1 Feb 2019

House asking prices reaches all-time high

11:06 am on 1 February 2019

The national average asking price for a house has reached an all time high of nearly $700,000.

An auction sign outside a house for sale in Auckland.

(file pic) Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

According to realestate.co.nz the average price this January was $695,116, up 3.3 percent on December.

The increase was caused by eight of the country's 19 regions reaching record high prices, realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Taylor said.

She told Morning Report: "Typically, when we see national average all-time high asking price, it's usually driven by Auckland, that's our biggest city obviously. But this month we haven't seen Auckland shift too far at all, just a modest 0.7 percent increase."

However, the regions across New Zealand have really moved up, she said. The eight regions were Waikato, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson and Bays, Otago, Southland, Central North Island, and Manawatū/Wanganui.

"The largest asking price increase was in Central North Island, that was at a 7.9 per cent increase just shy of half a million dollars."

A proposed boost to tourism in the summer and winter months could be the reason for the spike in prices in the regions.

"When we look at trends, Auckland is the first one that kicks us off."

In 2015 and 2016 the asking price in Auckland was considerably higher, Ms Taylor said.

"In 2017 it slowed down ... 2018 very stable market in Auckland. Perhaps, that is what we are going to see. We have seen regions getting that injection of investment."

Stats from the real estate website suggested the likes of Aucklanders were looking around in other lifestyle areas like Northland or the Hawke's Bay. Wellingtonians were looking to Wairarapa.

Supply and demand were driving the prices up, with a fall in the number of listings available, and high demand, she said.

"One of the biggest challenges we have in New Zealand is we just don't physically have enough homes for sale. The likes of KiwiBuild we hope will get off the ground and will allow us to increase the supply."

There had been a 2.5 percent fall in the total number of houses for sale in January, compared with the same time last year.

Low interest rates meant it was also a cheap time to borrow money, Ms Taylor said, which was a factor, as was restrictions in lending rules being loosened up.

Past trends suggested that what was happening in Auckland would soon flow out to the rest of the country, but the average asking prices in the regions were continuing to grow.

Leading regions, January 2019:

  • Otago: $438,367
  • Wellington: $656,926
  • Waikato: $589,262
  • Nelson and Bays: $686,963
  • Central Northland: $492,622
  • Southlands: $332,051
  • Manawatū/Wanganui: $381,753
  • Gisborne: $417,794

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs