South Auckland has emerged as the city's hot spot for home sellers post Covid-19, while buyers would do better to look for bargains in the city centre, Henderson and Remuera.

That's according to an exclusive new house price index by analysts OneRoof and Valocity, which revealed Mt Wellington was arguably the best performing suburb for sellers.

The suburb's prices had risen 6.5 per cent since New Zealand went into lockdown on March 25 - the seventh highest rise in Auckland.

With investors pulling back from buying in Auckland's city centre and prices dropping, bargain hunters might be able to sniff out a good buy. Photo / 123rf
With investors pulling back from buying in Auckland's city centre and prices dropping, bargain hunters might be able to sniff out a good buy. Photo / 123rf

At the same time, 89 Mt Wellington homes had sold so far in 2020, the 11th highest number of any city suburb.

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That made it a great spot for home sellers because lots of deals were being completed at high prices.

Similarly, Takanini with a 5.7 per cent rise since lockdown and 85 sales in 2020, and Papakura with a 3.8 per cent jump and 139 sales were also seller hot spots.

Owen Vaughan, editor of NZME-owned property website OneRoof, said first-home buyers had helped drive prices up in many South Auckland suburbs post-lockdown.

"The cheap cost of borrowing has brought more first-home buyers to the market," he said.

"However, they are competing for a shrinking pool of available homes and this was pushing prices up."

Yet while prices had rebounded post Covid-19 in some South Auckland suburbs, there were still far fewer homes selling in 2020, indicating many sellers and buyers were unsure which way the market would go.

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Data by OneRoof-Valocity showed 46 per cent fewer Auckland homes sold during the first six months of 2020 compared with the last six months of 2019.

That equated to 5560 Auckland homes valued at $7.1 billion collectively selling in 2020 compared with 12,183 worth a total $19.6b selling in the final six months of 2019.

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New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdown in March and April during which house sales ground to a halt for close to six weeks clearly played a major role in the reduced sales.

However, James Wilson, director of valuation at property analysts Valocity, said the low sales volumes were also the "direct result of a cautious wait and see mentality" among sellers and buyers.

He said property investors, mum and dad home owners thinking about buying a better home and those interested in snapping up top end luxury homes had all pulled back from the market.

First-home buyers, on the other hand, were the most active buyers.

This drop-off in demand from key buyer groups had led to new opportunities, Wilson said.

Plenty of homes are selling in Remuera, yet prices are down 4.7 per cent since lockdown. That is offering buyers the chance to find a bargain. Photo / Nick Reed
Plenty of homes are selling in Remuera, yet prices are down 4.7 per cent since lockdown. That is offering buyers the chance to find a bargain. Photo / Nick Reed

Among those, Auckland's city centre was likely one of the best spots to hunt for a bargain.

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With investors less keen on buying due to the lack of foreign students coming into New Zealand during the coronavirus pandemic, city centre property prices had dropped 7.5 per cent post-lockdown.

Yet buyers still had choice. More than 200 city centre properties had sold this year, meaning hidden gems could be out there waiting for those willing to look.

Similarly, there had been 155 sales in Henderson - making it 2020's eighth highest selling Auckland suburb so far.

Yet prices had also taken a 4.7 per cent slide in the suburb post-lockdown, the OneRoof-Valocity house price index revealed.

Remuera was another suburb offering choice and the sniff of a bargain.

There had been 132 sales in the ever popular suburb, yet prices had fallen 4.6 per cent post lockdown.

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See Monday's OneRoof Property Report for more insights and data.