More listings boost spring summer market up to Christmas

The hot Auckland property market is being driven by a range of buyers and sellers, united in their decision to move on.

29 October 2020

77 Albany Road, Herne Bay

For keen Auckland buyers the coming weeks are going to be like a game of musical chairs as they compete to find homes before Christmas.

But the good news is the listings are up for November as busy agents green light marketing campaigns immediately after the Labour Weekend.

October saw very healthy listings, and the indication for November is also positive, says Barfoot & Thompson’s managing director, Peter Thompson.

“There are a lot more listings coming on, so this will be favouring buyers more than sellers,” he says.

This is a buoyant property market for sellers.

“We’ve had the election, we know who’s governing”, he adds.

Although he described the market as “on a high”, he wants to see agents making sure they’re dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s.

Mr Thompson warned, to any vendors getting over-excited on price, if sellers want to overprice their home, it will just sit there.

A market where everyone is making real estate decisions

What explains the activity the Auckland market is seeing, is that all the main buyer groups are making a real estate decision at the moment, says Johnny Sinclair, Bayleys national director of residential.

Investors, first home buyers, families, expats, they’re all being active.

A whole lot of different things have hit the marketplace simultaneously, he explains.

Aucklanders are leaving the nest, first home buyers have got money to get into the market, everyone’s playing their part, all the pieces are moving, you don’t often see that,” says Mr Sinclair.

As people move, “everyone fundamentally moves up a clog,” says Mr Sinclair, who adds listings and campaigns are well up at Bayleys on this time last year.

In 2019, by comparison, there wasn’t a lot of stock at this time. It was like people were caught in a holding pattern and everyone was waiting for the controller to say you could land, he says.

“Unless you could buy something, there was a standoff. What’s happened now is there’s more traction with more listings.

LVR changes not a bother

And as the Reserve Bank deliberates if it will make any changes to LVRs (loan to value ratios), Harcourts managing director, Bryan Thomson says anyone who makes predictions of economic moves is going to have trouble.

“There have been so many predictions over the last six to eight months which were dramatically wrong,” he says.

“When you’ve got a market that’s got as much energy and momentum as this one has, buyers who wish to buy will find a way,” he adds.

Harcourts is seeing listings volumes rise which is no surprise as it’s peak selling season.

“People are looking to settle so they can go on Christmas break and know where they’ll be in January,” says Mr Thomson.

“Psychologically, we’re getting on with our lives. Listing activity is ahead of last year, and so is buying activity. The results in the auction room are in favour of sellers, there is multiple interest on most properties driven by the enticement of available mortgage funding,” he says.

We’ve got a very active and positive market with no barrier to people thinking about selling, he says.

Mr Thomson was very heartened to hear from the RBNZ that first home buyers are making up one of the biggest buyer groups.

Auctions the order of the day

As a swathe of real estate business is completed before Christmas, auctions are the order of the day. Barry Thom, head of UP Real Estate, says he has auctions booked up until Christmas already, which is not the norm.

And the auction schedule is always changing as a property comes on on a Wednesday or a Thursday, and is gone by Monday, he says.

18 Tole Street, Ponsonby

One of Mr Thom’s agents is reporting the $5 million plus market is seeing strong interest, an Eastern suburbs property attracting 50 private viewing appointments. And then people kept ringing even after it sold.

“The market is solid throughout,” says Mr Thom. “Money’s got to find a home. If you’re making a lot of money, if you put that money in the bank that will get you nothing, you may as well upgrade,” he says.

He doesn’t see it being a buyers’ market any time soon in the inner Auckland markets his firm works in. “The central Auckland supply is so tight, if you’re looking for preferred school zones and amenities, and want proximity to the city. There are no developers working in our part of town, I doubt there’ll be much of a shift.”

Ray White chief auctioneer, John Bowring, believes with more listings coming on in the coming weeks, there will be more choice for buyers.

“I think the run to Christmas will be just as big. It may be interesting, there were a lot of buyers and not a lot of stock, now there’s enough stock and enough buyers,”he says.

In recent months he’s been auctioning 120-130 properties per month compared with the more normal 70 -80. He sees this high volume continuing up to Christmas.

The auctioneer is seeing hot interest in certain price ranges, such as properties in the $1 million to $1.6 million range, but equally he’s seen strong bidding at the $5 million price mark too at recent auctions.

What the agents are saying

Agents who’ve seen unprecedented demand in the last few months selling are braced for an extremely busy November and December. Top Bayleys’ agent, Blair Haddow, who described the current market as “stimulating” says he’s doing twice the business he would normally at this time of year. He has five to six listings which will take him to the end of November and he wants them all sold by the first week of December ideally.

Buyer demand and off-shore inquiry is increasing from expat Kiwis, he noted. “I’ve had quite a lot in the last week from people in London and New York,” he says.

People are looking for the lovely villas of Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Herne Bay and St Mary’s Bay. “They want to be close to the CBD, and nice character homes that have been well modernised,” says Mr Haddow. They want the homes to be north facing, with garaging, and possibly a pool.

For Ray White’s John Covich, it’s traditional for people to wait to put their homes on the market until after Labour weekend, but he’s been telling vendors: “Why wait?”. He has a rolling group of listings lined up, three this week and another three next week and a lot of buyers ready and waiting.

10 Wesley Avenue, Mount Albert

Selling successfully is all about presentation, he says. His office has broken records in three areas including Mt Eden and Mt Albert. One beautifully presented home in Mt Eden’s Elizabeth Street sold for $3.25 million after a pre-auction offer of over $2.9 million.

“Records are tumbling everywhere. There’s a real desire to buy,” he says. According to Ray White figures from October the market is seeing four times the usual number of pre-approvals at the moment.

Predictions for post Christmas

Will this demand go quiet at Christmas? Harcourts’ Bryan Thomson says he doesn’t think things will settle down for long after Christmas.

“There’s always a good level of selling through January, it then peaks in February, March and April,” he says “We never took a break at the election, we’ll be busy right up to Christmas and people will be back into action after that. The market has real momentum and doesn’t stop,” he adds.

Mr Bowring expects to see agents back a lot quicker after the Christmas break than most years. Normally his first auction would be back on 12 February, he thinks it will be late January in 2021.

“I don’t think it will fall away. We get one of these markets every seven years,” he says. While it’s hot, everybody; agents, auctioneers and vendors, will be making the most of the conditions.