Across New Zealand, the number of residential property sales decreased 28.6% in January 2022, from 5,135 in January 2021 to 3,665. While market activity is expected to reduce over the holiday period, when we look at the seasonally adjusted figures there is a 5.3% decrease from December to January. Allowing for the usual seasonal trends, this January is weaker than a typical first month of the year.
Excluding April 2020, which was heavily affected by the first COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown, this was the lowest sales count for New Zealand and New Zealand excluding Auckland since January 2011. These figures are reflective of the usual slow down in activity over this period, perhaps magnified by more people focusing on the holidays following extended COVID-19 restrictions and headwinds such as LVRs, the CCCFA and interest rates impacting the number of active buyers in the market.
A move to the Red traffic light setting has had less of an impact on activity, and out of town enquiry has been restored. However, we are seeing a decrease in the number of first home buyers and investors in the market, and quieter auction rooms and open homes.
This may point to access to finance, exacerbated by changes introduced in December to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) — currently under review, as having a major impact. The predominant concern for buyers is no longer availability of stock but rather financing. The percentage of home loan applications that were approved dropped from 39% in October to 30% after December. The longer-term impact will be seen in the numbers of buyers in the market in coming months.
Median prices for residential property across New Zealand increased 20.5%, from $730,300 in January 2021 to $880,000 in January 2022.The median residential property price for New Zealand excluding Auckland increased 24.6% from $602,000 in January 2021 to $750,000.
Auckland’s median residential property price increased 20.6% annually, from $995,000 in January last year to $1,200,000 — down 6.3% on December. The seasonally adjusted figures show a marginal decrease from December to January of 0.3%. Two districts in Auckland reached record median prices: Franklin District ($1,050,000) and Rodney District ($1,350,000).
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