Wellington's soaring property market, which saw house prices rise by $7000 in a single month, is being described as crazier than the 2007 boom.
While the record-high prices and unprecedented low housing stock can be read as good new for sellers, those wanting to climb aboard the property train are getting left further back in the dust.
Tangible proof can be seen in open home queues reaching down the street and houses selling in half the time they were just a few years ago, an industry veteran says.
One of the bedrooms in the Mt Cook house. In Wellington, the number of new homes on the market has never been lower. LOWE & CO REALTY One of the bedrooms in the Mt Cook house. In Wellington, the number of new homes on the market has never been lower.
The figures, from a real estate aggregating website, came on the same day that International Monetary Fund figures show that the rise in New Zealand's housing price, relative to income, is only outstripped by one country – Qatar.
Also on Wednesday, Quotable Value figures showed Wellington property prices were 10.8 per cent higher than during the 2007 peak and, for the first time since then, the chill of winter was failing to cool the market.
According to Realestate.co.nz.spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor, New Zealand could hypothetically be without a housing market within three months if no new homes were brought to market and those there sold at their current rate, said.
The living and dining area. The property took just 2½ weeks to sell. LOWE & CO REALTY The living and dining area. The property took just 2½ weeks to sell.
According the the website's figures, homes coming on the market have dropped significantly In Auckland and Wellington, as well as many other regional spots around New Zealand.
Nelson, the central North Island, and Otago had each seen a drop of about 30 per cent in listings.
The seller of the house was apparently "very pleased" with the price. LOWE & CO REALTY The seller of the house was apparently "very pleased" with the price.
The average New Zealand listing price was up 7.2 per cent on this time last year, while the number of New Zealand homes coming up for sale in May dropped by 7.1 per cent from April.
In Wellington, the number of new homes on the market had never been lower.
Using the same calculation that signalled a death of the nationwide housing market in three months, there would be no homes for sale in Wellington in five weeks and a day.
Meanwhile, prices continued to soar in Wellington. In May, the nationwide average asking price on the website was $550,971. Auckland was $879,730 and Wellington was $513,518.
In Wellington, that was a 1.4 per cent increase on the month before, meaning the average Wellington homeowner made an effective increase of $6900 in just a month.
According to Taylor, listing prices tended to foreshadow sale prices by a few months, meaning today's soaring asking prices were likely to translate into future sale prices.
Lowe & Co realty director Craig Lowe recently held an open home in the Wellington suburb of Berhampore and 75 groups, each with two to three people, turned up.
"There was a sea of people – a queue down the street when we arrived."
At another recent tender, for a two-bedroom home with no off-street parking in Carrington St, Mt Cook, 19 bids were put in and the seller was "very pleased" with the sale price, Lowe said.
The property took just 2½ weeks to sell.
During the 2007 property boom, sales took an average of 22 days from listing. This rose to 44 days in 2011 but was now back to 22 days, he said.
"This feels busier to me than 2007. The change from it being a flat market to being a busy market happened a lot faster.
"This time it's been like a hockey stick it just came out of nowhere."
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