NZ market reaches turning point – Trade Me

Properties are selling faster, while prices increase except in NZ's two largest regions

NZ market reaches turning point – Trade Me

New Zealand properties for sale are selling faster and prices have increased for the first time in 10 months as the property market reached a turning point in August, according to a new Trade Me report.

The latest Trade Me Property Price Index showed median days onsite retreated to 68 days in August, down six days compared to July and after a steady increase throughout the year, while the national average asking price climbed 4% to $837,400 from July.

Signs the market is bouncing back

Gavin Lloyd (pictured above), Trade Me property sales director, said the marketplace measures days onsite as a key indicator of how the property market is tracking.

“In a hot market like we saw in 2021, properties were selling extremely quickly with the median days onsite dropping to just 28 days,” Lloyd said. “We well and truly hit the bottom of the market in July this year with properties spending 74 days onsite while the national average asking price reached its lowest point since June 2021. August, however, was a turning point.”

Aside from the median days to sell decreasing to 68, he said another sign the market had bounced back was vendors moving towards less price-transparent methods of sale.  

“We often see the method of sale for a property change depending on market conditions,” Lloyd said. “In a hot market, when demand is high and supply is low, we tend to see vendors move towards less price-transparent selling methods like auctions and tenders. In a cool market, vendors are more transparent about the price they want and therefore opt for methods like enquiries over or asking price.

“In August we saw a small but noticeable shift towards less price-transparent methods of sale with auctions making up 19% of total listings, up from 10% in July. The total number of properties listed with an asking price fell from 35% in July to 26% in August.”

Lloyd said the slight 0.4% lift in the national average asking price is yet another indicator that the property market has reached a turning point last month, as this was the first month-on-month increase since October.

“My advice to those who have been waiting for prices to reach the bottom is to get your ducks in a row, now,” he said. “If you have the deposit behind you, talk to a local agent and the bank, and get ready to make a move.”

Regions a mixed bag

Across the regions, several saw their average asking price increase in July, except for NZ’s two largest regions.

Recording increases were Canterbury (up 1% month-on-month), Hawke’s Bay (3%), Marlborough (3%), Otago (5%), Taranaki (0.2%), Waikato (1%), and West Coast (6%). Auckland and Wellington, meanwhile, were yet to follow the national trend with prices continuing to cool.

“The average asking price in the Auckland region fell 1.1% on July to $1,023,000 – the lowest since February 2021,” Lloyd said. “In Wellington, prices dipped under the $800,000 mark for the first time since February 2021 to $795,950, falling 1.8% on July.”

An uptick in vendors and buyers

Trade Me data showed a surprising increase in the number of properties listed for sale and Kiwis browsing property listings, at a period (July and August) when the market traditionally cools as buyers and sellers retreat over the winter months.

“The number of properties for sale increased 2% on July, giving prospective buyers more choice,” Lloyd said. “Buyers were also looking to make the most of the market conditions with a 1% uplift in demand for properties.”

Price drops by property size

Looking at properties by size, Trade Me data showed that small properties, or those with one to two bedrooms, had the biggest drop nationally when compared with August last year.

“In Pōneke (Wellington city), medium sized properties (three to four bedrooms) saw the largest price fall of 13% to just under the million-dollar mark at $978,750,” Lloyd said.

“Large properties (5+ bedrooms) in Ōtautahi (Christchurch city) bucked the national trend with a 7% price jump. However, despite this price bump the average asking price was still $400,000 cheaper than its Wellington city counterparts and $1,300,000 cheaper than the same size property in Auckland city.”

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