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Market Comment August 2018

By Daniel Horrobin

Slow winter? No way as demand for new and established city apartments remains strong

With consistent sales across the board, the Auckland property market doesn’t appear to care that it’s winter. Our ongoing auction room success continues and vibrant activity on well-priced, well-presented apartments can only be promising.

The trend for a low-maintenance, hassle-free apartment lifestyle in the central city continues to be the preferred option among baby boomers and first-home buyers. While demand in the investment sector for smaller, higher yielding apartments continues to show encouraging signs.This growing demand in central apartments is great news for owners who – despite it being mid-winter – are putting their properties on the market and achieving some impressive results.

On the flipside, some first home buyers and investors are also seeing the value in buying brand new and off plan. With busier showrooms and more enquiries for our Parkside Residences, Middlemore Homes and The Airedale developments, we’ve experienced a lift in off-plan purchases over the past two months.

On the rental front, the notoriously quiet winter months hasn’t halted demand for our team. However, with the recent settlement of some larger, more purpose-built complexes – like Park Residences, Victoria Residences and Queens Square comprising circa 620 units – there’s been a noticeable increase in available rentals. To account for this, many owners are investing in refurbishing older apartments to remain desirable to tenants on the hunt.

With the growing levels of interest and demand in today’s market, there are definite opportunities, whether you’re looking to buy, sell or invest in Auckland’s apartment market. So get in touch with us today and our experts will help you make your best next move.

Winter chill bites property market  –

Winter has cooled property prices across many parts of the country with the national average asking price falling 0.6 per cent in May to $642,050, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the New Zealand property market was entering its typical winter slowdown and as temperatures dropped in June, so too did price expectations. “Traditionally the property market goes into a hibernation period in the cooler months and now is a great time for buyers to make a move if they have the deposit behind them.”

Auckland continues to ease: Mr Jeffries said first home buyers will be pleased to know that the Auckland property market continued to cool in June, with the average asking price dipping 0.9 per cent on May to $910,250, and more properties on the market than last year.  

“The number of properties for sale in Auckland was up 5 per cent on last year and a ‘staggering’ 42 per cent on 2016. With more options plus cooling prices, it’s a great time for those looking to buy in the Super City,” he said.

Mr Jeffries said the most popular property for sale in the region was a two-bedroom apartment in the city which had 34 enquiries in June. “ Townhouses, units and apartments are becoming increasingly popular in our biggest cities and we’re seeing more first home buyers opt for these properties as they require a smaller deposit, are often close to town and require less maintenance than a house.”

Quarterly Property & Economic Market Review – CoreLogic

According to the June quarter CoreLogic New Zealand Quarterly Property Economic Market Review released today market conditions slightly weakened.

The incoming macroeconomic data indicators revealed that as GDP growth slowed and the net migration balance continues to ease downwards (albeit from a high level), demand for property generally follows.  On the positive side, inflation remains low and is showing no signs of a meaningful pick-up anytime soon. CoreLogic research analyst Kelvin Davidson said, “This suggests that the official cash rate will stay on hold at 1.75% for some time to come (potentially late 2019 at the earliest) and with little evidence that higher offshore financing costs are affecting New Zealand, domestic mortgage rates should stay low and stable well into 2019. This will help to hold up property demand.”

“Within the property market itself, we’re seeing activity levels (e.g. valuation volumes, completed sales) are generally low around the country and the outlook seems pretty flat too.

Given that, as well as the fact that affordability remains a problem in many towns and cities, it’s no surprise that property value growth has eased in the past few months. In April, property value growth across NZ was running at an annual rate of 7.6%, but it has now slowed to 5.7%,” he said.

Values in Auckland and Christchurch remain stagnant, and it’s only Dunedin amongst the main centres that is showing any sort of strength. The previously buoyant market in Wellington has cooled pretty sharply in the past few months, with values actually dropping by 1.3% from March to June. CoreLogic proprietary buyer classification data shows that movers generally remain cautious and have a relatively low market share at present. First home buyers, however, are still active and have slightly increased their share of purchases from 22% in Q1 to 23% in Q2.

Amongst multiple property owners, those purchasing with cash have a historically high market share (13%), while mortgaged buyers are more restricted, due to the LVR rules and tightening bank credit policies. It is important to note that activity across all buyer types has fallen in terms of total numbers. It’s just that some buyer groups (e.g. first home buyers) have held on better than others, so their share of the market has risen. Overall, Mr Davidson said, “Given the shortages of supply that have built up, and barring a big unexpected global shock, this orderly/controlled NZ property market slowdown, driven at least partly by credit restrictions, is unlikely to become a downturn.”

“Although building consents continue to rise strongly and KiwiBuild could add a bit of cream on the top for extra supply, property values look set to stay high in the medium term.”

Fastest selling suburbs –

Properties are selling quickly in New Zealand. A year ago, out of just short of 1,000 total suburbs across NZ, there were 59 “fast-moving” suburbs across the country – those with at least 100 sales in a 12-month period and a median time on the market of three weeks or less. Now there are 62.

This means that even with the market slowing in many areas, buyers typically will still need to act fast to secure a property. Although the New Zealand market is generally hot some areas are even hotter than others. New Zealand’s fastest selling suburb is Awapuni, a largely residential area in Palmerston North’s south-east that borders Massey University. Half the homes there spent just 11 days on market before selling, and have a median value of $373,750.

The hottest suburb overall (when including areas with less than 100 sales over the 12 month period) was Kaikorai in Dunedin – 58 properties where sold and half of them 10 days or less. At the other end of the scale it took 166 days to sell half of the 85 properties sold in Westport.

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