Property demand soared in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic

by Roxanne Libatique15 Jan 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop first-home buyers and investors from climbing the property ladder as demand still soared in 2020, with more Kiwis searching for property last year than in any year since 2016, according to realestate.co.nz.

New annual data from realestate.co.nz revealed that 23% more Kiwis searched for property nationally on its website in 2020 than 2019 despite sky-high house prices and the impacts of COVID-19. Increasing by 227.8%, the number of people searching for property last year also more than tripled when compared to 2016.

“Up 10.7% to $775,976, properties in New Zealand, on average, cost $75,056 more in 2020 than they did in 2019. Coupled with the record demand, this tells us that people didn’t shy away from buying and selling last year,” said realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Taylor.

She said all properties listed on realestate.co.nz last year totalled an asking price sum of $94 billion, up 5.4% on $90 billion in 2019.

Read more: Economists call for urgent government intervention to address housing crisis

The increase in demand did not match the number of properties in the market. Nationally, 109,128 properties were listed for sale in 2020 – a 2.6% decrease on the 112,007 properties that hit the market in 2019, said Taylor.

Marlborough property seekers were in a tighter spot than other property seekers, with 16.2% fewer homes coming on to the market in the region compared to 2019. Meanwhile, Northland’s new listings were down 15.9% on 2019 and Nelson & Bays down 14.0%.

“What we’ve seen quite clearly throughout 2020 is demand for property outweighing supply, which could have contributed to price increases,” Taylor said.

On the bright side, Auckland recorded a 10.5% increase in listings in 2020 and Central Otago/Lakes a marginal increase of 0.3%.

“In Auckland, we’ve started to see a change, with the large number of new homes being built exceeding demand caused by population growth. But supply is still tight because of the shortfall in previous years,” Taylor said.

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