The Auckland residential property market was in full recovery mode before being stopped in its tracks by the Covid-19 lock down, according to Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson.
“Confidence in Auckland property was high in February and the first weeks of March, and new listings, sales numbers and prices were at their highest for a number of years,” Mr Thompson says.
“New listings for March at 1763 was the highest in 17 months.
“Sales at 1096 were above 1000 in a month for the first time for two years.
“The average sales price at $993,528 was a new high, and almost $25,000 higher than the previous high set in March 2017.
“And the median price at $925,000 was also a new high, being $25,000 above the previous high also set in March 2017.
“March’s excellent sales figures built on the platform established by January and February trading and our first quarter sales were the best since 2016.
“Without the intervention of Covid-19, we could have anticipated the market’s momentum to have run through to late autumn.
“A factor that affected both the average and median sales was the exceptionally high number of properties that sold in the $1 million plus and $2 million plus price categories.
“In March we sold 479 properties for in excess of $1 million, which is more than we sold at the height of the 2016 price cycle.
“Of this number, 61 were for more than $2 million, our highest number of sales in this price category since March 2018.
“At the end of the month we had 3969 properties on our books, the highest number since June last year.
“Through the use of online technology, sales activity has continued through the Covid-19 lock down. Buyers are undertaking viewings through listings on our website, with our sales people progressing negotiations through a variety of technologies.
“While the close down is having an effect on sales numbers and will likely to do so until Level 4 is lifted, market activity continues to tick over.
“Although it is not possible to predict where the market will go in the short term, vendors and buyers might want to look to the past and take a medium term view of market prices.
“During the major economic downturns that occurred in 1987, 1997 and 2007 house prices did not decline beyond 5% at most. And following the declines, prices recovered within 12 to 18 months.
“Activity was high in the lifestyle and rural markets right up to the point when the lock down was imposed, and these markets recorded their highest sales numbers in a month for two years.
“During the month, we settled 60 sales to the north and south of Auckland with a combined value of a little under $100 million.
“The Coatesville market was particularly active, and this was due in part to subdivisions coming to market by way of the transferable title provisions enabled under the Unitary Plan. Small blocks around Coatesville are attracting a lot of buyer interest.”