Barfoot & Thompson had a surge of sales in September but prices remain flat and stock levels are down

Barfoot & Thompson had a surge of sales in September but prices remain flat and stock levels are down

Spring has sprung at Auckland's largest real estate agency with Barfoot & Thompson recording its highest number of sales in the month of September for the last three years.

The real estate agency sold 771 properties in September, up 6.8% on September last year and up 17.2% on September 2017.

Prices were largely flat with the September median selling price of $850,000 exactly the same as it was in September 2016, and at the upper end of the range of $801,000 to $850,000 that it has remained within this year.

Barfoot's average selling price was $922,863 in September, down slightly from $930,090 in August but was also well within recent price bands.

However despite the jump in sales in September, vendors appear to be remaining cautious.

Barfoot's received 1204 new listings in September, up from the 1052 new listings in August, but well down from 1709 new listings it received in September last year.

New listings were at their lowest level for the month of September since 2010.

And the total number of residential properties the agency had available for sale at the end of September was down sharply at 3694, compared to 3818 in August and 4515 in September last year, putting it at its lowest level for the time of year since 2016.

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said attendance at auctions was also up and the number of homes selling under the hammer had risen.

"While price remains a significant consideration, the main barrier to higher sales numbers remains the lack of listings to meet demand," he said.

"With restricted choice and increased competition on the auction floor, or post auction, there was no pressure on prices to decline," he said.

The interactive chart below tracks Barfoot & Thompson's average selling price, price growth, number of properties sold and new listings on a month by month basis.

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92 Comments

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18
up

As I have been saying for the last few months, the potential for something or other to happen is very much there.

- TP

10
up

Also add this one: everyone who bought a property 20 years ago has made great profits!

lol

See below.

Don't get too excited Ttp: "Prices were largely flat with the September median selling price of $850,000 exactly the same as it was in September 2016, and at the upper end of the range of $801,000 to $850,000 that it has remained within this year".

Strange that when prices are flat or falling, they sell more... Whoda thunk...

As I've been saying over the past couple of months, we can't rule out significant house price increases over the next few months and into 2020.

Let's wait and see.

TTP

Nailing it ttp

ha ha

Sept 18 was abysmal by the way
Check BT report for what is selling where

15
up

The fail rate is creeping up too.
45.3% of B&T listings failed to sell in the past 12 months (Sept-18 was 40.7%).

B&T don't report their fail rate but you can calculate it.
Failed listings calculated as:
Opening Stock (previous month stock) + New Listings - Sales - Closing Stock (latest month stock) = Failed listings

Looking at last 12 months normalises for seasonality.
Last 12 months fails =
4,515 Opening Stock (Sept-18)
+ 15,122 new listings
- 9,089 sales
- 3,694 Closing Stock (Sept-19)
= 6,854 failed listings.

Large proportion of what takes over 12 m to sell is not finished or is an apartment

I note that the Auckland QV average is 105000 higher than Barfoots average. Perhaps Barfoots should do a revamp
I also note comments of our resident soothsayer by: tothepoint | 2nd Oct 19, 8:35am

"You will note that I foresaw house price rises - including in Auckland."

Clearly homeowners are in no rush to offload their Auckland properties because macroeconomic conditions are relatively stable.
Even if the global economic situation worsens, a flash crash in the premium section of our urban housing markets resulting from a liquidity crunch seems likely. However, given the acute shortage in the affordable space across all of NZ, I wouldn't bet on lower quartile house prices being affected much.

Oh well I guess this is good evidence for Labour to bring an Empty Homes Tax for our main cities. Considering we have almost 40,000 empty homes in Auckland alone that could bring in huge amounts of revenue to help build affordable homes and free up a good percentage of the empty homes for rent. It's worked for Canada why can't it work for us. :)
Article: Opinion: What Vancouver’s impressive Empty Homes Tax revenue tells us. https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2018/11/30/empty-homes-tax-vancouver-...
Re: Vancouver quote; "For anyone doing the math, a $38 million take from 2,538 vacant homes averages out at just shy of $15,000 tax paid per vacant home".

The Crown should just confiscate vacant homes with no reparations whatsoever. Maori vacant homes would be exempt of course having been through this process already.

Not sure if our Government could get away with that but I see your point of view. Though if Labour were to follow the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax example potentially Auckland Council could make roughly $460,000,000 in tax revenue, which is amazing! This is based on the average unoccupied home value being $1,170,000 due to most of these homes being in the more expensive parts of Auckland according the the latest census figures, - 1% tax on home value = average yearly tax of $11,700 per vacant property x that by 39,393 unoccupied homes = $460,898,100 in tax revenue.

Why settle for $460m when you can grab $46 BILLION. Ya gotta think big CJ099! Also the on sale of the vacant homes would lower house prices helping out poor FHBs. Furthermore, instead of paying $300 a day to house the homeless they could get their own house to live in rent free. Job Done!

Umm... That might put the wind up some expensive neighborhoods. :)

And that is "THE" problem, Old folks and politicians don't want anything to change inn that regard. Too much to loose for them. Only the next generation has nothing to look for. Lucky you are if mom and pop can help with buying a house otherwise get stuffed! More and more young kiwis are going to leave NZ for better pays and better housing affordability. All replaced by Supermarket or Take away workers & Uber drivers. Awesome!

Agreed, I'm surprised young Kiwi's haven't been more vocal about this? It is getting better but still a very slow process and I do think the Empty Homes Tax is a big step in the right direction to free up property in our city areas.
It's a very complex issue and this documentary helps to clarify that it's a global issue too. Who Owns New Zealand Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzSAmOQuyjU

Why not put a tax on all rents? Maybe we could call it a rental levy (so it's not a tax)

Hi CJ099

But not by as much as the wind's been put up the DGM over the last few weeks......

TTP (-;

The wind is blowing in Hamilkton, and the numbers for Palmy north show its blowing a gale.

Is that you Simon?

Yep Bridges here ;) is that you John

Good stuff. Such tax could discourage at least some speculators from buying houses which they don't intend to occupy or rent out when it starts eating into their expected ROI. This would in turn scare away businesses from making more of these.
We are not only wasting usable land and urban infrastructure but also clogging up availability of finite resources such as skilled labour, materials and council capacity to build these empty homes solely for speculative purposes.

Yes absolutely, these Speculative Investors (Mostly Overseas Investors) are actually killing our main economies here in Auckland due to massively increasing the cost of living by reducing the availability of housing in central and main commuter districts. I've seen so many business fold in Auckland due to this. Keep in mind that the real beauty of an Empty Homes Tax is that your mostly taxing wealthy people who don't even live here, it's surprising how mush extra people are willing to pay to maintain their overseas bolthole.

Hi CJ099,

I reckon such a tax would be near-impossible to implement cost-effectively,

People's husband's, wives, kids, grandkids, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc etc etc would move into unoccupied houses - exempting them from taxes/levies.......

More money would be spent on enforcing the tax, than was gained from the tax.

A bit like levying a tax on bald men. They'd go to town and buy a toupee. So then you'd have to tax toupees. And then men would get a friend to make the toupee...... and so on.

What a nuisance.......

TTP

Very bold take considering he attached an article showing an example of it being implemented cost effectively.

Hi GGP,

You need to understand that NZers are very innovative in inventing around rules/regulations. It's an ingrained part of Kiwi Mentality.

What works elsewhere need not work in NZ!

TTP

I work with a lot of tax accountants and lawyers, and this is certainly news to me! Your unsubstantiated feelings and guesses are far more reliable and persuasive than actual empirical evidence, so I'm officially convinced: empty homes tax is a bad policy.

It truly does take a unique "Kiwi Mentality" to split up your family and have them live in your investment properties for free instead of renting those houses out to someone who would pay money for them. The brilliance might be too much for me, as a mere immigrant, because the thought never entered my mind.

"NZers are very innovative in inventing around rules/regulations"
Unlike the Chinese who own all those properties in Canada?
Not this "NZ is special, we are difrunt" talk again...

Yes, yes, we're different.

That old chestnut.

11
up

Did you even read the article? It clearly shows that the empty house tax can generate significant revenue. In Vancouver it cost 7.5 million to setup, and 2.5 million to run for the year, while collecting revenue of $38 million. And this is in a city with an estimated 10k empty houses. Auckland has 40k.

Even if it was revenue neutral, and altered behaviour, it could still be worthwhile in the aggregate.

Its great you have an opinion, but, as usual, its not based on actual data or evidence (and in fact directly contradicts the real world example).

Hi Miguel,

See my comment above....... (Canada/Vancouver is not NZ/Auckland.)

And if you don't believe me, go ask the IRD - and/or any tax lawyer/accountant.

TTP

As usual Ttp provides absolutely no evidence to support his argument he just rants. Here go and actually read this article and stop spouting gibberish: What Vancouver’s impressive Empty Homes Tax revenue tells us. https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2018/11/30/empty-homes-tax-vancouver-...

It's the same people (mostly mainland Chinese) owning those properties in Vancouver and Auckland.
No matter how much you want to believe that NZ is very very special and even the laws of physics don't apply here, that's not the truth.

I suspect you're right, but the enforcement, whilst uneconomic, would allow a whole new department of bureaucrats to be employed, which you know the council would just love.

My biggest problem with such a scheme is that the legislation required to enact it would undoubtedly be abused in the future. The rate will just keep going up, and then when it has achieved its aim (i.e. fewer unoccupied properties) and the revenue dries up, the same law will be used to just tax everyone.

As usually TTP, You're the only nuisance on this site since you constantly miss the point! You forget that this tax has already been very successfully implemented in other cites like Vancouver which has the same situation with lots of vacant homes. In Auckland we have 39,393 unoccupied homes. Actually Vancouver had far fewer empty homes 2,538 to be exact. Vancouver managed to increase their home availability by introducing this Empty Homes Tax and it paid a huge amount of revenue to them ($38 million in the first year) that far exceeded any operating costs. So as usual your case does not stand up in the face of the proven evidence.

Hi CJ099,

I can see that you (and your DGM mates) are hot under the collar with what's happening in the housing market right now.......

But remember it's me who's been making the correct calls - not you.

As the old wisdom says, "Don't shoot the messenger".

TTP

LOL!!! :) What correct calls have you made ttp?? And do you even own any property?

Hi CJ099,

You have a rather short memory.........

Over the past couple of months, I've been quietly suggesting that house prices might well start rising in the foreseeable future.........

You (and the other DGM minnows here) have been screaming desperately that house prices will fall sharply.

Simple as that.

TTP

Was your prediction correct? Where are these price rises? This article itself says it's been flat since 2016, but 2016 wasn't the peak, and there's been 3 years of inflation since then.

Although to be accurate, saying "cannot be ruled out" is more equivocal than a prediction. Not actually taking a stand or making a prediction.

A giant asteroid destroying the earth cannot be ruled either.

Ttp - So which bit of prices remaining flat do you not understand? "Prices were largely flat with the September median selling price of $850,000 exactly the same as it was in September 2016". I told you not to get too excited we are in late 2019 now or have you not noticed. :)

We shoot the messenger because he can't shut up, even when he's clearly wrong.

"I wouldn't bet on lower quartile house prices being affected much."
Perhaps. But... if you had the option of buying a Top Quartile house, today, for the same price a Second Quartile used to cost, yesterday, what would you do?
I'd buy a 'better' place, Top Quartile, for the same money.
That applies all the way down until the Lower Quartile gives way, as there are less and less buyers down there. (they've bought higher up the matrix and the only way to move Lower Quartile is to lower the price)

Central suburb apartment sales account for virtually all increase. Down north of bridge

So with overseas buyers gone, speculators gone and a capital gain tax on invetsors selling within 5 years of purchase, whose left to enjoy the "benefits" of any improvement in the market?
Of course, I had quite forgotton. Now it's the Mums and Dads that can buy and sell and make super profits totally free of any taxes or other impedirments.
Maybe there were and still are the real reason for the "Housing Crisis"

The main home exclusion doesn't apply to mums and dads that engage in a regular pattern of acquiring and disposing of residential land.

See http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2007/0097/latest/DLM6663109.html?s...

How do we know that there are 40,000 vacant houses in Auckland?
Where do they get that figure from?
Seems crazy to me that people are prepared to leave their houses empty!
Obviously there is a shortage of good quality tenants in Auckland, there can be no other logical reason.

Ex Expat.

Unrelated, but a penny for your thoughts on this?

https://issuu.com/barfootsuburbsales/docs/st_heliers_kohi_mag_template_f...

Its mainland Chinese buying and leaving vacant like they do all over the world. Seen it in HK, Singapore, London etc.

Since 2017 our dollar has dropped and now only buys 4.5 CNY compared to 5.0 CNY so in this flat Auckland market those Chinese buyers have essentially lost 10% of their investment if they were to sell and convert back to CNY

Take off your blinkers Man 2. I think you might have missed the massive amounts of Foreign Investment buying that went on in Auckland over the last ten years or so. Have you forgotten already that Labour had to bring in an Foreign Buyers Ban, there's a reason why they had to do that.
You may also want to take a look at this documentary to jog you memory: Who Owns New Zealand Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzSAmOQuyjU

Foreign buyers were buying houses as they were aware that property investment is the safest investment there is.
Housing is still very affordable in NZ.
If you can not afford to buy in Auckland if you want to, just leave Auckland, simple as that.

Thanks but I do already own property in AKL. If you actually watch the documentary it's more our economy and well being of our young people, current and future generations that we're worried about. Or do you not even take that in to consideration?
Documentary Link: Who Owns New Zealand Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzSAmOQuyjU

Leave him alone CJ. He is just a tired old land agent who put all his eggs in the wrong market. It is hard for him to understand how successful Auckland has been for investors as we all know how terrible the Christchurch market has been in recent years.

Gordon, having a property portfolio means having tons of equity. The Man has done very well from chc real estate, how about yourself have you managed to make a buck or three where you are?

So every generation should stand on their own two feet and not worry about what is passed to the next. Huh. Guess we better stop asking young Kiwis to pay for old Kiwis' lifestyle then.

"How do we know that there are 40,000 vacant houses in Auckland?"
simple knock on the door usually does the trick!

It's always worth watching what the Big Boys are doing:
"Todd Property Group sells Kāpiti Coast; major developments in Auckland and Christchurch...The sale includes residential developments Pegasus township in Christchurch, Auckland's Stonefields, and undeveloped land in Hawke's Bay and Whangarei."
There's a reason and a price for everything, of course, but just as the Lowy Family recently sold Westfields and the Packer Family sold Crown Casinos, they don't do it if they think there's a lot more left in it.

Nigel McKenna? I'm sure I've heard that name before....

In response to your rhetorical question....!
https://www.interest.co.nz/property/90236/singaporean-and-malaysian-inve...
(NB: I recall Philip Carters's group selling that old camping ground site that became the Kawarau Falls Development, and think at the time "Why is he doing that?!")

Don't tell TM2, he might snap it all up at Pegasus township in Christchurch..

Chairman, wouldn’t touch Pegasus with a barge pole!

I can only imagine how much a bank manager would laugh if a tired old agent came in and said I would like to borrow some money for the Pegasus Development and I have some wonderful Christchurch "as is where is" residential properties available as collateral security. Talk about being out of your league.

That's a bit harsh!
But don't forget to mention to bank manager that all properties will be purchased way below market value and will be tenanted with high quality tenants.

And fully insured.

to put things in perspective that is still the 3rd lowest volume sold in a Sept since 2011

Nothing to crow about just yet, although I do acknowledge That it looks like things have stopped getting worse for the time being

There is definitely life coming back to the Auckland market. I believe it will be short lived though as consumers and house buyers alike wake up to the NZ and global economic reality that is currently unfolding around them. Haven't seen things this bad in the Global economy since the GFC. In fact, they look worse.

Hi Adam, I have predicted a new all time high for house prices next March 2020, I'm still standing by it, shall we bet a few drinks over my prediction?

As a potential FHB in Auckland we've been waiting and watching the market. I've got to say it's incredibly hard to know which way to move. The conflicting news reports don't help either... Stuff reported the same information but with a completely different sentiment.

The global economy seems to be on the edge but yet for all the doom and gloom this hasn't had an impact on prices. I know you can't time the market but think we will be accepting the lousy bank savings rates for a few more months yet.

I was the same as you. But we purchased last week on the shore. One thing for sure is if unemployment doesn't go up house prices are going to rise in the lower quarter because we had to beat 6 other offers to obtain our place. The key for me is unemployment figures and LVR ratios simply lowering it to 15% as the new 20% for a LVR will heat the market up.

Its really a scary time to buy but im lucky enough to have a secure 15 year employment contract so i think i'll be ok.

What sort of business offers 15 year employment contracts?

Good move RD. Is there some insight from what you've learned you can share with first home buyers

Ummm be prepared to pay 2-3k for lawyer fees. If you are using Kiwisaver get your withdrawal letter before you put in offer in so if you get in a multi-offer negotiation you can shorten the time for going unconditional. Try measure your competition when your at open homes is there lots of investors or are you vs first home buyers. First home buyers require more time to unconditional so having yourself pre-approved and ready to go can help you beat them. And only pay over RV in auckland atm if its freehold and is a 3 bedroom house.

1 year is seen as long term in my industry...

No business. NZDF does and the pay is okish.

I'm with you on this one. Stuff spun it in a completely different direction.

And all we seem to hear on the world economy is doom and gloom, for years now, and yet nothing changes.

I'm in the same boat.
It's psychologically tough, because by any historical or international comparison Auckland house prices are insane, completely unjustifiable. Add to which there's increasing global economic pessimism.
But... The central banks have shown they'll cut rates at any cost, basically, and unless they have a change of heart that makes a *stupid, suicidal* mortgage somewhat less stupid and suicidal.
I also fear that NZ gov'ts will do absolutely anything to prop the market up-- they'd rather have mass unemployment than see a serious fall in property prices. So maybe it's safer to go with the crowd and assume property can't crash in NZ. I really don't know.

Pretty tragic really, Government and Reserve bank only working for people that won't be here in 10-20 years time. The same people who don't give a f*** of what the planet will be like once they left. Labour is really National light. The trouble is that there is no one else tangible to vote for to change that 11 years( now ) status quo. F***** depressing. And we got to pay for their super as well

Why do you think they introduced the Gun Buyback scheme?

Same here On the Fence

OtF, best thing you can do is stop reading the comments on Interest (read the articles only) and make up your own mind, remember it's your life!

I can't help but imagine some of these commentators who are potential First Home Buyers waiting for the market to correct, in 10 years time will they still be waiting? Meanwhile they're lining a Landlord's pocket to the tune of $20k p.a or more...

"As I’ve outlined on multiple occasions the asset bubble keeps disconnecting ever farther from the underlying size of the economy as wealth inequality keeps expanding as the top 10% basically own all of the assets that benefit from the asset price inflation. The bottom 50% own literally nothing:'
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/trader-were-middle-existential-crisis

Re nz September report states sept 2018 was bit of an exception in adding 3896 new listings in Auckland up 31% on sept 2017. Coyly Vanessa declines to hypothesise on WHY it was so. And lo In 2019 it plummets back to earth, 22.5% down on last Sept. sales trend is exact replica with 2019 sales in first 8 months bang on what were in 2017. Reason simple - both years subject to Chinese funding restrictions. 2018 was aberrant. Sales fell in every other year since 2012. People, other than FHB don’t want more debt. Subdividing and section sales drove prices for 3 year mania and its over. Boring market will continue 2-3 years yet

Boring as in subdued volumes, little change in prices?

This was expected after an unusually rainy August.