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REINZ figures show lowest number of properties sold for the month of December for 7 years

By Bob Mountfort

The 2018 year ended with a fizz rather than a bang, with the lowest number of residential properties sold in the month of December for 7 years, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) released last week.

Excerpts from that report outlined that Auckland experienced the largest annual fall in number of sales in the country. The number of properties sold decreased by -24.3% year-on-year (from 1,765 to 1,336 – 429 fewer houses) and was the lowest for the month of December in 10 years.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “While December is usually a quiet month as people focus on Christmas holidays, December 2018 was extremely quiet with the lowest number of properties sold in the month of December for seven years.

“December saw the Auckland market finish 2018 with a 9-month high in median price, but the reality is that it presented the same stable story that personified much of 2018 with the median price hovering within $20,000 of the $850,000 mark. However, volumes and days to sell were a different story, with volumes down 24.3% year-on-year and median days to sell at 39 days, the highest for the month of December in 17 years. First home buyer interest remained active in the central parts, particularly ahead of the January changes to the LVRs. Investor interest has declined, which is in part likely caused by the foreign buyer ban but also by the changes to regulation for landlords. Auckland’s median price peaked in March 2017 and while there are still some areas achieving record prices, for example Waitakere City, there is strong feedback from agents across the Auckland region that some vendors may need to take a more realistic approach to asking prices in order to sell their property in a timelier manner.

Going forward, January is likely to be quiet as it’s peak holiday season, so we won’t get a true picture of the market until the February figures are available in early March.” said Norwell.

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