24 May 2023

Loss-making property resales at seven-year high - Corelogic

5:50 am on 24 May 2023
Devonport, Auckland houses

Auckland had the highest proportion of loss-making resales among the main centres Photo: 123RF

The weaker housing market has meant the proportion of properties resold at a loss has hit a seven-year high.

Property research company CoreLogic's latest Pain & Gain Report shows 6.1 percent of property resales in the first quarter of 2023 made a loss, up from 4 percent in the final three months of 2022.

Auckland had the highest proportion of loss-making resales among the main centres, with 13.2 percent being below the previous purchase price.

The median profit on the 93.9 percent of resales that sold for a gain remained high at $305,000, though below its peak of $440,000 in the final quarter of 2021.

Properties resold for a gross profit in the March quarter had been owned for a median of 8.3 years - unchanged from the previous quarter and in line with the long-term average.

For loss-making resales, properties were owned for a median of 1.8 years, up slightly from 1.6 years in the previous quarter - but it was still low compared to historical levels.

"It's important to remember, hold period plays a key role in the size of any resale profit or loss," CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said. "Even in a down market, owners who have held property for several years will still tend to see large gains at resale time.

"Owner-occupiers generally aren't making a cash windfall either, as the equity is generally recycled to make the next property purchase."

While Auckland saw the most pain, Christchurch - where house prices have been resilient - had the lowest proportion of loss-making resales at 2.7 percent.

Hamilton had the second-highest proportion of resale losses at 8.1 percent, followed by Wellington at 6.3 percent.

CoreLogic said apartment resales made up a bigger proportion of resale losses compared to other property types, with more than 28 percent of resales in the first quarter made at a loss.

Davidson said it was relatively uncommon for houses to make a loss at a resale, but that was changing.

"From only half a percent of house resales being made for a gross loss in Q1 2022, that figure has now risen to 5.1 percent. That's the highest since mid-2016."

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