Hawke’s Bay’s property market is leading the charge with the second highest median price increase among the regions, year on year.
The latest Real Institute of New Zealand (Reinz) data revealed the region has experienced a double digit median price increase of 18.3 per cent compared to September 2016.
Across Hawke’s Bay the median price rose $60,500 year on year, with prices rising 28 per cent in Napier, and 11 per cent in Hastings.
The September median price for Napier was $430,000, $375,000 for Hastings, and $300,000 for Central Hawke’s Bay. There were no sales in Wairoa last month, but its August median price was $190,000.
Tremain Real Estate managing director Simon Tremain attributed this growth to a “massive drift” of buyers coming down to Hawke’s Bay from centres like Auckland, or Tauranga in search of a good lifestyle option.
“I always thought we were the undiscovered secret of New Zealand and I think we are starting to finally be discovered,” he said.
“Everyone that comes here loves the place, talks about it, and it starts attracting people. I think we’ve been really affordable in comparison to the rest of the country, as far as our property prices have gone I still think we’re affordable.”
While prices are rising sales volumes are down, falling an average 22 per cent compared to September 2016 – or 191 last month, compared to 246 a year ago.
Sales fell 29 per cent in Napier and 23 per cent in Hastings – but rose 70 per cent in Central Hawke’s Bay.
Property Brokers regional director for Hawke’s Bay Paul Whitaker said he thought there were a number of factors contributing to this – including the election, undersupply, and “therefore people not having the confidence to put their house on the market”.
But already this month Mr Whitaker said they were seeing a “freeing up” of stock and the beginning of a momentum shift to more properties coming on the market.
“That’s definitely a positive for us, we’ve seen a slight slow down in sales, but still, good properties, well presented, and with the X-factor are still attracting multiple offers and selling well.”
While Hawke’s Bay was up year-on-year, compared to August 2016 the median price decreased by 3 per cent, or $13,000 – falling 6 per cent in Hastings but actually increasing by 20 per cent in Central Hawke’s Bay.
While things might be slowing elsewhere, Central Hawke’s Bay is bucking the trend with both its median price, and sales volume rising last month from August.
Harcourts CHB co-owner Michael Harding said they had seen some very good results, with a “reasonable” amount of stock to sell, and some great sales in the past few months.
“I think people are starting to realise that CHB is good value for money,” he said. “The thing supporting our market is that we have traditionally been cheaper than Hastings and Napier and Havelock North, and people are buying sections down here and commuting.
“Our price has risen but we’re still comparatively cheaper.”
Also, Mr Harding said CHB tended to lag behind Napier and Hastings in trends, “both on the way up and on the way down”.
Reinz figures showed Hawke’s Bay had the second lowest level of inventory across New Zealand, with just eight weeks of supply – this is two weeks less than in September 2016.
“We’ve just got too many buyers in the market place,” Mr Tremain said. “It all comes back to volumes of sale.
“If they do continue to come off then the market will have an issue, but I see those volumes continuing to be high. One of the reasons the volumes are a little bit low in comparison to other months and other years is that our stock inventory is very low.”
Across Hawke’s Bay the median number of days to sell improved by two, compared to both August 2017, and September 2016.
Reinz chief executive Bindi Norwell said overall the Hawke’s Bay market had been relatively slow in September, with many buyers and sellers waiting for certainty after the elections.
“However, we believe things will improve in the coming months,” she said.
“Last month the region experienced record median prices, so it’s no surprise that vendor price expectations have risen around 10 per cent compared to August 2017. There are around 30 per cent fewer first-time buyers in the market than the previous month, suggesting that price expectations are starting to impact this group.”
Nationwide, the “soggy start to spring” combined with the “election effect” had a significant impact on the number of sales across the country – with the lowest number of sales in the month of September for six years.
“However, it’s not all doom and gloom as there are pockets of the country experiencing increases month-on-month and median prices are increasing in the majority of regions across the country.”
Median residential property prices across the country increased by 1.2 per cent year of year to $525,000. Sales volumes fell 26.2 per cent since September 2016.