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Agency says residential rental growth slowing

Barfoot & Thompson director Kiri Barfoot said on Monday Auckland had experienced the slowest rate of residential rent increases in years.

The agency’s quarterly data from the 16,500 rental properties it manages in the region showed rent increases trended down for most property sizes & areas throughout 2018, and this persisted in the final months of the year with the lowest rates of change yet, she said.

The average weekly rent for a “typical” Auckland rental property – the agency’s biggest category, the 6700 3-bedroom properties it manages – rose by just 3.1% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.

“In comparison, the same measurement hovered above 4% throughout 2017. We started 2018 at 3.9% and the increases progressively stepped down each quarter from there.”

Ms Barfoot said that, in real terms, this meant a 3-bedroom home in Auckland cost $564/week to rent in December 2018, around $17/week more than it did in December 2017.

“This slower, more steady rate of change is good news for renters, particularly when compared to the increases of $24/week or more that we’ve seen in recent years.

“What remains to be seen is how the market will accommodate the regulatory changes bedding in now, such as the removal of letting fees, as well as potential future changes to come from the Residential Tenancies Act review.

“While rents are still going up, it is unlikely the current rates of increase are keeping pace with landlords’ rising operating & compliance costs. Nor are we seeing the same level of capital gains which were appeasing many landlord’s calculations. We would expect that, eventually, something will have to give.”

Across all property sizes & areas, the average rate of increase in weekly rents was also at its lowest at 3.3% from the third to fourth quarter, moving up just $4 from the September quarter’s Auckland-wide average to sit at $563.

Only 2-bedroom properties outperformed the norm, increasing by 4.3% across all areas, while the increase for 5-bedroom homes fell to 1.5% in the fourth quarter.

In the eastern suburbs on the isthmus & in West Auckland, average prices for 5-bedroom properties decreased, indicating a softening in demand or potential oversupply for this size of property.

The average cost of renting in central Auckland rose the most of any suburb during the quarter, which Ms Barfoot attributed mainly to the number of large luxury apartments pulling in higher weekly rents.

Average weekly rent received across Auckland:

Quarter 4 (October-December) 2018 vs same period 2017

Number bedrooms % change Q4 2017 to Q4 2018
1 2 3 4 5+ Total
Central Auckland $409 $582 $1,108     $507 7.24%
Central suburbs $380 $506 $643 $812 $1,051 $611 3.44%
Eastern suburbs $385 $518 $674 $905 $1,081 $653 3.19%
Franklin/Manukau rural $312 $371 $451 $562 $650 $475 4.45%
North Shore $401 $484 $600 $743 $906 $620 3.83%
Pakuranga/Howick $346 $458 $562 $680 $804 $596 2.91%
Rodney $355 $442 $539 $664 $811 $559 2.20%
South Auckland $310 $414 $502 $604 $728 $502 3.86%
West Auckland $330 $431 $517 $624 $751 $520 3.57%
Auckland $372 $475 $564 $698 $860 $567 3.28%
% change Q4 17 v Q4 18 1.91% 4.34% 3.12% 1.70% 1.47% 3.28%

Table source: Barfoot & Thompson averages for managed tenancies as at end of each month in quarter. Categories with fewer than 4 tenancies aren’t included.

Attribution: Agency release.

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It’s a buyer’s market, says Barfoots chief

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson acknowledged last week – on the agency’s latest residential sales figures – that it’s become a buyer’s market.

“The Auckland property market ended the year edging towards its first decline in prices for 10 years,” he said.

His analysis is supported by Quotable Value Ltd’s monthly index release, out today, which showed the Auckland index just positive (by 0.4%) in the 12 months to November, but has slipped to 0.4% negative in the 12 months to December.

“In the past few months the tide has turned towards it becoming a buyers’ market,” Mr Thompson said. “The overriding market sentiment at present is indecision as to the direction the market is heading.

“A range of factors contributed tomarket uncertainty at year end. These included non-New Zealand residents being restricted from buying certain categories of property, the reported major decline of property prices in the major Australian cities, the potential for capital gains to be applied to investment properties in the future and concerns over world economic stability, in part caused by the trade friction between the US & China.

“The sales data for December masks that trend, but it shows up clearly in the year-on-year figures between 2018 & 2017.

“In December, the point was reached where it was vendors that were prepared to meet the market who were achieving a sale while those holding out for their asking price were not.”

Mr Thompson said residential sales rose 8.1% from 2017 to 2018, but the median price fell 0.8% to $836,792 in 2018 – “the first time the median price has fallen below that for the previous year since 2008, the year the impact of the global financial crisis affected house prices.

“The average 12-month sales price for 2018 at $929,910 is up on that for 2017, but by only 0.4%. Earlier in the year it was tracking between 1-2% above 2017’s average price.”

While the focus has moved from constant price rises, Mr Thompson said the standout feature of 2018 for him was in the under-$500,000 price category, where sales rose from an 8.9% share ofthe agency’s total in 2017 to 11.4%: “This increase can be linked directly to the higher number of apartments, terraced housing & townhouses hitting the market, giving first-time buyers & those on limited incomes far better access to property.”

He said the 555 new listings in December were in line with a year earlier, and the 4194 properties on the agency’s books at year end were also similar: “It will ensure that we start the year’s trading with buyers being offered the highest level of choice for 7 years.”

The figures:

Related story today:
Auckland house price chart turns from just-positive in November to just-negative

Attribution: Agency release.

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Residential market gets lift, but Barfoots chief adds price caution

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said yesterday residential sales, prices & listings all rose in October.

“In comparison with where the market has been for the past 9 months, October trading was extremely active,” he said. “Spring arrived, and the market came alive.

“The average sales price for the month, at $937,277, was the highest this year and up 1.5% on the average for the previous 3 months.

“The same trend is there with the median price, which at $860,000 for the month was also the highest it has been this year (along with that for March) and 3.9% higher than the average for the previous 3 months.

“In part, the increase can be attributed to the traditional upturn that comes with spring, but there was also a newfound confidence that prices were not going to retreat.”

Mr Thompson said the 884 sales for the month were the highest for October in 3 years, available property for sale the highest in 6 years, and new listings the highest for 19 months.

11% of sales were for under $500,000, 32% between $1-2 million, 5% over $2 million.

Despite all that extra life in the market, Mr Thompson cautioned: “The revival of the Auckland housing market is not a signal that the market is ready for another burst of rising prices. What it does signal is that residential property is set for strong trading through to Christmas.

“Contrastingly, the rural & lifestyle market experienced a quiet month’s trading. Prices remained steady with strong listing numbers, particularly in Orewa & Pukekohe.”

Barfoots’ October residential statistics:

Attribution: Agency release.

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Listings way up but prices hold, says Barfoots chief

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said this week the average price for the agency’s home sales in September was marginally up on August, while the median was marginally down.

New listings were up 28.4% on August and 21% on last September, but Mr Thompson said the increased availability of stock had no impact on price stability.

The average price was up $6000 on the previous 3 months at $929,757 and the median was up $15,000 at $835,000: “The price point at which vendors & buyers are agreeing has barely moved in the past 9 months. The number of property sales in September, at 722, was modest but vendors & buyers will take confidence in the stability of the prices achieved, and this will assist sales numbers as we advance into spring.

“The standout feature of the month’s data was the high number of new listings, which at 1709 was the second highest ever for a September and more than 20% higher than at the same time last year. It is more than 42% higher than the monthly average for the previous 3 months.

“The high number of new listings significantly increased available choice during the month and, at month end, the number of properties on our books was 4515. You need to go back 7 years to find a September when available listings were higher.

“More than 30 percent of all the sales in the month were of properties that fetched a sales price of more than $1 million, with 3% of that number selling for $2 million or more.

“Properties with a sales price of less than $500,000 accounted for 9% of all sales.”

Mr Thompson said sales of lifestyle properties increased markedly north & south of Auckland, at an average $1.36 million.

September August   Previous 3 months, average   September 2017  
Average price  
$929,757   $928,266

+0.2%

$923,198

+0.7%

$928,213

+0.2%

Median price  
$835,000   $840,000

+0.6%

$820,000

+1.8%

$860,000

-2.9%

Sales    
722   795

-9.2%

843

-14.4%

 

658

+9.7%

New listings  
1709  

 

1331

+28.4%

1199

+42.5%

1414

+20.9%

Month-end available stock  
4515   4022

+12.3%

4135

+9.2%

3829

+17.9%

 


Attribution: Agency release.

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Barfoot’s sees sales & price dip from June, up from year ago

Barfoot & Thompson house sales fell 8% from June to July and the average price dipped slightly. Compared to a year ago, however, both figures were ahead.

The agency’s monthly sales have exceeded those for the same month in 2017 for 4 consecutive months.

Managing director Peter Thompson said on Friday this price-beating trend (albeit down from June) was stabilising prices: “The average sales price in July, at $912,487, is in fact the highest average sales price we have recorded in a July, although it is down 1.8% on that for June. The median price for the month, at $810,000, is exactly the same as it was in June, and the same as it was for July last year.

“July is traditionally when prices reach their low point for the calendar year and, with sales numbers holding up, the signs are there that not only is the market weathering winter well, it is setting itself up to be active in the coming spring.

“Another pointer to prices remaining stable is that new listings, at 1057 for the month, were down to their lowest level this year, and the trend of declining choice for buyers has been growing since April.

“At 4115 properties at month end, we have the lowest stock levels for 10 months. While still some way above the squeeze felt during the active trading years of 2013-17, available choice is definitely declining.

“Homes for under $500,000 continued to be well represented in the sales figures, with sales in this price segment representing 9.8% of all sales.

“Sales of homes over $1 million represented 32.3% of all sales, with 4.1% of this number achieving a sales price of more than $2 million.

“Sales of lifestyle & rural properties were up 21% on those for June, with solid sales in the Swanson & Pukekohe areas.

“Interest in beef & dairy farms in the far north is higher than normal at this time of the year. With listings being limited, prices for this type of property remain stable.”

Attribution: Agency release.

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Onehunga light industrial units & 2 city apartments sell at auction

Both Onehunga commercial properties auctioned at Barfoot & Thompson’s city office today were sold under the hammer, and a retail property in Epsom was sold prior.

2 of the 3 central city apartments were sold – a 1930s Eden Hall unit after spirited bidding – and one was passed in.

Apartments

CBD

Federal St

Federal, 207 Federal St, unit 306:
Features: 61m², 2 bedrooms, balcony
Outgoings: body corp levy $4824/year
Outcome: passed in at $500,000
Agent: Selina Zheng

Learning Quarter

Eden Hall, 3 Eden Crescent, unit 5:
Features: 90m² 1930s art deco apartment, 3 bedrooms
Outgoings: body corp levy $5570/year
Outcome: sold for $895,000
Agent: Liz Derbyshire

Sapphire, 76 Wakefield St, unit 511:
Features: 51m², 2 bedrooms, balcony
Outgoings: rates $1435/year including gst; body corp levy $4289/year
Outcome: sold for $510,000
Agents: Stephen & Leo Shin

Commercial

Isthmus east

Epsom

83 Great South Rd:
Features: 278m² site, 92m² shop, 4 parking spaces, zoned business – local centre, which allows for 18m height
Rent:
Outcome: sold prior
Agents: Cam Paterson & Andrew Clark

Onehunga

136A Captain Springs Rd:
Features: 282m² unit zoned light industrial, predominantly warehouse, 300m from Te Papapa station
Outgoings: body corp levy $2211/year
Outcome: sold vacant for $866,000
Agents: James Marshall & Nick Wilson

136B Captain Springs Rd:
Features: 160m² warehouse + amenities, roller door access, 70% seismic rating, 2 parking spaces
Outgoings: body corp levy $2211/year
Outcome: sold vacant for $670,000
Agents: James Marshall & Nick Wilson

Attribution: Auction.

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Barfoot sees residential sales lift

Auckland real estate agency Barfoot & Thompson lifted its residential sales in November, but both the average & median prices fell compared to the previous 3 months & November last year.

The 757 sales were up by 123 on October but down from 947 a year ago.

The average sale price of $913,244 was up $2700 from October but down $20,000 compared to a year ago.

The median sale price of $830,000 was $500 short of the October figure and $35,000 down compared to a year ago.

For agency director Kiri Barfoot, the lift in sales was a sign of the market stirring after a 2-month hibernation: “They were small signs, but it indicates the Auckland market is holding firm and buyers are returning. There are certainly no signs of a general market retreat,” she said yesterday.

“At 757 sales in the month, we had the highest number of monthly sales since August, and November’s sales were 9.7% higher than the average sales number for the previous 3 months.

“Both the average price at $913,244, and the median price at $830,000 were right in line with what we have been achieving over the previous 3 months.

“While those numbers are down on their equivalents in November last year, that was a time when the market was close to reaching its peak. This November’s trading is a sure sign that at current values buyers are returning to the market.

“New listings are continuing to reach the market, and during the month we listed 1955 properties, a third higher than the average over the previous 3 months. It brought the number of properties at month end to 4838, the highest number we have had in more than 5 years. There are now a quarter more properties on the market than at the same time last year.

“At the high end of the market, buyers are still seeing value in property at current prices, with a significant rebound in the number of properties sold for in excess of $1 million. In the month we sold 55 properties for in excess of $2 million and a further 262 for in excess of $1 million, the highest number of high-end property sales since May.

“Even during the height of activity in 2016, sales of 55 properties for in excess of $2 million would have been regarded as an excellent month.

“A similar pattern of activity was evident in the lifestyle & rural sectors, with sound sales numbers in Mangawhai & Wellsford in the north and in Pukekohe & Papakura to the south. Properties valued in excess of $2 million attracted strong interest.

“We sold 62 rural & lifestyle properties in November, the highest in a month since March, and during the month at a Pukekohe lifestyle property auction 50% of the properties sold on an unconditional basis.

“Interest from local developers & land bankers is returning, but there is still a degree of hesitancy as they await a clearer understanding of future Government policy.”

The figures:

Attribution: Agency release.

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Barfoots study finds residential rents up average 4.7%, double that in central areas

The average weekly residential rent in Auckland has risen by 4.7% in the last year, from $520 to $542/week for a 3-bedroom home, according to Barfoot & Thompson’s third quarter figures.

Director Kiri Barfoot, who oversees the company’s property management division, didn’t put a figure on how much landlords’ costs had risen, but did list several: “We are just coming out of winter, which is a maintenance-heavy period for rental properties. Add to that uncertainty around rates increases, increased insurance costs due to the fire service levy and the incoming Earthquake Commission levy, compliance costs for smoke alarms & insulation, and you can understand the context of rent increases.

“Many owners will be relieved at recent forecasts indicating that interest rates are likely to remain flat in the near future.”

She said the biggest average rent rise was in the central suburbs, up 6.2% in a year from $550 to $584/week.

“Demand for rentals in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Mt Eden, all the old Auckland City suburbs west of the Southern Motorway, is strong. The area boasts short commutes into the city, and the properties often have outdoor space, parking, and are close to shopping, dining & entertainment areas. At the same time, fewer new properties are being built because of high land costs when compared with other areas where denser residential developments can be constructed, or where land costs are lower.”

Ms Barfoot drew a distinction between movements in house prices & rents: “I wouldn’t expect rent to flatten out as house prices in Auckland have. Just as Auckland rents didn’t increase at double-digit rates along with house prices last year, or the year before.”

Would-be home buyers pushing up one-bedroom rent prices

In a comparison of the number of bedrooms, Ms Barfoot said the biggest suburban increase had been for one-bedroom homes, up 6% from $339 to $359. In the central suburbs, the average rise for one-bedroom rentals was 9%, from $339 to $370/week.

“Almost 60% of renters plan to buy a home in the next 2-5 years, but we know that saving for a 20% deposit and tough lending restrictions are delaying people from buying. In the meantime, people are taking an interim step – choosing to rent on their own in between flatting and the traditional first-home buying stage. They are prepared to pay a little bit more for privacy, and are fortunate to have plenty of new developments to choose from.

“In Auckland Central, where a large number of apartments have become available in the past couple of years, rent for one-bedroom properties has increased at the same rate as the city-wide average, showing that the demand is there. Many of these new apartments have been in the higher end and will appeal to people moving on from a flatting situation, but who are yet to buy a place of their own.”

Attribution: Agency release.

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Barfoots chief says most home buyers & sellers being realistic about changed market

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson reckons most home buyers & sellers have been realistic over the last few months, when sales have dropped away.

He said yesterday sales by the agency were down by two-thirds compared to a year ago, but buyers & sellers who accepted that change were still doing deals.

“For the past 6 months there have been only minor variations in the pattern of lower sales numbers & prices remaining firm. Both average & median sale prices were up from July but down from the average of the previous 3 months.

“Those who are looking to get a bargain, or selling at way above market, are missing out.

“The current market is having only a modest impact on the top & lower ends of the market. In spite of claims that there are few homes for sale in Auckland at under $500,000, in August we sold 90 properties in this price category, representing 11.6% of all sales for the month. High-end properties continued to sell well with 276 sales, or 35.5% of all sales, being for in excess of $1 million.

“There was no shortage of new property reaching the market, with 1260 new listings in August. While down 15.5% on the average number for the previous 3 months, this is not unexpected one month out from a general election.

“At month end we had 3993 properties on our books, the lowest number for the past 6 months but still more than a quarter higher than at this time last year. It means we enter the general election month with the highest number of properties at the start of a September for 6 years.

“It provides a good platform for the market to operate from once the election is behind us. With a well performing economy, relatively low mortgage interest rates & strong population growth, there is every reason to anticipate over the medium term the housing market will retain people’s confidence.

Rural activity

“Prices for rural property in Warkworth & Wellsford to the north of Auckland and in Drury & Pukekohe to the south remain stable, with limited listings holding back sales numbers. The normal spring demand for rural properties is anticipated to return once the election is over. Demand remains from active, well financed investors for rural development land.”

The figures, with the percentage change to August in brackets:

Average price: August $918,926, July $908, 319 (1.2%), average over 3 months May-July $921,547 (-0.3%), August 2016 $906,560 (1.4%)
Median price: August $820,000, July $810,000 (1.2%), average over 3 months May-July $832,000 (-1.4%), August 2016 $850,000 (-3.5%)
Sales: August 777, July 747 (4%), average over 3 months May-July 829 (-6.3%), August 2016 1003 (-22.5%)
New listings: August 1260, July 1173 (7.4%), average over 3 months May-July 1492 (-15.5%), August 2016 1706 (-26.1%)
Month-end available stock: August 3993, July 4088 (-2.3%), average over 3 months May-July 4227 (-5.5%), August 2016 3151 (26.7%)

Attribution: Agency release.

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9 Manukau residential sales & 4 at city auction for Barfoots

Anyone looking for trends in the residential auctionrooms at the moment is likely to be bamboozled – lots of sales one day, none the next.

Barfoot & Thompson’s had some quiet days at its Manukau auctions recently, but started its auction programme for this week with 7 sales under the hammer & 2 sold prior out of 21 listed.

At the city auction on Tuesday, 4 homes were sold – including a townhouse at New Lynn – 6 were passed in and 2 were withdrawn from auction.

North-west

New Lynn

3 Ambrico Place, unit 21:
Features: 2-bedroom townhouse, balcony, 2 parking spaces
Outcome: sold for $500,000
Agents: Aken Yuan & Michelle Zhou

Manukau auction sales

At the Manukau auction on Tuesday, the agency sold 7 homes under the hammer & 2 prior out of 21 listed.

The sales included a Dannemora apartment & 2 units on one title in Papakura.

South

Dannemora

Botany Palms, 2 Armoy Drive, unit 136:
Features: one-bedroom apartment, balcony, garage
Outcome: sold for $400,000
Agents: Bob Adler & Anna An

Papakura

27 Alma Crescent:
Features: 1042m² section, 2 2-bedroom flats, carport each
Income assessment: $420/week & $415/week current
Outcome: sold for $891,000
Agent: Lloyd Singh

Attribution: Auctions.

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