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NZ Property Report – March 2012

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012 | Filed in Featured, NZ Property Report

The March 2012 NZ Property Report published by Realestate.co.nz provides an insight into the state of the New Zealand property market as measured by the supply side of the property market over the month of March. The key measures of the market analysed in the report are the number of new listings, the asking price expectation for those new listings and the level of inventory of unsold houses on the market at this time. The report is compiled from data captured by the website and represents close to 96% of all property movements in the NZ market as managed by licensed real estate agents.

A full print version of the NZ Property Report – March 2012 is published below and is available for download (1.2MB) and distribution.

 

Summary of the market – March 2012

The message coming from the property market is that buyers are out and about and keen to get into the market, whether they are first-time buyers, mid-life stage buyers or even investors. Their eagerness to buy matched to availability of attractive financial support is however not being met with a consistent and sufficient supply of new listings. This scenario continues to drive this sellers’ market, where it is clear those homeowners who are putting their property on the market are expecting to see a higher sale price as flagged by this new record level of asking price in March.

Property sales are strong – 6,168 properties sold in February up 37% on a year ago (exclude the unique circumstances of the Christchurch earthquake and sales are still up 30%), and yet listings flow is not matching with just a 8% year-on-year growth, this is why the inventory supply of property on the market as measured by rate of sale has fallen 31% in the past year.

The next 3 months will be crucial as property sales traditionally remain strong through the Autumn, and without the ability of the market to be re-supplied with new listings the outcome could be further rises in asking price and sale price or more significantly a stalling of the market as buyers become wary of a market getting out of reach of the majority of buyers.

 

Asking Price

The seasonally adjusted truncated mean asking price for listings in March rose again to a new record level of $429,865 up $3,300 from February. This pushes the asking price up to another new high. The trend as seen in the chart covering the last 3 years very clearly shows an accelerating growth in asking price over the recent 12 months as compared to 2010/2011.

 

New Listings

The level of new listings coming onto the market in March fell slightly with a total of 13,265. This represents a seasonally adjusted fall of just less than 1% from February and is up just 8% as compared to March last year.

On a 12 month moving average basis a total of 128,072 new listings have come onto the market since April 2011 as compared to 131,722 in the prior 12 month period, a fall of 2.8%. This compares to sales up 15% on the same 12 month comparable basis

 

Inventory

The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of March (46,411) was down as compared to February (47,030) as measured on a seasonally adjusted basis. This total includes houses, apartments and lifestyle properties on the market. With the rising rate of property sales the inventory on the market has seen a significant drop off over the past 6 months pushing it well below the long term average of 41 weeks of equivalent sales.

 

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

The national (seasonally adjusted) truncated mean asking price expectation among sellers rose again in March to set a new high of $429,865.

Around the country the regions of Waikato and Canterbury recorded new record highs; in the case of Waikato the previous high was in December 2007, whilst Canterbury only posted it high last month. Across the country overall, 12 regions recorded asking prices up on prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis with big rises in Northland, Wairarapa and Nelson.

There were however, despite the record national asking price level some significant falls; most noticeable of which was Wellington, posting a 5.9% month-on-month seasonally adjusted fall to $423,554. This also represents a 5% fall on a year-on-year basis showing some weakness in the Capital city. The other notable regions recording falls were Gisborne and Central North Island.

 

Regional Summary – Listings

The general perspective of new listings coming onto the market as seen in the adjacent chart is that the majority of regions (15 of 19) are seeing a greater supply than a year ago. This is the case when seen in isolation, but the fact is that the rate of increase in the supply side of the market is not keeping pace with the sales side and this is resulting in the low level of inventory of properties on the market.

Strong levels of new listings in the Marlborough, West Coast, Central Otago / Queenstown are failing to arrest what are very low levels of inventory in these regions whilst the most at-risk regions (those experiencing low existing inventory and low listings growth) are Waikato and Canterbury, the former of which actually saw a fall in new listings despite the low inventory.

 

Regional Summary – Inventory

The inventory of unsold homes on the market tightened significantly again in March falling to 32.4 weeks of equivalent sales from 36.0 weeks on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Whilst the trend over the first 2 months of the new year has been to see some balance of inventory-to-demand the current picture as represented in the adjacent chart shows a market facing tightness in availability of listings with 7 of the 19 regions (dark blue) so low in inventory that they are very clearly providing sellers with the ultimate power. Coupled with these 7 regions, are a further 6 (light blue) where inventories are below long term average and show strong signs of a sellers’ market.

By contrast there are only 3 regions (Gisborne, Wairarapa and Otago) where the inventory levels are above long term average providing buyers with the advantage. Contrast this with the same view of the market 12 months ago and there was not one region where inventory was at or below the long term average.

 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle property listings rose sharply in March reflecting the general property market. A total of 1,048 Lifestyle property listings rose again in March after a strong rise in February. A total of 1,154 listings came onto the market, up 5% year-on-year and up 10% as compared to February. The truncated mean asking price for these listings rose 7% as compared to the recent 3 month average to $644,860 – taking the level to another record high in asking price, surpassing the peak attained last month.

Across the country, strong growth in listings were seen in Southland, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough and the Manawatu all posting rises of over 20% year-on-year.

 

Apartments

Listings for apartments slipped slightly between February and March with 527 being brought to the market, on a year-on-year basis listings were down 2%. The truncated mean asking price of new listings fell from $402,278 in February to $366,288 in March, representing a 3% year-on-year decrease and down 4% on the recent 3 month average.

The Auckland apartment market followed the national trend with 314 new listings coming onto the market, down 5% from February and also down 5% from March last year. The truncated mean asking price of new listings also fell to $338,046 from $390,021 in February representing a 5% decrease on the prior 3 months.

 

Notes:

Truncated mean

The monthly asking price for new listings presented in this report utilises the measure of ‘truncated mean’. This measure is judged to be a more accurate measure of the market price than average price as it statistically removes the extremes that exist within any property market that can so easily introduce a skew to traditional average price figures.

The truncated mean used in this report removes the upper 10% and the lower 10% of listings in each data set. An average or mean of the balance of listings is then calculated.

Methodology

With the largest database of properties for sale in NZ from licensed real estate agents, realestate.co.nz is uniquely placed to immediately identify any changes in the marketplace. The realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report is compiled from new listings coming onto the market from the more than 1,000 licensed real estate offices across NZ, representing more than 95% of all offices.

With an average monthly level of over 10,000 new listings, the realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report provides the largest monthly sample report on the residential property market, as well as a more timely view of the property market than any other property report. The data is collated and analysed at the close of each month, and the Report is compiled for the 1st day of the following month. This provides a feedback mechanism as to the immediate state of the market, well in advance of sales statistics, which by the very nature of the selling process can reflect activity with a lag of between 2 and 4 months.

In analysing the details of the 13,265 new listings in the month of March, a total of 377 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The land area of the property defines the categorisation of Lifestyle property. The criterion is a property having in excess of 0.3 hectares and being situated outside metropolitan areas.

Seasonally adjustment

The core data for the NZ Property Report is seasonally adjusted to better represent the core underlying trend of the property market in NZ. In preparing this seasonally adjusted data Realestate.co.nz is grateful for the assistance of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) who use an X12 ARIMA methodology to calculate seasonally adjusted data.

Background to Realestate.co.nz

Realestate.co.nz is the official website company of the real estate industry of New Zealand, it is an industry owned web business providing online marketing services to the real estate industry. The shareholders in the business comprise the REINZ (50%) and six of the largest real estate companies (50%).

The business operates a portfolio of websites all focused to specialist sectors of the real estate market:

Realestate.co.nz is the heart of the business and is focused to the residential property market. It features the most comprehensive selection of property for sale and rent across NZ. The website attracts a significant monthly audience of over 400,000 unique browsers, with over 110,000 of those visiting from countries outside of NZ.

nzFarms is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of farms and agricultural businesses on the market across NZ. At this time it features around 5,000 listings for all types of farms and agricultural land as well as over 11,000 lifestyle properties.

Prime Commercial is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of commercial property for purchase or lease on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 27,000 listings for all types of properties – retail, commercial, industrial and investment properties.

Prime Business is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of businesses for sale on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 4,300 listings for all types of businesses – retail, tourism, wholesale as well as franchise opportunities.

Zoodle is a specialist property information website providing very detailed data on all residential properties in NZ. The database comprises over 1.6m properties with detailed specifications, map and local amenities. The site provides online reports for free and for purchase covering valuation and legal information to greatly assist the needs of property buyers and sellers.

The web business of Realestate.co.nz site is the most comprehensive real estate web operation in NZ, currently hosting over 110,000 listings, covering this portfolio of residential property for sale and rent, commercial property for sale and lease, rural properties and farms, as well as businesses for sale. With a subscriber base of over 1,000 offices, the company represents over 95% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ.

 

The full NZ Property Report for March 2011 can be downloaded here (1.2MB pdf document). Additionally the raw data is accessible here as an Excel spreadsheet enabling anyone to analyse the raw data and establish any trends or observations.

Usage rights are governed under attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for April 2012 will be published on this website on Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 10am.

Article Discussion

  1. Five factors seem to be the main drivers of strong price increases in the central suburbs of Auckland City, particularly in the Pt Chevalier, Westmere and Grey Lynn areas:

    1) Not enough homes available on the market
    2) A massive volume of cashed up unconditional buyers
    3) Banks offering big discounts on their published floating and fixed rates!
    4) Banks once again offering mortgages with low equity
    5) Virtually nothing new being built with consent levels at low levels

    Record prices are being achieved in Pt Chevalier, Grey Lynn and Westmere and the median price in these areas is now well beyond the previous 2007 peak.

    If listing levels stay as low as they are then we could see 10% to 15% price growth in these and many other suburbs throughout 2012!

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