February Property Report: the heat is on, real estate is busy too

Open2view Mark Harris

There’s still some green land in Mark Harris’ part of the world, but it’s rapidly drying out. 

Checked the date lately?

Two more weeks and we’ll be one quarter of the way through 2013. A year that, so far, has been dryer than a cinnamon-eating contest during a James Bond movie marathon.

Activity in the real estate market, however, hasn’t even come close to drying up. If anything, it’s getting hotter. Perhaps it’s thus appropriate that I’m writing this in what is, at 27.1 degrees, currently the hottest city in the country. If anyone sees autumn around, tell him New Zealand misses him very much and we would like him to come home.

Right then, onto real estate:

From REINZ

(Temperature update: 27.2)

As we previously noted, January was a busier January than usual. Would this trend continue into February and beyond? Seems the answer thus far is mostly yes.

REINZ this week released their monthly update on Tuesday. Among their findings:

  • 6632 houses were sold last month, up 7.5 percent on February 2012.
  • Fewer listings, however, means the rate of growth is slowing; this 7.5% growth in sales volumes pails in comparison to the 34.4% jump between February 2011-12.
  • The median house price is $382.000 – up 7.6% on the same time last year, and getting closer to the record set last December.
  • Auckland’s median shot up to $535,000, while Canterbury/Westland reached a record $355,000.
  • We also asked last month whether the popularity of auctions was waning. We have our answer: 37.1% of Auckland sales were done under the hammer compared to 21.2% 12 months prior. Nationwide, the percentage jumped 80% between February 2012 and 2013.

There’s plenty more to read in the latest REINZ Residential Report – print it out from here, stick it in a plastic pocket and read it in the pool.

From Realestate.co.nz

(Temperature update: 27.6)

The NZ Property Report from realestate.co.nz also suggests a hot market:

  • The truncated mean asking price rose by 1% to $443,734. This differs from the REINZ figure in that it removes the outliers (that is the top and bottom 10%) and calculates from there how much people are asking for their homes. And with it being a sellers market, people are getting what they ask for and then some.
  • This large high over Auckland is caused by the continued lack of new listings. While we saw a decent number last month, with 13,145 houses coming on the market, this is still 2% lower than February 2012.
  • And with this news, we hit an all time inventory low. If Rob Muldoon rose from the dead and installed a house-listing freeze tomorrow, we’d sell out of properties in 26.2 weeks.

To see conditions in your region check out the full report.

 Open2view South Taranaki truck

Exhausted, a truck passes out in the Taranaki heat. Photo by Michelle Hoffmans.

From Auckland Council

(Temperature update: still 27.6 (plus warm air from fan = 28))

Auckland house buyers have been doing it tougher than most (though still managing to do it). Not to worry, said Mayor Len Brown last month – there’s enough land available inside the city to build 15,000 houses “right now”.

Seems “right now “ means something quite different in bureaucratic-speak. The reality is, as the Mayor admitted this week, we have just 2000 sections ready to build on, plus capacity for 15,000 more on undeveloped greenfield sites.

This requires much more work than building on brownfield sites – previously used land that can be redeveloped for residential dwellings. It’s enough to make you want to slip slop slap somebody.

What this means, in short, is we still don’t have nearly enough developed land to build all the houses we need.  New Housing Minister Nick Smith says Auckland needs to double the amount of land available to build on.

Meanwhile most of the Council is invested in their plan to intensify building in already existing suburbs. But even they’re subdivided on this; Dick Quax is firmly against high density housing, while deputy mayor Penny Hulse thinks it can be done well.

If you enjoy a good scrap, you may want to keep an eye on these greenfield versus brownfield battles. Although, with this drought, it may soon be impossible to tell which are which.

From you?

We just hit 27.7 so that’s enough from us. Is the property market too hot for you? Should Auckland be building outwards or upwards? Drop us a comment below or over on our Facebook page. No sweat.

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