Sellers have made a modest resurgence in the housing market, but uncertainty around price direction has locked buyers and sellers “in a bit of a stalemate”, an analyst says.
Property listings website Realestate.co.nz has released its latest data for April.
The total number of houses for sale nationwide increased to 26,269 in April, up 1.1 per cent from April 2017.
ASB economist Kim Mundy said the uncertainty about law changes for foreign buyers appeared to be tipping as some sellers began to realise the effect of the changes might not be as big as they initially thought.
“But it does feel like the uncertainty is really driving behaviour, especially in Auckland where you are seeing sellers continue to sit on the sideline,” she said.
Mundy expected the trend to continue in the coming months.
The number of new listings in Auckland dropped 4.6 per cent, compared toa year ago. Nationwide listings were up 1.9 per cent.
The Wairarapa had the biggest fall in new listings, down 25.4 per cent. Hawke’s Bay has seen the biggest increase with 34.3 per cent.
Realestate.co.nz spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said: “On the face of it this increase [in new listings] looks relatively modest, but it’s a case of several smaller regions offsetting a volume drop in Auckland”.
Typically when Auckland “gets cold” the rest of the country also suffers, but this month the total number of new listings was padded by sellers in Canterbury and Wellington, Taylor said.
Cantabrians had the most dynamic market over the last month, with asking prices bouncing back 2.4 per cent and the number of listings up 30 per cent on last year.
Listings in the tight Wellington market increased markedly on a year ago year, up 13.6 per cent or 754 new listings.
“This is good news for the region which has been relatively starved of new listings,” Taylor said.
Mundy said Aucklanders looking to buy property had the added complication of “affordability constraints”.
“There’s a lot of talk about the halo effect, seeing that Auckland demand spreads out further and it almost feels like we’re seeing a third wave of that.”
Interest in the smaller regional centres was driving up prices there, as Aucklanders looked further afield for more affordable housing options, Mundy said.
Property searchers from Aucklanders dominated the regions, especially in Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Central North Island, Taranaki, Gisborne, Nelson and the Marlborough.
Listings in Otago were down 4.7 per cent compared to April last year, while 8 per cent fewer new listings were added in the Central Otago/Lakes region.