Property resale gains drop to lowest level since 2015

"There's been a rise in the proportion of resellers seeing 'pain'."
"There's been a rise in the proportion of resellers seeing 'pain'." Photo credit: Image - Getty Images


Property resale gains have dropped to the lowest level since 2015, reflecting an overall downturn in the housing market.

The latest CoreLogic NZ Pain & Gain report indicates the proportion of properties being resold for more than the original purchase price - a gross profit or 'gain' - fell to 93 percent in the second quarter of the year from 94 percent in the first three months of this year.

CoreLogic said the latest numbers were the lowest for any quarter since the fourth quarter of 2015 and well down on the peak of 99 percent recorded in the same quarter in 2021.

The value of the gains have also dropped to $290,000, which was well down on the 2021 quarterly peak of $440,000.

CoreLogic NZ chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said the drop was widespread across owner classifications, property types and geography.

"The large majority of property resellers in the second quarter of 2023 still got a price higher than what they originally paid, reflecting that most people have held their property for several years," he said.

"What this report shows is the frequency of those gains has declined further, or in other words there's been a rise in the proportion of resellers seeing 'pain' - especially if they've only owned the property for a short period of time."

It was not surprising to see the drop in resale gains, he said.

"National average property values are 13 percent below their peak and are now back down at mid-2021 levels.

"Anybody who bought a year or two ago and has sold more recently has seen market conditions change significantly."

Davidson said the greatest pain had been felt in Auckland, where 11 percent of property resales were below the original purchase price, followed by Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch.

The median resale loss in the second quarter of this year was $95,000 for Auckland, $82,500 for Wellington and about $50,000 apiece for Hamilton, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Davidson said apartment pain was also on the rise.

"There is a tendency for apartments to be resold at a loss more often than houses, perhaps reflecting a greater proportion of investor ownership."

He anticipated continued increases in the number of properties sold at a nominal loss until the market hits bottom.

"A further increase in the share of property resales being made for a loss seems likely in the next few quarters, even as property values themselves stop falling," Davidson said.

"But with the labour market still robust and few signs to date of widespread mortgage repayment problems, it's unlikely we'll see a return to the 'pain' peaks of previous cycles in the near term."