Real estate market slows further, sales fall

The real estate market has slowed even more, with the number of sales falling and houses taking longer to sell.

(File Image) Fewer houses were sold and properties took longer to sell, according to REINZ’s residential property report.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The latest residential property report from the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) shows that the house price index, which measures the changing value of properties, rose 6.3 percent in the year ending April compared to a 9 percent increase in March.

The seasonally adjusted national median home price increased 10.1 percent from a year earlier to $875,000.

But the median monthly price is down 1.7 percent since March, when it hit $890,000.

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The seasonally adjusted median house price, excluding Auckland, rose 11.5 per cent from April 2021 to $755,000.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird said that despite weakening demand and a drop in sales, prices remained high.

“We are seeing a slowdown in activity, there are more stocks staying on the market longer, and while annual price growth is more moderate, the monthly trend shows a drop in average prices.”

The number of homes sold fell 35 percent from a year earlier to 4,860 sold, and the median days to sell rose from nine to 38 days nationwide.

“A drop in attendance at open houses and auction rooms, and a decline in buyer inquiries in New Zealand, exacerbated by a series of bank holidays through April, was reported.

“Tighter credit criteria, LVRs and rising interest rates coupled with inflation continue to create challenges for some buyers, particularly first-time homebuyers and investors,” Baird said.

However, people backed by stocks and with job security in a low unemployment environment will continue to have opportunities in the market as more stocks increase choice.

“Owner occupants are the most present and active in the market, so while we see a decline in the mid to low price range, interest is strong in the mid to high range.

“OCR increases, most recently by 0.5 percent in April, have further affected affordability, and with the cost of ownership rising, property may appear less attractive,” Baird said.

But those backed by shares expected and paid less, he said.

“We have heard that buyers are negotiating more and more strongly, suggesting that power has shifted from sellers. This may continue in the coming months, with those committed to selling their property adjusting to suit the market.”

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