Median house prices keep dropping

House prices dropped year-on-year in almost every region in December, according to the latest report from the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ). But as the REINZ CEO highlighted, the pace of the decline seems to be slowing. 

For more on this, check out our property market update.

The only exceptions: Northland and Taranaki

In December 2022, the national median sale price reduced by 12.2% overall to $790,000; excluding Auckland, it was down 7.9% to $700,000. When it comes to regional price trends, Northland and Taranaki were the only regions with an annual price increase, up 3.3% and 5.1% respectively. 

Buyers toeing the line between opportunity and caution

Property prices are still declining, with houses taking longer to sell across the country. REINZ data shows that sales numbers were down 23.6% from November, and 39% down from December 2021. 

REINZ CEO, Jen Baird. explained this as a sign that buyers are cautious. “With interest rates rising and banks stress-testing at 8.1-8.5%, buyers’ ability to secure finance and service a mortgage remains a key driver to buyers taking their time,” Baird said. 

On the other hand, she also added that a 55.3% increase in inventory (coupled with cheaper house prices) leaves a lot of choice for buyers. 

“Salespeople around the country say sellers are tending to be more realistic and will usually meet the market through negotiation – although it’s taking longer to sell, sellers are still getting results,” said Baird. Regarding buyers, she added: “If you can make the finances work, this is a good time to be a buyer. More stock, less competition and prices continuing to ease will allow those who can get all the ducks in a row to buy well.”

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