Strong new September listings bode well for spring selling

September listings are up 40% for the Auckland property market and agency heads are reporting a record month.

13 October 2020

As Trade Me Property announces a 40% surge in new listings for Auckland in the month of September compared with the same period last year, and real estate agency heads report record sales for the month, the city’s property market is feeling extremely positive about the upcoming spring selling season.

Kiwis, ready to sell, are picking up the phone and asking for appraisals of their homes in October, say agents.

Barry Thom, co-founder of UP Real Estate, says that September sales volumes have taken 2020 to the agency’s best year since it started 27 years ago. Seller confidence is a big part of this.

“The buying side of the ledger has been maintained all the way through this year, but it’s taken two or three months for vendors to understand it’s safe to put the house on the market and not take a bath,” says Mr Thom, who adds UP’s average selling price is $2 million plus.

“There’s been pent up desire to sell on behalf of many homeowners who now believe,” he adds.

Mr Thom thinks what’s increasingly happening in Auckland is the neighbours are seeing the house around the corner sell for a lot of money.

“They think: "Wow, that’s not what I’ve been reading, I think we should have a go ourselves”.” he says.

Seller confidence is key

Harcourts managing director Bryan Thomson, who saw a 47% increase in new listings in the Auckland region in September, is anticipating a better October November for 2020 than that of 2019 if activity continues.

An improvement this spring would have been expected in the normal property cycle after a quieter 2018 and 2019, but it was by no means assumed in a year when the country was afflicted with Covid, he says.

“In the majority of New Zealand’s markets it’s more active than we saw last year. All things remaining equal, there’s no reason for this to change,” he says.

The reason vendors are stepping up to sell in the next couple of months is that they’ve seen reassuring activity in their markets, says Mr Thomson.

“What can happen in a strong selling market, is listings don’t match demand, people look around and there’s not a lot to choose from, and then you get a stand off because there aren’t enough sellers. We’re not seeing that,” he says.

People are confident that if they put their properties on the market, they’re going to find buyers for them and with more choice, thanks to a lift in listings, they will find something for themselves, he adds.

Sellers getting on and taking the next step

Sellers are moving on with their lives, explains the Harcourts MD.

“With the shock of Covid challenge, all of a sudden the whole community had a reality check that life’s not forever. It’s changed their philosophy and they’re getting on and doing things they’ve always wanted to do,” he says.

When you get an intergenerational shock, you rethink your priorities, he adds. And with no one travelling, there’s more discretionary spend, people have adjusted their economic behavior.

“The market feels really solid, the drivers aren’t going to change, the interest rates are low and investors, and people are trading up,” he says.

The election having no effect on the sellers

Meanwhile, as voting time nears, agency heads are seeing no effect from the election.

Bayleys national director of residential, Johnny Sinclair says: “We normally see a slow down pre-election,but we’re not seeing that slowdown,” he says. For buyers, cheap money is really fuelling everything, and it’s lifting markets right across the board from family homes to apartments, he explains.

Bayleys’ Auckland pipeline of properties for October November is really strong, with huge records set in September. As such, the nationwide agency is expecting a very solid end of the year for 2020, he says.

“I think the markets are saying:“If I’m interested in selling, now’s the right time,”” says Mr Sinclair.

Despite the listings surge in September, he’s still seeing a lot of frustrated buyers. In one instance last week one buyer was finally successful at their eighth auction. They’d been through a lot of disappointment.

Ray White chief operations officer, Daniel Coulson agrees that buyers still want more. Ray White’s appraisals are up 21.55% nationwide.

“This is an early indication that we are continuing to talk to more sellers in the market than we did last year,” he says. But he’s still anticipating that this will not be enough to satisfy the demand with sales 50.1 % ahead for the same period last year.

What the agents say

What are agents seeing in their Auckland markets? Bayley’s no.1 agent, Blair Haddow who sells in the $3 million plus range in the Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, St Mary’s Bay Herne Bay area says he has a handful of beautiful new properties coming on from the Sunday after the election and is confident there will be more.

“There are lots of different drivers for selling, some are downsizing, some are upsizing, some leaving town. One client is coming back into the city from Omaha, another is off to Queenstown,” he says.

8 Ring Terrace, St Marys Bay. Recently sold by Blair Haddow

As for the buyers, a number are spending a lot of money on nicer homes making the most of the financial environment. Mr Haddow is also seeing strong interest from an expat market looking at the $3 million plus market.

Busy Bayleys agent, Lindy Lawton who sells in Onehunga, says she is doing a lot of appraisals, more than usual. Based on this she is expecting October and November to be busy selling months.

And she has buyers ready. A lot of people are moving within Onehunga to go bigger or smaller and expats are looking there too, she says.

“It’s a very old suburb, it doesn’t have the same price tag as Epsom and Ponsonby but it’s a suburb with a lot of heart and soul,” she says.

Pt Chevalier, meanwhile has experienced another incredibly busy market in September, says Professionals agent, Jo de Beer. Her office has had 15 sales in September, when usually the number would be half at this time of year. Her latest listing near Walker Park in Pt Chevalier, with a spacious four bedrooms and two living rooms is likely to excite a number of locals looking to trade up.