Regional Commentaries - March 2011
The pricing picture in the Auckland region remains mixed with rises in one part of the city being offset by falls in others, leading to no clear trend across the region. Auckland City's median price rose 5.1% compared to February 2011, but were 5.5% lower compared to March 2010. Manukau City prices showed the reverse trend, while only Waitakere City recorded gains in March 2011 compared to both February 2011 and March 2010.
The Auckland region was the strongest market in volume terms by some margin with all parts of the region recording stronger volume growth than the national results compared to both February 2011 and March 2010. Of particular note is the volume growth in Auckland City and continued strong volume growth in North Shore City.
Auckland's days to sell at 35 days were the shortest across the country, falling from 50 days in February 2010 and only one day longer than March 2010. Auckland's March 2011 days to sell is similar to results recorded for the month of March over the past few years.
The median house price for the Wellington region increased only 1.6% in March 2011 after a strong 10.4% increase in February 2011. Compared to March 2010 the region recorded a median price increase of 1.5%. Across the region the results were mixed, although pricing strength was seen in the Hutt Valley and Eastern Wellington.
Volumes across the region were up slightly less than the national result. The stand out suburb was Western Wellington where there was a near doubling of volumes in March 2011 compared to February 2011; however, the volumes for the suburb were flat compared to March 2010.
The Wellington region's median days to sell fell from 49 days in February 2011 to 37 days in March 2011, but this was 8 days longer than the 29 days recorded in March 2010. For the month of March the Wellington region recorded the third shortest days to sell after Auckland and Southland regions.
The median house price for Northland rose between February 2011 and March 2011 furthering the gains recorded between January 2011 and February 2011. Volumes grew solidly in March 2011 compared to February 2011, particularly for Whangarei City, but volumes remain weak compared with March 2010.
The strong volumes may be a result of investors returning to the market and agent feedback indicates that there is renewed interest in $750,000+ properties; a part of the market that has been very quiet for some time. Northland's days to sell fell to 94 days from 111 days in February 2011, which was a record for the region. Days to sell remains 12 days longer than the 82 days recorded for March 2010.
Prices once again fell across the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region during March compared to both February 2011 and March 2010, although there was noticeable price strength in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui/Papamoa on relatively strong volume growth.
Across the region, volumes were up solidly, but less than the national result, although Hamilton City, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui/Papamoa, and notably Rotorua volumes all performed better than the national result compared to February 2011.
The median days to sell fell to 64 days across the region, compared to 79 days in February 2011 and 48 days in March 2010. The number of days to sell is the same as in March 2009.
After recording solid rise in the median house price in February 2011 the result for Napier fell almost 10% in March 2011, although Hastings recorded a weaker result than Napier. Across the region house prices fell noticeably compared to February 2011, although more modestly compared to March 2010.
Volumes were weaker across the region than the national result compared to February 2011, but slightly stronger than the national result compared to March 2010. Overall a very mixed bag for the Hawkes Bay region.
The median days to sell was 52 days for March 2011 compared to 60 days in February 2011 and 42 days in March 2010. While the days to sell result was an eight day improvement this was less than the national result, which saw a 17 day improvement.
The Manawatu/Wanganui region recorded a relatively weak result for March 2011, with falling prices and very modest volume growth compared to February 2011. The strong seasonal lift normally occurring in March does not appear to have extended to this region, this year.
The median days to sell fell to 49 days in March 2011 compared to 65 days in February 2011 and 47 days in March 2010.
The median house price rose strongly in Taranaki Country between February 2011 and March 2011, however, this comes after a noticeable fall between January 2011 and February 2011. Because of the small dataset the medians for this suburb need to be treated with some caution. Across the rest of the region prices were weak compared to both February 2011 and March 2010.
Volumes across the region were also weak with New Plymouth City the only stand out, with volume growth above the national result between February 2011 and March 2011. There appears to be increasing buyer interest in lower priced properties with investment buyers starting to emerge across the region looking to expand their portfolios.
The median days to sell in Taranaki fell to 49 days in March 2011, compared to 64 days in February 2011 and 49 days in March 2010.
The median house price saw only a $2,000 drop in March 2011 compared to February 2011. Richmond recorded a sizeable drop in the median price, but caution is required due to the low volumes recorded in the suburb. Median prices were also down modestly across the region compared to March 2010.
Nelson/Marlborough was the only region other than Auckland to record a stronger lift in volumes compared to the national result, with Nelson City leading the way with a 48% lift in volumes compared to February 2011. However, compared to March 2010, volumes across the region were weaker than the national result.
In a reversal of last months result, the days to sell for the region increased whereas as the days to sell for all other regions fell, with March 2011 recording 56 days compared to 48 days in February 2011 and 37 days in March 2010.
The continuing impact of the February 22 earthquake can be seen in the volume results for Christchurch City with the number of sales down 21% compared to February 2011 and 68% compared to March 2010, although it is noticeable that median prices have remained relatively stable. This situation is likely to persist for some time as the city emerges from the effects of the earthquake and the rebuilding begins.
Elsewhere in the region the housing markets appear to have returned to normal with volumes across the region rising 8.4% compared to February 2011, after taking into account the fall in Christchurch City and volumes being up 2.9% compared to March 2010 excluding Christchurch City.
Volumes in Timaru have shot up, although there has only been a modest impact on prices thus far.
Despite the devastation of the earthquake the days to sell for Canterbury/Westland have fall from 57 days in February 2011 to 50 days in March 2011, although both these results are significantly higher than the 29 days recorded in March 2010. This data must also be treated with caution as a number of listings have of course been withdrawn from the market.
The median house price rose noticeably between February 2011 and March 2011 in Central, although the median price in Queenstown fell by 10%. Volumes in March 2011 showed no noticeable change compared to either February 2011 or March 2010.
The median days to sell for the Central Otago Lakes region fell from 67 days in February 2011 to 60 in March 2011, which is 10 days shorter than the 70 days recorded for March 2010.
The median house price for Dunedin and the Otago region fell during March, after rising in February 2011. Prices were also noticeably weaker compared to March 2010. After a strong showing with volumes in February the result for March was comparatively weak, with very little change in volumes in Dunedin City.
The median days to sell 50 days in March 2011 compared to 57 days in February 2011. The median days to sell in March 2010 was 29 days.
Median house prices fell noticeably across the region. Care needs to be taken with the Gore result due to the low number of sales and then fact that volumes are significantly lower in Gore compared to both February 2011 and March 2010.
The median days to sell for March 2011 was 36 days, an improvement on the 52 days recorded for February 2011. This was the second shortest number of days to sell across New Zealand for the month of March. The median days to sell was 34 days for March 2010.