A new record for the national average asking price was set, reaching $703,780, and there were unprecedented lows in new listings and total homes available for sale.
The New Zealand property market remained a seller’s game in December 2019 , said Vanessa Taylor, spokesperson for realestate.co.nz.
“Low stock, teamed with high asking prices sees us close out the decade as a strong sellers’ market."
Last month’s trends have also been largely driven by regional New Zealand, she said.
“Generally, we look to our main centres to lead what is happening in the market, but last month we saw our regions really driving national trends."
Data shows that there were 24.5% less homes available for sale than in December 2018.
With only 18,230 properties available for sale around the country, the last time we saw a low close to this was in 2016 when housing stock dropped to 20,682.
Housing stock availability has been on a downward trajectory over the last decade. Taylor said this was potentially due to New Zealand’s population growth.
"With our population growing at a rate of approximately 60,000 people per year over a 10-year span, significant demand for housing is likely to be putting pressure on our property market.”
Research by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research of Auckland data showed that population growth was a factor but after controlling for socio-demographic differences, New Zealanders moving around the country put more pressure on house prices than the same number of immigrants would.
“We found no evidence that a higher share of new international immigrants is associated with higher house prices and there is little evidence of a relationship between who lives in a particular area and housing market prices,” said one of the researchers Dr Trinh Le.
Taylor said New Zealand might see this stock shortage continue for some time.
People also tend to buy before they sell which could also be adding to the pressure, she added.
“Given the limited choice of homes available, people are often reluctant to sell without having somewhere to go – especially if the rental market in their area is cramped.”
“This then has a flow on effect with homes coming off the market before new ones go up for sale."