New Zealand property values are on the rise, with record prices seen in some parts of the country and the national median value also in new territory. Strong demand is helping to drive up property prices, as the Auckland market lifts despite a decline in sales. While national inventory and sales volumes are both down, data points towards strong conditions and renewed optimism as we head into 2020.
According to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data, national median house prices are above $600,000 for the first time ever at $607,500. The new annual record is up 8.2% from last year's $561,500, with growth ignited by six fast-growing areas. While median Auckland house prices still rose by $7000 annually to $868,000, other parts of New Zealand are leading the charge.
According to REINZ, there were six areas with record annual price growth. Manawatu/Whanganui led the way with massive 20.9% growth, from $337,000 to $407,500. Hawke's Bay was up 16.3% from $460,000 to $535,000, and Otago was up 15.8% from $475,000 to $550,000. The other three areas with the fastest-rising prices were Waikato with 9.6% growth from $520,000 to $570,000, Northland with 9.4% growth from $480,000 to $525,000, and Bay of Plenty with 7.8% growth from $575,000 to $620,000.
According to REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell, "This is the highest number of regional record prices we've seen for the country in 23 months." Despite strong results in the regions, "Auckland City [also] saw the highest median price in 28 months with a 4.6% annual increase to $1,001,000, in part due to a 43% increase in median price in the Waitemata and Gulf area."
The REINZ House Price Index, which measures the changing value of property, also reached a new record high, up 3.9% to 2863. The median number of days to sell a property decreased nationally from 35 to 34 days, thanks in part to a decrease in listings. The total number of properties available across New Zealand fell 13.1% over the year to 22,313, although according to listings on Barfoot & Thompson, this trend has been reversed in recent months.
National sales volumes also fell 4% in October compared to a year ago, with sales in Auckland down 5.5%. More recent data points towards market movement, however, with separate monthly figures from Trade Me Property highlighting a surge in demand as asking prices reach into new territory. Nigel Jeffries from Trade Me said the market "sprang into action" during October, with 10 of 15 regions seeing record asking prices for residential property.
"We saw a surge in demand as well as a spike in new listings. The number of properties for sale on Trade Me rose 9% on September. However, despite this increase, demand is still outstripping supply which means prices are climbing." said Mr. Jeffries, adding "The Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu/Whanganui, Nelson/Tasman, Northland, Otago, Southland, Waikato and Wellington, all saw record high asking prices in October while the national average asking price rose 1.2% year-on-year to $672,600."