Unsold houses at record low

By Sam Hurley

The inventory of unsold properties in New Zealand has fallen to the lowest point in six years with Hawke's Bay following the trend set by other regions.

The record shortage was driven by low inventory in all major regions, with Canterbury, Waikato, and Central Otago all witnessing new all-time lows. According to data released yesterday by Realestate.co.nz in the NZ Property Report the inventory of unsold homes on the market tightened to an all- time low of 25 weeks of equivalent sales in June.

The Hawke's Bay average fell to 32 weeks with the long term average at 40 weeks, the long term average for the country was 38 weeks. Just one region (Southland) showed an increase in inventory of homes on the market taking it above the respective long-term average of 34.

Realestate.co.nz marketing manager Paul McKenzie said the record shortage is not overly surprising given how fast the market is moving. "We're continuing to see a very heated market in New Zealand, inventory is way down on the long- term average of 38 weeks.

"Supply is the main culprit; there simply are not enough properties on the market at the moment. The traditional winter dip in new listings has contributed to this record low."

The average Hawke's Bay property asking prices for June, when compared with May, was $343,251, a 0.6 per cent drop. It is also a 1.4 per cent drop from June last year and currently sits 8 per cent under the peak asking prices seen in April 2012.

The national property price asking average was $450,178 for the same time frame, a 1 per cent drop. The picture for new listings across the country continues to show that there is a reluctance to bring new properties to the market.

Fourteen of the 19 regions reported new listings down on the previous year, with just 1 of those reporting a fall of more than 20 per cent.

Tremains Real Estate Limited managing director Simon Tremain said low listings numbers usually bring higher prices, however it is not abnormal to see this trend before or after a recession. Following the national trend, new listings in Hawke's Bay fell by 18 per cent from May, with 328 new homes coming to the market. The most significant drop in listings was seen in the West Coast, which fell by 26.5 per cent.

The number of new listings coming to the market in June was down 5 per cent on the same time last year. The 9082 new listings is the lowest number recorded in June in seven years and follows strong listing numbers in April and May. Currently 1513 properties are available in Hawke's Bay listings of homes for sale, down 13 per cent from June 2012.

"While we normally see listing numbers fall around this point of the year, the figure is still surprising, especially with the high level of demand from buyers we are currently seeing," Mr McKenzie said. Asking prices nationwide eased slightly in June, to $450,178, down just 1 per cent from the record high figure seen in May.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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