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Signs Of Recovery In The Lifestyle Market

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 264 less lifestyle property sales (-17.9%) for the three months ended May 2020 than for the three months ended April 2020. Overall, there were 1,207 lifestyle property sales in the three months ended May 2020, compared to 1,933 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended May 2019 (-37.6%), and 1,471 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended April 2020.

6,529 lifestyle properties were sold in the year to May 2020, 340 (-4.9%) less than were sold in the year to May 2019. The value of lifestyle properties sold was $5.39 billion for the year to May 2020.

The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the three months to May 2020 was $715,000 and was $25,000 higher compared to the three months ended May 2019 (+3.6%).

Brian Peacocke, Rural Spokesman, at REINZ says: “Putting to one side the easing trend in sales volumes for the 3-month period ending May 2020, figures for the month of May in isolation showed a solid bounce-back from the disastrous results achieved in the month of April 2020 when volumes for most regions dropped through the floor.

“For the month of May, all regions apart from the West Coast and Otago districts achieved a modest recovery, albeit well below peak levels.

“Given the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 Lockdown, the results are better than what may have been expected under the prevailing conditions.

“Advice from around the country confirm lending criteria from banks remains strict, and with unemployment predicted to mushroom, could remain that way for some time,” he concludes.

Points of Interest around New Zealand include:

  • Upper North Island - the Far North and Whangarei districts fared better than the lower North; Rodney district dominated Franklin on the Auckland city fringes; the Waikato doubled the April figures but the wider Bay of Plenty and Rotorua had a real struggle and could not really gain momentum, as evidenced by a drop in the median price compared to gains in the other districts
  • Central Regions - Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki recovered some ground from the previous month but the median prices confirmed Hawke’s Bay was the stronger of the three, with the other two regions losing ground
  • Lower North Island - Manawatu/Wanganui also recovered some ground but were still approximately 50% of the sales volumes achieved in March, with the median price taking a solid hit; Wairarapa/Wellington performed reasonably well and at $815,000 recorded the best median price for some years for that region
  • Upper South Island - Nelson/Marlborough bounced back to being close to their May figures with both districts faring similarly, albeit the median price slumped heavily to the level recorded two years ago ($830,000 $680,000); Canterbury also experienced a strong recovery in volumes with honours spread evenly throughout, the slight improvement in the median price confirming recovery is going well; the West Coast dropped in volume but improved in price
  • Otago/Southland - Otago volumes dropped heavily to be 40% of the May figures with the Queenstown/Lakes district being the most impacted with only one sale recorded; the median price edged up slightly from last month but is well behind the levels achieved at the same time in 2019 and 2018. By comparison, Southland recovered to a small extent from the May volumes and at $505,000, experienced the strongest median price for several years.

No regions recorded an increase in sales compared to May 2019. Canterbury recorded the most substantial decrease in sales (-137 sales) in the three months to May 2020 compared to May 2019. Compared to April 2020, no regions recorded an increase in sales.

Eight regions saw the median price of lifestyle blocks increase between the three months ending May 2019 and the three months ending May 2020. The most notable examples were in West Coast (+54%), Auckland (+16%) and Bay of Plenty (+16%) and the most notable exceptions were Hawke’s Bay (-25%) and Otago (-20%).

The median number of days to sell for lifestyle properties was 16 days longer in the three months to May 2020 than in the three months to May 2019, sitting at 77 days. Compared to the three months ended April 2020 the median number of days to sell was three days longer. Gisborne recorded the shortest number of days to sell in May 2020 at 36 days, followed by Wellington (51 days) and Southland (53 days). West Coast recorded the longest number of days to sell at 135 days, followed by Auckland at 99 days and Hawke’s Bay at 94 days.

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