New Real Estate Institute data showed 480 residential properties were sold during March's final six days when the level 4 alert was in place, down 62 per cent on usual activity levels.

Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, said sales didn't stop entirely due to online, telephone auctions or virtual tender processes.

In March before the lockdown, 1750 to 1950 properties were sold during each week, she said.

But that changed when lockdown came into force and real estate agents were not considered essential services. Attending auctions was banned along with open homes and real estate agencies shut their offices. Moving house was banned and only online or virtual activity could take place.


"In the final week, around 1100 fewer sales occurred as a result of the alert level 4 lockdown. That is approximately a 62 per cent decrease on what we would have likely seen otherwise," Norwell said.

Covid 19 coronavirus: Over 5,000 house sales left in limbo
Reinz figures show Auckland house sales at four-year high

Most of the 480 sales were already being negotiated or had potential offers waiting on them before the lockdown, she said.

Auckland was busiest with 22.1 per cent of the sales in the final week, Canterbury had 18.4 per cent and Wellington 10.9 per cent.

Auckland sales dropped 80 per cent on their usual rate during the lockdown. Just 109 properties were sold in that last week, down from an average of 534 sales from the three six-day periods prior.

one roof

Gisborne's sales dropped 83 per cent. Only two properties were sold there in the final week of March, down from an average of 12 from the three six-day periods prior.

Waikato sales fall by 77 per cent when only 31 properties were sold, down from an average of 135 from the three six-day periods previously.

Hawke's Bay was least affected with 29 per cent fewer properties sold than would be expected: 34 properties sold, down from an average of 48 from the three six-day periods prior, Norwell said.

REINZ will not issue its full April sales data till around the middle of May. That will show a far more dire effect on the housing market.

Meanwhile, a new survey by NZME-OneRoof has found most Kiwis believe house prices will fill due to the pandemic. But the crisis and resulting economic downturn haven't halted property plans, with almost half respondents saying they'll continue to either buy or sell this year.

The survey put property-related questions to more than 1000 Kiwis, including homeowners, first-home buyers and investors. More than half respondents said they had plans to buy or sell property this year, while almost a third said they had put plans on hold due to Covid-19.

More than 60 percent of buyers said they either had some confidence (36.8 percent) or total confidence (29.9 percent) that they would be able to find a home this year. Just 4.3 percent felt the Covid-19 restrictions would prevent them from securing a home.


Most respondents thought house prices would fall as a result of Covid-19. Thirty three percent said price drops were very likely and 31.5 percent said drops were likely.

Thirteen per cent of respondents thought changes were neither likely or unlikely, while small minority thought price drops were unlikely or very unlikely.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said that while it was heartening to see that Covid-19 hadn't entirely upended Kiwi plans to buy or sell, the survey did reflect the general feeling of economic uncertainty.

"The biggest fears respondents have right now are money-related. Thirty-three per cent were worried they would lose their job, and 35 per cent were worried they'd be earning less," he said.

"The biggest real estate concern is property values. More than 45 per cent of respondents are worried they won't get the money they expect when they come to sell their house.

"On the flip side, almost a fifth of respondents think price will rise and they won't be able to afford to buy," Vaughan said.


KiwiSaver is another area of concern. Fifteen per cent of respondents believe the recent drops in KiwiSaver's performance will affect their home deposit and their ability to buy.

Subscribe to Premium