First month of 2018 saw strong property sales growth in New Zealand

January can often be a quiet month for property sales but transactions in New Zealand increased nationwide year on year for the first time in seven months, the latest index shows.

Overall the number of properties sold during January 2018 increased by 2.7% when compared to January 2017 but there was slower activity in Auckland with a rise of 0.9% year on year.

The data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) also shows that the regions with the biggest increase in sales year on year were Nelson up 27.9%, Canterbury up 18.1%, Tasman up 15.8% and Gisborne up 12.5%.

Bindi Norwell, chief executive at REINZ, pointed out that it was the first time the index has recorded positive year on year sales increase in seven months with 11 out of 16 regions experiencing an increase in sales when compared to the same time the previous year.

The index also shows that house prices continue to be driven by strong regional growth with the median price up by 7.1% to $520,000 but Auckland’s median price decreased by 1.2% to $820,000.

The only other region to experience a price decrease year on year was West Coast, down 10% to $135,000 while two regions experience record prices with values in Otago up 32.9% to $475,000 and Hawke’s Bay up 18.4% to $438,000.

‘House prices across the country continue to hold up with 14 out of 16 regions experiencing a year on year price increase. Otago’s record price for January was driven by a strong increase in Clutha and the Central Otago District up 53.4% and 39.4% respectively,’ said Norwell.

She explained that looking at the decrease in median price in Auckland, much of the reduction is attributable to the decreases in Manukau City, Rodney District and Waitakere City which were down 10.2%, 4.3% and 2.8% respectively.

Manukau City’s median price is the lowest since January 2016, Rodney’s is the lowest median price since September 2017 and Waitakere’s is the lowest since March 2016.

The number of properties available for sale nationally increased by 7% on an annual basis and excluding Auckland the number of properties available for sale increased by 1.1%.Norwell pointed out that if it were not for the 20.4% increase in listings in Auckland national figure would be much lower.

‘New Zealand’s housing market is in a strong position for the month of January. Whilst people are taking more time to purchase, which is obviously a good thing in terms of due diligence, listings are still at low compared to previous years highlighting that buyers are still facing a shortage of choice, particularly in areas such as the Hawke’s Bay and Wellington,’ Norwell added.