New Zealand Law Society - Residential property sale volumes tipped to improve gradually

Residential property sale volumes tipped to improve gradually

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Winter will bring a further reduction in residential property sales, but longer term property information and analytics provider CoreLogic projects volumes to improve gradually later in 2019 and through into 2020.

This is due to the influence of the recent drop in the official cash rate, stronger-than-expected migration and the ruling out of a more comprehensive capital gains tax in sustaining demand for residential property.

In comments on the latest REINZ results for April 2019, CoreLogic Head of Research Nick Goodall says REINZ reported an 11.5% drop in the number of sales compared to April 2018.

Mr Goodall says the REINZ information reports that property values in New Zealand tracked sideways in April, according to the REINZ House Price Index "which is a better measure for evaluating property market performance than median selling prices".

"Of real interest was the continued drop in property values in the Queenstown-Lakes District. Values here have dropped 6.3% in the past three months.

"This is almost certainly influenced by the Government’s ban on Foreign Buyers, introduced on 22 October 2018. Two weeks ago Statistics NZ reported that sales to non-residents/non-citizens in Queenstown had dropped from 9.7% of the total a year ago to 2.7% in the first quarter of this year. The figure did not drop to 0% as Australians and Singaporeans are excluded from the ban, while anyone investing in an apartment development with at least 20 units can also continue to buy."

He says days to sell is also a key measure, and the results from REINZ were seasonally typical for this time of year.

"The figure flattened in Auckland (41 days) and drifted out across the rest of New Zealand (36 days). We expect days to sell to hover around these numbers throughout winter with a likely shortening in spring."

Mr Goodall says while REINZ reported 5,800 sales for April 2019 it must also be remembered those are sales involving an agent.

"We forecast there will be roughly 6,600 sales once all are processed by the councils. Month-to-month up to 20% of all residential sales are completed without an agent involved – at the moment however, it’s only about 12% - indicating the desire to have a professional involved in a sluggish market with reduced buyer numbers."