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Million-dollar-plus Property Sales Increase Across New Zealand In 2021

2021 shows a sharp increase in the percentage of million-dollar property sales across New Zealand, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's (REINZ) Million Dollar Price Report.

In 2021, the number of properties sold nationwide for $1 million or more increased by 69.1% compared to 2020. In 2021, 30,873 million-dollar-plus properties were sold — up from 18,260 in 2020. Across New Zealand, properties sold for over $1 million accounted for 35.2% of sales, up from 21.4% in 2020.

New Zealand excluding Auckland saw the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold increase by 116.8% compared to 2020 — setting a new record for a calendar year. In 2020, 5,072 properties sold within this price bracket; this increased to 10,996 in 2021, which was 19.7% of total sales for the year.

In Auckland, the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold in 2021 increased by 50.7% compared to the prior year. In 2020, there were 13,188 million-dollar-plus properties sold, compared to 19,877 in 2021 — up 6,689. While this was a new record for the region, percentage growth seems to be mellowing. It is worth noting that 62.1% of properties sold in the Auckland region went for over $1 million.

Rowan Dixon, acting Chief Executive at REINZ, says: "2021 saw record price growth across New Zealand, and it's not just more expensive properties on the market — the market value of properties has increased.

"In December 2021, the median price for residential property across New Zealand reached $905,000. With annual percentage increases in price growth sitting in double figures throughout the year, a 69.1% annual uplift in the number of million-dollar-plus properties sold is not unexpected.

"While the number of million-dollar properties sold in Auckland increased 50.7% from 2020, percentage growth has slowed. This may in part be due to changing market conditions as interest rates increased and, towards the year’s end, changes to the CCCFA were introduced. Sales of properties sold for over the $1 million mark accounted for 62.1% of total sales.

"Most significant is the increase in New Zealand excluding Auckland, where there was a 116.8% increase in residential properties selling for $1 million-plus. Across the regions, when we look at the number of properties sold in this price bracket over 2021 compared to 2020, there is a marked increase. This is likely the result of a strong market underpinned by continued demand exceeding supply in many parts of the country. Also at play is a shift in buyer sentiment. As prices increase, lifestyle expectations change, and people look beyond the usual urban centres or rural pockets, we inevitably see demand — and consequently price growth — having a growing impact on more regions," says Dixon.

Regional breakdown

All regions saw an annual increase in the number of properties sold for $1 million or more in 2021, and all regions reached new record highs. In all but three regions (Auckland, Nelson and Otago) the number of million-dollar properties sold more than doubled compared to 2020. The region with the most significant percentage increase in the number of properties sold for $1 million or more was Manawatu/Whanganui — from 52 properties in 2020 to 212 in 2021, an increase of 307.7%.

In addition to Manawatu/Whanganui, the regions with the strongest percentage increases in the number of $1 million-plus sales year-on-year were:

  • Southland: +187.5% (from 8 to 23 properties — an additional 15 properties)
  • Taranaki: +182.7% (from 52 to 147 properties — an additional 95 properties)
  • Gisborne: +176.9% (from 26 to 72 properties — an additional 46 properties)
  • Waikato: +163.2% (from 711 to 1,871 properties — an additional 1,160 properties).

When we look at properties sold nationally in the $3 million-plus bracket in 2021, there was an increase of 81.6% year-on-year — from 835 in 2020 to 1,516 properties. The Canterbury region saw the greatest percentage increase, from 12 properties in 2020 to 35 properties in 2021 — a 191.7% increase annually.

Regions with the strongest increase in $3 million-plus sales year-on-year in addition to Canterbury were:

  • Bay of Plenty: +175.0% (from 20 to 55 properties — an additional 35 properties)
  • Hawke’s Bay: +133.3% (from 3 to 7 properties — an additional 4 properties)
  • Wellington: +133.3% (from 15 to 35 properties — an additional 20 properties)
  • Waikato: +93.3% (from 15 to 29 properties — an additional 14 properties).

There was also a 94.6% annual increase in $5 million-plus properties sold in New Zealand in 2021 — from 147 in 2020 to 286 properties. Auckland saw 248 properties sold in this price bracket, an increase of 93.8% compared to 2020. However, the most significant percentage increases were Canterbury, where five properties sold for $5 million-plus compared to one in 2020, and Bay of Plenty, which saw nine properties sell for $5 million-plus compared to two in 2020.

"Persistently strong demand for residential property throughout 2021 resulted in a year of records and rapid price growth across the country — despite regulatory changes, interest rate increases and COVID-19 restrictions. This is reflected in the number of properties selling for over the $1 million mark.

"At the top end of the market, properties selling for over $3 million increased 81.6% across New Zealand compared to 2020. Again, New Zealand excluding Auckland saw a significant uptick compared to the year prior, showing a 120.9% increase in properties selling in this price bracket. Further, in 2021 there was a 94.6% national increase in $5 million sales compared to 2020.

"Our December data does show signs of deceleration in terms of price growth. However, given the strength of the market, we will have to see how gathering headwinds play out in the coming months," Dixon concludes.


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