The latest data released by REINZ for property sales in February show that the property market is still somewhat subdued.
February is traditionally an active month as summer interest in property grows after the Christmas and summer vacation period finishes. It is usually the 3rd most active month in terms of sales despite its shorter period. It tends to see sales around 6.5% higher than an average month.
In February total sales reported by real estate agents around the country and collated by REINZ amounted to 4,502. This compares with 3,252 in January and 5,029 in February last year. Seasonally adjusting the figure shows a 12% rise from January.The chart below details the seasonally adjusted sales by month going back over 5 years and shows the market trend.
Recent sales levels have been low. The February 2011 figure is the lowest February total ever recorded going back to 1992, it is the first time sales in February have fallen below 5,000. The rolling 12 month sales now totals 55,362 down from 69,390 a year ago.
One contributory factor for the lower sales in February and very likely to be a key factor in future months is Christchurch. The February total sales in Christchurch was just 244 as compared to 519 in February last year. The Canterbury region is the second largest region of the country typically representing just under 15% of total national sales. The region suffered a significant slow down after the September quake and that is only likely to continue for many months to come.
Across the country sales have been variable as shown by this regional map of trends in sales volumes comparing February 2011 with February 2010.
With just 4 of the 19 regions showing actual year-on-year growth in sales volumes the mood of the market is clearly subdued. The deep red colour for 12 of the 19 regions indicates where year-on-year volumes are showing more than a 5% decline.
The median price of sales reported by REINZ as shown in the regional chart below provides a window to regional price movements on a year-on-year comparison. The national median price did not move between February 2010 and February 2011 at $350,000.
There were 4 regions showing median price increases of more than 5% year-on-year with 5 regions showing a fall in median price of more than 5% year-on-year.
Auckland with a 3.3% median price rise complemented with a 1.4% volume lift year-on-year would appear to be a lead region for the country as was commented on in the recent analysis of the Barfoot & Thompson data released earlier this month.