More New Zealanders are forecast to move house next month than at any other time this year, according to a survey which predicts more than 1000 residential shifts a day based on a three-year trend.
Kit Greer, chief executive of Kiwi business iMoved.me, has studied the last three years of house sale and rental bond data and found March is by far the busiest month, probably due to the end of the holiday season and good weather.
"It's March moving madness," said Greer, chief executive of the Auckland-headquartered business which helps people update their contact details when they shift.
House sales information from the Real Estate Institute and bond data on rental properties from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was used to measure shifting activity.
Last March, 9527 property sales were reported nationally, the highest number for any single month in 2016, Greer said. Similarly, 20,178 total bonds were recorded as being lodged, again the most for any one month he said.
He combined these figures to find activity on more than 800 properties being sold or rented nationally on each day in March in the last three years.
"Following the previous years' trends (2014 was 800 shifts/day 2015 was 878, 2016 was 958), March 2017 is set to tip over 1000 homes on average per day, moving around New Zealand, the highest in the last three years," Greer said, adding that it was probably an all-time high.
"March has no national public holidays. Schools and unis are all back to their normal pace. It's arguable that any big decisions to be made, like moving, will be made when work is more stable and the expensive Christmas break and holidays are over, budgets are repaired and finances are more predictable again. Universities also start their first semester and many move from home to be nearer to uni," Greer said.
"Sales tend to be fairly consistent throughout the year from March to December, dropping off in December and taking time to build momentum back up in January and February. Rentals are the more fluctuating market where the differences can vary in the thousands between months," he said.
Although about 1000 property movements are anticipated a day next month, that could involve 2000 or more people a day, he said.
"I've just identified the numbers of properties, not the number of people which means the numbers would be much higher," he said.
Kiri Barfoot, a Barfoot & Thompson director, confirmed that March was the busiest of the year for her firm's rental and sales.
"It's normally busier than February. January can be a bit of a write-off because everyone's going on holiday and there's long weekends, so people are back by February and thinking 'ah, I want to sell my house' so it's probably March by the time it sells," she said.
Rental inquiries could be strong in December, January and February but March was probably one of the agency's busiest months, she said.
"All properties look wonderful in March don't they?" Barfoot said.
"We had one property in Epsom with over 100 people wanting to look at it," she said of a two-bedroom place going for $395/week but in Epsom school zones.
Barfoot has more than 40 per cent of Auckland residential sales and manages more than 14,000 properties here and in Northland. Average Auckland rents were $547/week last January but had jumped to $573/week last month, Barfoot said.
Bindi Norwell, Reinz chief executive, confirmed the trend.
"March is one of the busiest months for the housing market, with our data showing it to be the biggest month for sales over the past four years, followed by May and November. March does present a more settled period with most holidays being over and routines returning for schools and universities. For many it also marks the end of the financial year which could be a factor for investors," she said.
Reinz is due to release its national sales data for January today.