Decade ends strongly for property sellers with high asking prices, low availability

For the first time, the year ended with all-time high national average asking prices in the property market, combined with record lows in new listings and total homes available for sale.

House for sale Source: Breakfast

The national average asking price tipped over $700,000 for the first time since records began 13 years ago, according to 

The last recorded high was in January 2019 when the national average asking price peaked at $695,116. It then dropped back gradually from February 2019, bottoming out at $649,662 in April 2019 before climbing steadily through the rest of the year. 

In December, the national average asking price hit $703,780. spokesperson Vanessa Taylor said, "despite some peaks and troughs, average asking prices nationally are continuing to rise."

There were record average asking prices in the Bay of Plenty (increased 10.7 per cent on the same time the previous year to $722,106), Nelson & Bays (increased 19.6 per cent on the same time the previous year to $763,904), Southland (increased 21.2 per cent on the same time the previous year to $374,636), Marlborough (increased 5.9 per cent on the same time the previous year to $538,467) and Manawatu/Wanganui (increased 25.4 per cent on the same time the previous year to $450,673).

"The only regions where the average asking price has decreased, since the same time last year, are Auckland and the Wairarapa and even then, the decreases are just marginal at 1.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively," Ms Taylor said. 

Meanwhile, the total homes available for sale have hit an unprecedented record low. 

Data shows that there were 24.5 per cent fewer homes available for sale than in December 2018 with only 18,230 properties available for sale around the country. The last time there was a similar dip in was in July 2016 when housing stock dropped to 20,682.

Ms Taylor said the decade ended strongly for sellers.

However, "with our population growing at a rate of approximately 60,000 people per year over a 10-year span, significant demand for housing is likely to be putting pressure on our property market", she added.

"In 2020, the total population of New Zealand is estimated be nearing or exceeding 5,000,000, so we might see this stock shortage continue for some time."

As for listings, they dropped below 6000 for the first time, to 5528 listings nationwide – a decrease of 10.7 per cent since the same month the previous year.