start of the Christmas holiday period, some slowdown was expected.

But the December figures also point to signs of slowing price growth, compounded by CCCFA changes requiring stricter assessments of prospective borrowers, increased loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions and rising interest rates.

"Over the last six months, we have seen a bit of a deceleration from the year-on-year highs we saw earlier in the year," Baird said.

Anecdotal evidence from real estate salespeople across the country points to a "shift in buyer sentiment". Compared to earlier in 2021, in December, there were more properties available to buy.

"They're not prepared to pay the price on properties now, or are unable to…there are more properties on the market (and more choice), and sometimes we see that start to ease prices a little bit as well," Baird added.

Property selling prices stayed equal or reached new records in eight out of 16 regions.  These regions were Northland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Tasman, Nelson and Southland.

The number of residential properties sold in December was 6755, down 29.4 percent, from 9,573 sold in December 2020 (down 11 percent month-on-month allowing for seasonal adjustments).

"From a sales volume perspective, December was weaker than we would expect it to be," Baird added.

Lower sales volumes could also be attributed to a range of factors, she said. These include the COVID-19 Delta outbreak, the end of the extended Auckland lockdown taking focus away from the property market, and the three changes affecting borrowers.

"It's those sorts of things that are starting to decelerate price growth."

The median number of days it took to sell properties nationwide (and in Auckland), was 29 days.

The house price index (HPI), a measure of underlying value of the property market, was 4235 in December, down 1 percent from November. On a year-on-year, HPI was up by 23.3 percent.

Property median selling price by region - December 2021.
Property median selling price by region - December 2021. Photo credit: Supplied/REINZ.