Throughout the festive break, we experienced a steady flow of buyer activity with consistent numbers at open homes and plenty of enquiries. This momentum has continued throughout January, which is a positive sign as 2019 gets underway.
As per the ‘New Year new listings’ tradition, there’s been a noticeable increase in new properties coming to market. On the one hand this is great because buyers have more choice. But on the other, the increase in listings stretches out the average number of days properties spend on the market. We’re finding that the motivated sellers who commit to a well-structured marketing strategy attract more qualified buyers. While the less motivated sellers who are simply looking to ‘test the market’ are having to work much harder to secure a sale.
On the rental front, we’re in the busy period with our SuperCity Rentals team conducting 634 viewings by the 25th January, which are encouraging numbers with higher rents also being achieved throughout this traditionally busy period.
And to round up, a big change in the property sector meant that from 1 January 2019, all real estate agents across NZ have new obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act. We’re pleased to say that, since starting our internal AML process, there’s been little disruption to our day-to-day business.
If you want expert advice on buying, selling or investing in Auckland’s apartment market, give us a call and we’ll help you put your best foot forward in 2019.
One year ago (December 2017) the national average asking price for a home was $660,798 on realestate.co.nz, the country’s largest property listing site. One year later (December 2018) it sits at $673,043.
This 1.9% price increase is the lowest (year-on-year) for any December since 2012.
“While this may well be a correction rather than a trend, this past year has seen the market stabilise compared to the extremes of previous years,” says realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Taylor.
“We have had fluctuations in average asking prices throughout 2018 and in fact the national average asking price in December was 3.0% up on the previous month (November 2018).
“However, the modest 1.9% December 2018 increase compared to December 2017 reflects a smoothing out, compared to the upward trajectory of recent years.”
“One of the challenges for sellers and buyers at the height of rapidly escalating house prices in recent years was timing.
“Purchasing a house in a stable market reduces the pressure to make snap decisions,” says Vanessa
“The Auckland region has naturally dominated movements in the average national asking price due to its size,”
“In December 2018 the Auckland region’s average asking price of $953,950 represented a 2.9% fall compared to December 2017, but was a 0.5% increase on the previous month,” says Vanessa.
New property listings in December 2018 in the Auckland region were down 17.7% compared to December 2017 (1,569 properties).
House prices will continue to stay flat throughout 2019 – but there will be no market crash – Data recently released by OneRoof/Valocity shows that house prices across New Zealand were down 1 percent in the year to October 2018 (compared to October 2017). This is consistent with what would be expected during the flat period of the property cycle. Overall, the median New Zealand house price in 2019 will continue to “see-saw” between small increases and small decreases as most of those regions which are still seeing growth follow Auckland into a general flattening period – but there will be no nationwide crash in house prices.
There will be no further major changes to the Loan-to-Value rules – The Reserve Bank will generally maintain its current LVR settings. The LVR for investors will remain at 30 percent during 2019 – while the LVR for home buyers will stay at 20 percent. If there are any further changes to the policy they will be in the form of tweaks to the level of the ‘speed limit’ (the extent to which trading banks can have clients who have less than the required deposit) – and these may be increased in 2019 if the market remains flat.
Mortgage brokers say a new sub-4 per cent mortgage rate launched by a major bank could be the start of another mortgage war. From today Westpac is offering a one-year fixed term rate of 3.99 per cent – down 16 basis points on its standard rate of 4.15 per cent.
The offer is only available until February 1 and is only open to those with more than 20 per cent equity and a have their salary going into a transactional account at the bank.
Karen Tatterson, a mortgage broker with loan market, expected other banks to follow. “I think they probably will. I think they will probably be inclined to match it.” She said she was also able to get 3.99 per cent from Kiwibank over one year, an offer that had been available since before Christmas.
John Bolton, managing director of Squirrel Mortgages, said he had been surprised to see the Westpac rate but also expected other banks to match it. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see another one come up out with a 3.99 per cent in the next day or two,” he said. In November last year, ANZ – the country’s largest bank – offered a one-year fixed term rate of 3.95 per cent – the lowest offered by a major bank since just after World War II.
Other banks followed with ASB and Westpac matching it and BNZ offering 3.99 per cent over two years fixed.But by December 4 three of the four majors had put advertised rates back up over 4 per cent. Still, the short-term offer appears to have been worth it. Figures from ANZ show around 15,000 customers took advantage of the special. “This helped grow our market share in November, contributing to more than $500 million in new home lending,” said a spokeswoman for the bank.