Stand by Aucklanders, a lot more listings are coming

The lack of houses for sale is frustrating. But top agents say the listings are coming.

20 January 2021

78 Gribblehirst Road, Sandringham, Auckland City, Auckland

You’ve started the year determined to buy and found you’re by no means alone at the open homes. And you’ve heard that inventory is at its lowest levels in 13 years.

But before you become downhearted, Auckland’s active agents are readying more properties for sale as we speak and are all set for a very busy selling period from January through April and beyond. They’re out doing appraisals on homes at the moment too.

Bayleys’ National Sales Director, Residential, Johnny Sinclair says there’ll be an “avalanche” of properties coming on in the next two weeks. And this isn’t only coming from Bayleys, it’s the message Mr Sinclair is hearing from Ray White and Barfoot & Thompson too.

Barfoot & Thompson auctions manager Campbell Dunoon confirmed the Auckland firm was already very busy for the New Year. The amount of auctions Barfoots will have done in January 2021 will be more than the last four Januaries combined, he says. There are around 50 auctions scheduled for this week alone.

Meanwhile, in February, there are considerably more auctions scheduled than last year at Barfoot’s, and these aren’t properties brought over from 2020, these are new listings that have come on in January and February.

“Typically, March is one of the busiest times of the year so there's more to come,” he adds.

Top agents at Bayleys already “jam packed” with listings

At Bayleys, Mr Sinclair says the top performers are “jam packed” with listings, to the point where any more properties they win in the next few weeks will be shared among the other agents on the team.

All the indications are that, in Auckland, the momentum is continuing, says the director.

Mr Sinclair’s out house hunting himself for his family and he’s excited to see what comes on in the next couple of weeks. Buyers need to have a choice, he says.

With such a good volume of listings anticipated, the Bayleys director says he’s hoping to see a plateauing of the price rises seen last year.

The volume of listings coming on will also give vendors confidence that they’ll be able to find something else, says Mr Sinclair. “The final piece of the jigsaw is making vendors have the confidence that if they put their property on, there will be more property in the market to buy. You don’t want a Mexican standoff,” he says.

It’s not that inventory is low, it’s just moving very fast

While you might hear it said that inventory is the lowest it’s been in 13 years, the reality is the number of new listings aren’t a million miles away from previous years. The real difference is that homes are just selling more quickly than they were this time last year, says Harcourts’ Managing Director, Bryan Thomson.

People keep saying that there’s a lot less property on the market but the reason for this is the days on market have shrunk, he says.

“Normally, when it’s slower the bank of listings grows, but at the moment the market is very active, and homes are selling more rapidly, so the bank is not as big,” he explains.

The message to buyers is you have to be very well prepared,” says Mr Thomson. “Understand your financial capacity and criteria and be ready to go when a property comes to the market.”

It’s no surprise that listings are coming in strongly, he says. “Human beings are herd animals. When they see the market is strong, then they’re encouraged to sell and when buyers see others buying, more want to buy. It’s human behaviour,” he says.

Mr Thomson is pleased to see in areas like South Auckland, where developers and investors are competing, that there’s a lot of regeneration going on and the demand for development is very competitive. “Developers know that there’s not enough property out there and they’re competing furiously to develop,” he says.

The only solution to increasing supply is to satisfy the demand, he adds.

Don’t underestimate the shock Covid-19 has given people, he says. When people have a serious illness they get on and do something. They think: “This is not forever, let’s do what we dreamed of doing.”

“It’s a seismic change, that’s what’s driving the behavior,” he says.

Mr Thomson says the year’s highest proportion of selling happens in January, February and March and he believes the market will be very active over the next period of time.

What the agents say

Busy Ray White agents confirmed that they were counting on a very busy next couple of months. Kingsland and Western Springs agent, Tim Hawes had 800 attendees to seven open homes in his first weekend back in January. “There are still lots and lots of people,” he says.

Mr Hawes, who’s prepping eight new listings in the Kingsland, Western Springs and Grey Lynn area, says the homes will be brought on in dribs and drabs thanks to the two upcoming long weekends Auckland Anniversary Weekend and Waitangi Day.

Nearby in Mt Albert, Ray White’s John Covich has around seven listings ready to start in the next couple of weeks factoring in the long weekends.

“We’ve got a lot of people talking to us,” he says. And he has a beautiful large Mt Albert home coming up on Lloyd Avenue which he expects will get a lot of attention.

Agents are the busiest they’ve ever been

Harcourts agent and business owner, Abbey Davis, who sells in Sandringham, Epsom and Mt Eden, says she’s the busiest she’s ever been in her career. She’s doing triple the business she was last year. “This time last year I was still on holiday,” she says.

She’s promising buyers more homes in her market to look at. “I’ve got a whole lot launching this week. I’ve got eight going live this week and as an office we launched a few last week.” And she’s busy appraising homes at the moment too.

Prices will be property specific and have been affected by a lack of supply but that’s about to change, she says.

78 Gribblehirst Road, Sandringham, Auckland City, Auckland

“There’s some amazing listings coming on,” says Ms Davis, who has listed a stunning villa in Sandringham that’s going to have buyers swooning.

“There’s definitely stock coming on and most of these sellers have purchased and are committed to selling,” she says.

February will be a good month for more listings too, according to active Auckland agents. Some sellers will wait until the kids are back at school, says Lawrence von Sturmer, from Professionals, currently marketing a family home in Pt Chevalier’s Hawea Street.

32 Hawea Road, Point Chevalier, Auckland

He says he could do with another 20 bungalows to sell but owners often won’t list until they’ve found their next home. He’s doing some appraisals but in Pt Chevalier the homeowners often don’t want to put the home on the market until the kids are back and out of the way, he says. A number of clients also wanted a proper break this summer before coming back to make real estate moves, he says.

At the luxury end - sellers are taking their time

The volume of listings expected in the coming months for high end properties looks promising but it’s unlikely to be a deluge, according to luxury agents.

Jane Guy, Managing Director of Premium Real Estate says the firm’s clients generally like to take a bit of time to start the process and are still on holiday. In normal times, it would be mid February before they look at listing their homes.

“There’s certainly a reasonable supply line coming through though we won’t have the full picture until the kids go back to school,” she says.

“There’s definitely a lot of buyer interest at the higher end of the market, it’s very active, but the very astute sellers pick their time to sell, adds Ms Guy.

Premium Chief Operating Officer, John Hastings, says he’s seeing a good number of properties ready to be listed over the next year.

Rather than quantity, there are good quality properties coming on, he says “What we’re seeing is New Zealanders wanting to do something. People have moved from sitting on their hands, to saying: “We want to do something or we want to downsize, or we think we want to be by the beach,” there’s a whole lot of drivers.”

293B St Heliers Bay Road, Saint Heliers, Auckland

Luxury agent Michael Boulgaris, selling a beautiful architectural home in St Heliers, says there’s a good balance of stock available at the moment. After being in real estate for 34 years he’s getting calls from clients he sold to 25 years ago wanting to list.

On the buyer side, he’s had a few calls in the last fortnight from clients with a $10 million to $20 million budget,. They’re exhausted from the travel and lockdown, they’re off to the Bay of Islands for a couple of weeks, and as soon as they’re back they want to meet and see properties, he says.