19 Nov 2021

House sale gains hit record high - with some areas hitting median profits of $555,000

5:42 am on 19 November 2021

The resale gains on houses have hit a record high, but may be at or close to their peak.

Sold sign outside a new house being built in East Auckland

File image Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

CoreLogic's latest "Pain and Gain" report, which compares a property's sale price with the previous price, shows that 99.1 percent of properties resold in the three months ended September made a profit.

That was marginally higher than the June survey with the median gain on sales rising to $363,000 from $355,000. The median resale loss rose to $35,000 from $30,000.

CoreLogic chief economist Kelvin Davidson said "It's certainly been a 'seller's market' in the past nine to 12 months, with the supply/demand balance tight and mortgage rates low".

Houses sold during the quarter had been held just over seven and it was almost "inevitable" that sellers had made considerable capital gains, although in many cases they were only on paper, he said.

"It's also important to note that for many owner-occupiers, a resale gain does not generally equate to a cash windfall, unless they're downsizing or relocating."

In the major centres, Wellington returned the highest "gain" with a median resale profit of $555,000.

The median gain in Auckland was $505,000 and $465,000 in Tauranga, with gains levelling out in Hamilton and Dunedin, but a growing momentum in Christchurch.

Dunedin was notable for have no loss-making sales during the quarter.

Cooling winds of higher rates

However, the current level of gains was possibly as good as it would get for sellers, with growing restrictions on lending and rising interest rates set to add to challenges - although the level of gains would remain high for some time, Davidson said.

"A clear property slowdown is looming in 2022, but the headwinds are expected to be a challenge not a crisis for the market."

Davidson had been surprised by the speed with which retail banks had increased their lending rates, which had seen fixed rate loans rise a couple of percentage points in a short period.

"It's the expectation of what's to come and it's been pretty well signalled by the Reserve Bank that there'll be a series of official cash rate increases ... I think we're seeing that being priced in effectively straight away."

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