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After record year, high demand continues for residential and lifestyle property

January 2022

Following unprecedented rises in residential and lifestyle property values last year, anyone going to the market in the next few months should achieve excellent results. Real Estate Institute of New Zealand statistics indicate the nationwide median residential property price increased 23.8 per cent in the 12 months to November 2021 to a new record high of $925,000. During the same period, the median price for lifestyle property sales was $1.1 million, a year-on-year increase of 26.3 per cent.

While Auckland leads these trends, buyers seeking characteristics that are only available beyond the big cities are driving markets elsewhere. Northland’s median residential property price increased 26.5 per cent, to $745,000, in the 12 months to November 2021. After such vigorous activity Cindy Younger of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Dargaville says the local market remains busy. 

“While plenty of locals are moving within the residential and lifestyle sectors, people from out of town are also checking out the market, albeit with more caution than occurred last year. 
“Aucklanders are looking at property in Whangarei and Dargaville, seeking housing before finding work.
“Vendors are definitely asking more than they were this time last year, and buyers are prepared to meet those expectations. However, as this year progresses, predicting values is difficult. Apparently, the market is levelling out and values may not continue to accelerate at the same rate as recently,” says Cindy.

Jacqui Campion has sold Feilding lifestyle and residential property since the early 2000s. She says the recent market is the most vibrant she has witnessed. “In 2007 the market was exceptional. Activity over the past few months matched and surpassed even those levels. Although that has now eased, at least for first home buyers where financing a purchase has become more challenging, we still have a huge number of buyers, especially in lifestyle.
“After last year’s volatility, vendors and purchasers are now comfortable with values. Some vendors are offering property conditional on finding themselves somewhere to buy. For anyone still uncomfortable about the market over the past two years, that is a good and reassuring idea,” says Jacqui.

Lavender planted next to a empty paddock


Compared to the corresponding period in 2020, for the three months ending November 2021, the median price of Canterbury lifestyle blocks increased by 22.9 per cent. Karen Hennessy of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Christchurch explains why. 
“Many lifestyle property buyers are currently in the market. This is fuelled by people living on smaller sections in rural towns or from the city, which includes those with families who are looking for room to spread their wings. Covid is playing a part as kiwis returning from overseas are buying in the upper North Island, which frees North Islanders to make the move south,” says Karen. 

Amberley-based Maria Rickerby, one of PGG Wrightson Real Estate’s top residential and lifestyle salespeople nationwide, also notes high lifestyle demand.
“Everyone we talk to wants space, with North Canterbury’s easy pace a bonus. We have buyers from all over: including Tauranga, Rotorua, Auckland, and Wellington. Since the city’s northern motorway opened, North Canterbury to Christchurch is easy. A 40 minute drive is a straightforward commute to the airport, the central city, or the eastern suburbs.
“Buyer demand covers the whole spectrum, from $550,000 properties up. Following last year’s sharp rises, prices are now consistently high and should remain so. Vendors are no longer selling just to capitalise on rising values. They have to buy in the same market, so in many cases have planned their next move before selling,” says Maria.

Otago lifestyle property sales rose 20 per cent in the three months to November 2021, with the region’s medium lifestyle price hitting $1 million. Otago PGG Wrightson Real Estate sales manager Craig Bates saw plenty of pre-Christmas activity. 
“Strong demand meant the majority of lifestyle listings sold quickly. Values continue to exceed expectations, with many listings subject to multiple offers and selling well ahead of the deadline.
“Motivated buyers are responding emphatically. Late last year we sold a 10 hectare Otago Peninsula lifestyle property. With some of Dunedin’s finest views, that sale was completed before the listing’s planned marketing campaign had even begun, selling between 30 and 35 per cent above realistic valuations from 12 months earlier. 
“While that was an exceptional sale, it is indicative of the current market,” says Craig.

Donna Tisdall of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Mosgiel has marketed lifestyle and residential property for the past decade. She says several factors are driving Otago’s property market. 
“Plenty of buyers are active, seeing the opportunity to upgrade or downsize. Covid is a motivator. Many people see a lifestyle property enabling better self-sufficiency, possibly including working from home. We receive plenty of out-of-town calls: from the North Island and elsewhere. Several local projects, including major construction at the hospital, and different University initiatives, are encouraging people to come to Otago to pick up the jobs that will eventuate. 
“As a consequence, anyone listing Otago residential or lifestyle property this autumn will be welcomed by a buoyant market, with no shortage of willing buyers,” says Donna.

It’s a message those thinking of selling elsewhere will also receive.

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