Auction numbers were up, sales were up, prices were up and then it all came to a crashing halt

Auction numbers were up, sales were up, prices were up and then it all came to a crashing halt

Real estate auction rooms throughout the country remained busy right up until it was announced that Level Four restrictions on personal movement were to be introduced. monitored 334 residential property auctions around the country in the week from March 16-22, which was half way between the 304 that were monitored in the previous week and the 362 that were monitored in the week before that.

However numbers were running well ahead of the same timed last year (18-24 March 2019) when just 209 auctions were monitored.

The numbers suggest the real estate industry was on track for a reasonably buoyant March, which is traditionally the busiest month of the year, before it came to  a screeching halt early this week, with auctions and open homes cancelled and marketing campaigns put on hold.

Sales numbers were also holding up with exactly half of the 334 properties offered at auction last week finding new owners.

That was well up on the 37% sales rate in the equivalent week of last year.

Prices were also firm, with 71% of selling prices being above the property's Rating Valuation (where these could be matched).

There was almost no difference between the figures for Auckland and the rest of the country, with sales on 49% of properties at the Auckland auctions and 74% of the sold properties in Auckland fetching more than their Rating Valuation.

Details of the individual properties offered (many with photos) and the results achieved, can be viewed on our Residential Auction Results page.

This will be's last residential auction report until the current COVID-19 lockdown is lifted and auction activity starts to return to normal.

In the meantime we will continue to post any new results we receive to our Residential Auction Results page, but we expect these to be few and far between.

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What? Not reporting on auctions because there *are* no auctions?! How will this help the market?? What will the spruikers say? Can’t we have an “It *would* have been a really good month for property if it wasn’t for the lockdown - get ready for the bounceback!” report once in a while?

Poor, sarcastic comment Big Data, which doesn't add anything useful or constructive

You're so right Yvil, I am very immature.

Hardly going to be a bounce back when so many people are losing their jobs over the shutdown. I just heard from a friend last night that they were forced to take a -20% salary cut or face being let go! Even though they were on lower than the average AKL salary to begin with, you would think that college Lectures would be ok.

20% salary cut is better than no job. One of my friend who is in hospitality industry is happy with 40% cut as is happy that still has job unlike manny and will help to survive with major cuts in spending for sometime to come.

Full impact of the virus will only be known after it has passed just like any natural disaster like cyclone....

Oh he may well be losing his job altogether, apparently they've also been told that some staff members will also be cut as well. Despite being forced to take the -20% salary drop.

Wow CJ you cant call for black swan event and then be surprised at the wide economic fallout or did you think the black swan would just attack houses and then leave

I think you have your wires crossed HW or are you just bitter and want to lash out at someone. Like you and your Spunker mates gang up on me and quite a few others not so long ago, when we all tried to point out that the employment market in Auckland was on very shaky ground due to the extremely high cost of living here. High rent and house prices that all has a big negative effect on our property investment market.
The new virus is now the straw the broke the camels back.

What happens to those people who are experiencing drops in household income who:

1) own negative cashflow investment property?
2) own previously positive cashflow investment property that is now negative cashflow investment due to property vacancies?
i) as their long term tenant has moved out, and the property is now cashflow negative (no revenue but still have operating costs and mortgage payments)
ii) previously rented out as Airbnb, and is now not earning revenues due to tourism sector decline. They may be attempting to rent the property out in the long term tenant market, yet still unable to rent out (e.g in a tourism centred location such as Queenstown). So no revenue, but still have operating costs and mortgage payments.

This illustrates the widely believed narrative perpetuated by the property promoters that there is an underlying housing shortage and that house prices will continue rising is incorrect. Some will learn this lesson by firsthand experience.
It is effective supply and effective demand that drives house prices.

Our own situation has been glossed by your scenarios. CF positive and staying that way due to having good tenant selection. Not one tenant has missed a payment, or come to me asking for favours.... yet.

Yet. lol

I own a motel Richard, we've still been very busy past the closing of borders (15th March) but now the full NZ lockdown is going to hurt us bad from April. I haven't cut any wages or made anyone redundant, all will still get their full wage next Wednesday but it's hard to tell how long I can keep that up. In a best case scenario, where the lockdown's lifted end of April, guests are not going to "flock back in" en masse straight away, it could take a long time to get to decent occupancy and income…

Also, one of my staff offered to take a pay cut yesterday, I thought it was an amazing gesture, I didn't accept it of course

Heres hoping it works out a little bit better than forecast

There will be a lot of hurt after the lockdown ends, as businesses restructure and adapt to their new reality. I suspect the smarter operators will already have a list of essential staff to rebuild with, and those that don't fit in to the plan will be cut over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, I have several professional staff where the government subsidy will only cover 1/4 of their salary, so acting sooner, rather than later is required to ensure there is something to resurrect on the other side.

Quite unbelievable numbers, especially as these numbers came in after the border lockdown and mounting cases of Covid19

Just investors panic buying.

It's strange that we shame and berate people for panic buying i'e buying more grocery items than they need in the short term potentially causing others to go without. Yet the sacred and insidious accumulation of houses by property investors over a long period of time, the accumulation of more houses than they need, causing others to go without home ownership is a celebrated and protected practice.

"Just investors panic buying."
What evidence do you have to support that statement?
Or is it just a fake news statement?

Panic buying in property is more commonly referred to as FOMO (fear of missing out).

It was prevalent in Auckland in 2015 - to early 2017. If people were tuned in, the obvious sign were the bidding frenzies at property auctions.

Fear of missing out FOMO

What does fear of missing out look like?

Substitute the product that they're panic buying (toilet paper, canned goods, etc) with houses, internet shares in 2000, internet coin offerings such as Bitcoin, tulips, etc ...

"They will behave like the crowds now queuing at the supermarkets"
That is exactly the behaviour that drove buyers to pay excessive prices for property. It is called fear of missing out (FOMO). That is a typical sign at the top of asset price bubbles. Remember those frenzied bids at property auctions in 2015/2016?
Similar behaviour with
1) internet bubble 2000
2) bitcoin
3) US listed shares of companies in the marijuana business
4) share market just before 1987 crash
So many examples.

Here is an article to remind people of the mood of the day in Auckland. Most people were focused solely on rising property prices (traders were focused on the capital gains). Given the current economic conditions and risk of a potential recession (and rising unemployment), this article may now be seen by some in a different light - "oh, how did we miss the signs?"

Yip - follow Robert Shiller quite closely and have read many of his books. The book 'Irrational Exuberance' has a whole section on property bubbles and highlights behaviour that indicates the potential signs of a bubble. NZ has ticked all those boxes from 2013-2019 in my opinion...look at the talk at BBQs, around the water cooler, the television shows (Location, Location, Location, The Block...), the over confidence of the property bulls on many internet sights, the rise in property experts like Ashley Church, Bindi and the news ads on the radio continuously by the likes of 'Propellor Property'.

Asset price bubbles are most obvious in hindsight when asset prices have fallen substantially. "Oh it was so obvious" people say.

Yet when asset prices are rising rapidly most people get caught up in them, and their future expectations are driven by recent market price action, and the justifications / rationalisations made to justify the market price. It is only the subsequent price action that there is a realisation made. Seen it happen many times.

In January 2020, how many saw the asset price bubble and vulnerabilities in the share market? I suspect very few ...

I saw it last year, ridiculous rises in already overvalued stocks. February it happened again after I had already bailed out... the signs are there, just keep looking.

Yes this is such irony in all this, in the very thing that underpinned the selling of property, ie lack of supply and the motivation of FOMO, we are now told not to panic for Fear of Catching It (FOCI), the virus.

When your whole system is based on fear as the main motivator, then the repetition of that reinforcement becomes almost innate and is very hard to undo and really makes panic buying of toilet paper no siller than buying overpriced property.

If you what to sell something, as Mr Gecko said, 'Greed may be Good.'

But Fear is better.

The considerable uncertainity of the extent and economic impact of the virus makes the likely future performance (which is more important than the past) of the housing market very uncertain.
However, one take away from this is that over this period 16 - 22 March the housing market seems to be holding up well compared to the NZX50 which had a 10.3% fall over the same period.

If shares crash and burn I suspect property will be even more popular after this is all over.


If shares do truly crash how will this effect the economy. You seem to want to see property as a little bubble of it's own immune to the effects of the wider economy - it doesn't work like that. Who will lend to buy that house?

Just going on what happened in the past. People still remember the crash in the eighties.

Under that logic share markets rebound as well. Just saying....

NZ housing in the 80s isn't remotely comparable to today. In the 80s it was easier to retreat to brick and mortar. The average house was about about 3x income and average HH debt was low.

In recent years, HH debt and price/income has blown historic highs away. NZ housing will be entering this downturn in a state never experienced before.

Essentially, you're making the same bet on a different game.


If shares crash and burn that means some truly incredible NZ companies have collapsed or are expected to collapse. And if so, most of us will be unemployed.

Zac are you also forgetting that most of us have seen big chunks taken out of our funds such as Kiwisaver due to the share market drop, that's going to put a big pull back jolt on First Time Buyers who will see their potential deposits shrink. Remember much of our housing market is dependent on FTB's.

Share go up and down. Always have and always will. They are also as much a bubble as other asset classes due to international monetary policy and disgraceful share by back programs to protect stock value and CEO bonuses. People just panic when they drop because they are capital gain chasers vs yield focused, which is just like another investment class in NZ. Sure some are taking a hit because their sector has all but stopped operating, example Air NZ. Look at the fundamentals of the company if they are unchanged and the price has dropped they will still produce yield.

Indeed, fundamentally investments should be about yield. Property prices should have some relation to yield. That basic rental property should return a little better than a TD. Doesn't sound that great but the capital component of property should keep up with inflation where a TD doesn't.

If share crash and burns indicating that world economy has crashed and still expecting housing market to boom?

1 : Ignorance
2 : Stupidity
3 : Wishfull Thinking
4 : All of the above.

"If shares crash and burn . . "
I see the NZSX50 is up today and is now 14% above its low and only 15% below its high prior to the impact of the virus so currently doesn't appear to be heading for a crash and burn.
However, a long way to go to get through the virus and still even far longer to get through the economic impacts of it.

Many listed companies in retail and aged-care fell off a ledge, losing up to 75 percent. Hit harder than tourism stocks which will have a hard road back. They paid strong dividends and allowing for lower profits this FY20/21 they will be a comparative good investment for income investors.

I wonder why aged care has fallen off a cliff?

Maybe the concern is that aged folk may not have as much wealth after this with which to enter these relatively high-cost places?

And the virus is likely to kill many of their customers?

"I wonder why aged care has fallen off a cliff?"

Assuming that you're referring to the shares of Ryman, Metlife Care, & Summerset. Pure and simple, the reason that they fell significantly is that the were significantly overvalued.

RS, it's simply because investors are scared many aged care residents will die from CV (I don't believe this but sadly, many do)

"investors are scared many aged care residents will die from CV"
Would be silly to not consider the risk and probability. Been overstated IMO when good companies were down 60 percent and more. Disclosure we bought Ryman on Tuesday this week at 7 bucks. Now worth 10.50.

two scenarios for when we come out of this
there will be high unemployment as many little non essential companies fold i.e plenty of cafes, takeaways,2 dollar shops, small tourist operations
we have 250K of people in NZ on work permits (a big driver of demand away from housing) that are all auto extended, what do we do with those people that have no jobs, will many of them leave taking they will be replaced but at a slow pace, and therefore there will be less money going around the economy so house prices, rents will decline. by how much and how long no-one knows
the other side is there is a huge injection of money being put into the system worldwide and what we have learned from the GFC is a huge proportion of that boosted asset prices. so with less housing on the market prices could go to mars and beyond

"with less housing on the market prices could go to mars and beyond"
Very interesting, anything is possible to those who are open minded according to IO but the reality will be somewhere lower. At the moment this is a health crisis and not an economic one, I hope it stays that way.

Flattered to see I'm making an impression Houseworks.

House prices could rise, they could also fall. As I've mentioned, I lived in the US during the GFC and witnessed the effects there when their property market fell significantly. There appears to be little to no awareness of the pain that can cause - no caution towards preventing such a thing happening here, other than making the probabilities of it occurring higher by pushing interest rates to zero and making valuations even more exposed to a fall. And using equity on other houses, to buy more houses.

The exuberance and narratives being used around our property market the last 5+ years are a worrying sign of things to come.

"At the moment this is a health crisis and not an economic one" - Are you sure about that? With no income in tourism, hospitality, retail... you still think there won't be an economic crisis? Add on top of that the reduced manufacturing, consumption of non-essential goods and services etc.
I challenge you to tell me which major player of our economy hasn't been negatively affected by the pandemic.

Jester please try and quote people correctly. You misconstrue and misrepresent because of the big chip you have.

Challenge? That is no challenge. Let's start with grocery retailing, medical supplies and services and I suspect IT will be a beneficiary.

The govt is providing stimulus but many actual people are hurting.

Bit rich coming from someone who kept saying the property market could never fail. Do you still think house prices in Auckland will keep going up HW? Perhaps with more Gov and bank stimulus with mortgage rates dropping to 1% eventually, yes lets keep the false economy going at all costs.

Yesterday I was accused of being close minded unless I would admit that property prices could decline 50 percent. You DGM really are a strange bunch

Where did I misquote you? I copied it right from your comment. Should I copy the whole comment next time?
Also, after the initial rush on groceries do you think people will buy the same amount of chips, booze, mince pies etc. that they usually buy? We shall see.
So let's rephrase this. Hoping is one thing... but do you actually *think* there will be no economic crisis this year?

Day2 of lockdown.. can confirm that there have been several snaccidents, and supplies are dwindling fast.

Current grocery retail is also a FOMO bubble. It will slowly deflate again as people realise they have stockpiled in excess of ordinary consumption.

Houseworks, "At the moment this is a health crisis and not an economic one, I hope it stays that way."

I can't believe you wrote that, it could become a health crisis (no one has died yet) but we most certainly made it a huge economic crisis, the biggest we've known in our lifetime. Do you not understand how many people are going to lose their jobs?

Yes sadly but the govt is propping the economy. To me the crisis did not originate as economic but an economic response to health issues. Lockdown is an unprecedented response that is causing more "pandemonium". But I think you will find that exports make a quick turnaround and could have a boom by demand for quality food. Thanks for your honest and frank feedback.

The house price decline will start in Queenstown. Lots of AirBnB will turn into long term rentals and that will happen throughout the country putting downward pressure on rents.

I hope the this results in property investors selling, prices coming down and finally young people and lower income people buying their first homes (if they still have jobs).

The Govt doesn't appear to be a fan of residential property investors so perhaps they'll quietly sit back and let this happen.

It's all okay. Don't worry.
Yvil and BHSL have told us many times that sales volumes don't matter.


I see landlords are complaining again

You pays your money and you take your chance. Life is not certain - shit happens.

One person who makes a minor comment does not make a headline. Except for those with an axe to grind. In coming days there will be more stories of all kinds of people who are struggling.


"Property investors say they are being left out of pocket, ignored by measures intended to help support the rest of the New Zealand economy."
Stop whining and get a real job.

One investor, Chris Isherwood, came home from overseas when the Government indicated New Zealanders should.

But he had nowhere to live because he now could not ask a tenant to leave.

Haaaa Haaaa. Let's think about this for a moment, yes the rental property belongs to Chris. But where must the tenant live if Chris wants to turf them out? If Chris can't find accommodation due to the virus, how will his tenant?

I've got a mad thought. You'll call me silly for this, but what if.... what if there was a service people like him could utilise in such scenarios? Like paying to live somewhere temporarily. An accommodation that's owned by someone else, but you could pay to live there for a while...

A brothel?

Nah, those actually pay taxes.

rofl, love it!

lol...CJ I always like your comments

Properties will surge back up, once the lock-down is over. As world wide chain effect of virus spread devastating impacts from country to country shown, then the sure bet of economic hand out by each country and their respective economic block are All to be channeled to their own precious RE market, this will be lead by NZ, so watch out.. Another spread chain effect of worldwide properties vengeance are to be expected. Virus/Health, here we come.. our Wealth/RE shall defeat you. To infinity.. and beyond.

Greed is driving just like Greed was driving stock market just a few weeks before despite all indicators indicating otherwise, stock market was touching new high everyday and many who follow it were surprised just like now with what is happening in housing market and speculators and people with easy and cheap money were justifying why the stock market was up and is going up despite corona virus and other economy indicator suggesting otherwise exactly what is happening with housing market now despite the economy world over is falling apart and if still housing market is buoyant as this article suggest something is wrong somewhere and now if the housing market falls it will be crash as is supported by greed and FOMO just like stock market last month... Today stock market is downn by 30% and is 30% because of relief rally which is on and going future stock market may be down by 50% to 65% or more.

Last in will be worst hit in the housing market going future.... . Can draw a parallel again with other asset class / stock market and can draw your own conclusion.

For speculaors it is fine as can take a loss as have made heaps in last few years but FHB and mum n dad investors buying now may see their deposit being wiped out as we are in unchartered territory where entire world has been closed and for how long, no one knows and what will be its effect in future, no one knows and one does not need to be an economist or an expert to understand how fast and bad the economy is diving along with health.

Thin line between being brave and foolish.

So stay healthy and cash rich for now.

Richard1965, I agree that housing market will take a hit but will not crash like stock market.

How bad the hit will be depend how much longer it can behave irrationally supported by..... No words to describe what is supporting so will leave it blank.

Low interest? I doubt as now low interest rate is norm and nothing new and with so many losing jobs or taking cut in salary/ earning/ profits and no one really knowing (even experts) where economy is going. Hard to imagine that still people in this forum are expecting house price to go up in near future and many others are aguing with them and those arguing with them are more stupid as is best to ignore such.... (Again no word to describe such fools so leaving it blank) who are not able to see the writting is on the wall

alittle, Agree will not crash like stock market but will fall - how much only time will tell but remember that even a fall of 10% or 20% (which is entirely possible) will be significant in housing crisis and anything more will be a disaster.


Many also feel that this is only a health crisis.

Yes it started as a health crisis and is big but now eceonomy crisis is also BIGGER.

Event not witnessed in one's lifetime. Entire world has shut down and is at complete halt and still some feel that is also not an economic crisis.. Funny.

Once the health crisis is over will feel the impact of the economy crisis and despite all measures taken by reserve bank and government will still be one of the worst in a century never witnessed by many.

Important is to survive the health risk and economy disaster that is unfolding all over the world.

It would already be one of the worst crisis in modern history if it weren't for the INSANE amounts of money pumped into the markets by governments.
Unlike the 2008 crisis, this was triggered by an actual loss of both production and demand. 2008 was a financial crisis, this one's deeply affecting the whole economy, worldwide.

Mortgage rates down.And there goes the RE vested interests & their pro-RE media into the expected self-serving spin on how it would boost house prices. YAWN!! Which lending institution would be so careless to lend to someone jobless or happens to be in a sector severely impacted by the COVID-19???

Remember that RE is rich and powerfull and now will lobby the hardest supported by vested media and experts to create a spin. Unfortunately only economy that is a proof of Rock Star Economy in NZ is housing sector so even government falls for it and unfortunately this time many FHB will take a hit who buys now not realizing that this are not normal time and history is being rewritten world over so what happened earlier or how things workout earlier may not necessarily work in future.

Things will be sorted out evantually but have a long journey and everyone should be prepared for a rough ride ahead.

So should be wait and watch.

Jan-March 2019, as I have reiterated many times, was abysmal for sales
So, inevitably, this year's improv looks much more dramatic.
Plus, a much higher % going to auction. Because auction sells them faster.
Why would so many more folk want to sell faster....

Auction rooms are busy........

Many have not been hit by the reality of what is happening around them and how future is going to change as many have not witnessed a recession or have short term memory and many who do remember past fall feel that will bounce back fast as has always happened earlier without realizing that this typeof event isfirst in livi g memory and may outplay dicferently.

Interesting and somewhat surprising result. But thinking about it a bit more, maybe not that surprising. For many of these buyers I imagine it would have been an understandable decision. They'd likely been looking for a house for months so the thought of putting that all on hold for potentially the next few months was probably not appealing. And that goes double if they'd finally found a house that they really liked and had developed an emotional attachment to. Maybe not the smartest financial decision for some, but if you have a good deposit and a steady job then why not.

The property market is now about as safe as a casino and unless you are buying a roof over you head , you would be advised to steer clear


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