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Auckland Apartment Market Virtually Active

By Daniel Horrobin

The Auckland City Apartment market has proven to be unshakable during the nation-wide lockdown as buyers secure properties while there’s less competition. Daniel Horrobin, Director of the Ray White City Realty Group, said the lockdown showed little impact on apartment sales in the city with their auction success rate sitting at 81.25% for the month of August.

A lot of the City Apartment stock has traditionally been sold sight unseen to investors who often bid online or over the phone which is not different to how the industry has been operating during Level 4. “Buying sight unseen is not an unfamiliar territory to us and that’s been really encouraging for us too,” he said. The buyers were treating the lockdown as an opportunity to get into the city apartment market while there was less competition.

Investors remain the biggest drivers of sales in the apartment market with a recent spike of first home buyers, who understand that it is one of the most affordable ways to get onto Auckland’s hot property market. Horrobin also noticed a higher rate of sales to buyers who are looking to add to the portfolio and already own a property in the same building, showing that they were happy with the initial purchase and transacted from just seeing the photos online.

“We’re also seeing a lot of first home buyers and that is driven by affordability. People are becoming very precious and that’s bringing more buyers into the city and fringe areas,” he said. The demand in sales was lifted as well as listing numbers increased from the start of August, which shows owners’ confidence in the current market.

“We’ve been overselling our stock and that’s been consistent over the last three to four month period which is out of the norm for the apartment market – we normally have more stock than what we’re selling,” Horrobin said. A lot of new stock is coming to the market in the next month as our Ray White City Apartments team are getting their vendors and properties ready to sell in the spring season.

“Some people like to jump on to beat others in the spring rush. It’s anticipated that we will see a steady increase in listing numbers,” Horrobin said.

Ray White SuperCity Rentals also saw increased activity in the apartment rental market, which remained stable between July and August. Comparing rents and vacancy percentage rates from July 2021 and August 2021 there’s a minimal difference with the average rents staying almost the same between the two months.

The vacancy rate this month is showing an increase of just over 1% from the previous month, which is a positive given there was no chance to physically show properties for the last two weeks of August. 

When the first lockdown hit over a year ago overseas students were heading back home leaving apartments vacant, however now those spots are filled by local students moving closer to universities. “Lower vacancies are driven by local students who are moving into the city and they are the ones filling up those vacant properties, which has been great,” Horrobin said.

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