Pandemic lockdowns hit house sales: volumes drop 21%, but prices still rise

Pandemic lockdowns hit the housing market, with national volumes down 21.7 per cent after sales numbers fell from last October’s 9185 to 7190 last month.

But prices continued to rise, in one Auckland area by 50 per cent annually.

Auckland house sale volumes fell 20 per cent from 3234 a year ago to 2576 last month when thousands of the city’s agents were restricted under the alert levels to working remotely or online.

Real Estate Institute data out today showed it also took far longer to sell homes in the month ending October: 34 days nationally, five days more than the same time last year.

In Auckland, it took on average 45 days to sell which is 15 days more than the same time last year.

New Zealand’s housing stock is now estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion and around $1.6b of homes are sold monthly.

Volume drops did not, however, hit prices. Predictions of lower house price rises by banking economists and ex-Prime Minister John Key have not come to fruition yet.

Median house prices rose nationally 12 per cent from $795,000 in September to $895,00 in October.

In Auckland, prices rose 9 per cent from $1.1m in September to $1.2m in October.

All Auckland districts showed annual median price growth and six reached record highs.

The median house price in Auckland city was $1,393,000, up 14.2 per cent on October 2020, Franklin District was $1m, up 36.1 per cent, Manukau city was $1,165,000, up 17.4 per cent, North Shore $1,475,000, up 27.7 per cent, Papakura district $1,101,000, up 50.8 per cent, Waitakere City $1,128,000, up 23.3 per cent.

Jen Baird, REINZ chief executive, said: “Lockdown restrictions are having a reduced impact. Real estate professionals have the resources to conduct business remotely and customers and clients have the confidence to move forward to make decisions. Steps by the Government, as advocated for by REINZ on behalf of members, to enable more private property viewings at alert level 3 have helped, especially in areas longest affected by tighter lockdown. Less stringent restrictions equate to more activity.”

Record medians were clocked by the Waikato, up 23 per cent from last October’s $651,000 to $805,000 last month, in the Bay of Plenty up 24 per cent from $726,500 to $900,000 and the Hawkes Bay up 37 per cent from $590,000 last October to $812,000.

Wellington prices rose 26.8 per cent to $995,000, up from $785,000 last October. The Kapiti Coast District ($980,000), Lower Hutt City ($890,000), Masterton District ($720,000), Porirua City ($1,115,000) and Wellington City ($1,157,000) hit record median highs

Tasman’s median rose to $900,000, up from $700,000.

Canterbury’s rose 31 per cent to $668,000, up from $510,000.

Ashburton District ($500,000), Christchurch City ($685,000), Selwyn District ($815,000) and Waimakariri District ($685,000) hit record median highs. Selwyn has the longest median streak of all territorial authorities, with six record highs in a row.

Otago’s median was up a more modest 11.8 per cent to $760,000 from $680,000.

Central Otago District ($782,000), Clutha District ($480,000), Dunedin City ($675,000), Queenstown-Lakes District ($1,355,000) and Waitaki District ($472,000) reached record median highs

Southland’s median increased 21.6 per cent to $450,000, up from $370,000.

The REINZ house price index, which measures changing values, rose 29.9 per cent annually to 4,206. This was the fifteenth consecutive month of a new high.

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