New Zealand property market: Asking prices plummet in some parts as more houses available

A February report shows stock has increased almost 50 percent year-on-year.
A February report shows stock has increased almost 50 percent year-on-year. Photo credit: Getty Images.

More houses available to buy and a monthly drop in the national average asking price are hints the property market is cooling, latest real estate data shows.

Releasing its February report on Wednesday, property listings website confirms nationwide property listings, at 11,545 are up 7.5 percent year-on-year, marking a return to February 2018 levels.

National housing stock (a snapshot of properties available to buy at the end of the month), is up almost 50 percent year-on-year, at 23,270.

At $993,741, the national average asking price for properties dropped 0.5 percent in February - the first monthly fall in five months. spokesperson Vanessa Williams said new listings and stock numbers are starting to reflect 2018 and 2019 levels, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There were just 15,829 total homes available for sale around the country in February last year - that means Kiwis had 7,441 fewer homes to choose from a year ago, which is significant when you consider our population is now over 5 million," Williams said.

"The increasing numbers suggest that we might be moving back towards pre-COVID-19 levels, and this will be welcome news for property-seekers."

In what says is a hint the property market might be cooling, in February compared to January, average asking prices dropped in 11 out of 19 regions.

"While it is too early to call this a trend, if vendors are asking less for their properties in February than they did in January, it could suggest a market slowdown is on the way," Williams said.

Average asking prices drop in 11 regions

The average asking price in Auckland dipped 1.3 percent month-on-month, to $1.26m.

Average asking prices also fell in Waikato, the central North Island, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Nelson & Bays, Coromandel, Wairarapa, Wellington, Otago and Southland.

At 6.2 percent, the biggest monthly fall was in the central North Island, where the average asking price was $813,480.

"We need to keep in mind that we are still seeing double-digit year-on-year growth in all regions, but I'd be following this data closely over the next few months if I were looking to buy. It might just spell good news to come," Williams said.

Northland, Taranaki, West Coast, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Whanganui, Marlborough and Canterbury showed small monthly rises.

At 8 percent, the biggest monthly rise was in Central Otago/Lakes, where the average asking price was $1.33m.

Monthly change in average asking price, by region.  February 2022.
Monthly change in average asking price, by region. February 2022. Photo credit: Supplied/

Year-on-year increases in average asking price 

On a national basis, the average asking price was up 23.1 percent year-on-year.

Five of nineteen regions achieved record-high average asking prices in February 2022 compared to February 2021.

These were Northland ($883,947), Bay of Plenty ($1.03m), Taranaki ($726,698), Canterbury ($722,093) and Manawatu/Whanganui ($704,533).