Where have all the Chinese buyers gone?
Their absence was particularly noticeable at this week's apartment auction by City Sales.
The apartment resale market is still dominated by investors and over the last year or so it has become increasingly dominated by ethnic Chinese investors, so much so that the big apartment auctions have tended to look like Shanghai on a Saturday night.
But at this week's City Sales auction there were only a couple of Chinese faces.
There were also noticeably fewer Chinese faces at this week's Ray White City Apartments auction.
There were Chinese people there and some were bidding, but in fewer numbers than I've become used to.
The same thing may be happening out in the suburbs.
During the week I spoke with an auctioneer who handles a large number of suburban homes.
He told me that he had auctioned 20 Auckland suburban properties in the last week or so and the Chinese buyers that had been thronging open homes and auctions until recently had become conspicuous by their absence.
"The Chinese have left the market," he told me.
So where does that leave the market?
At City Sales auction this week six properties were offered, four sold under the hammer and two were passed in.
One of those that was passed in was a 41 square metre, one bedroom leasehold unit with outgoings including ground rent of $368 a week, which would not leave much room for investors to make money from it, even if it was cheap.
At Ray White City Apartments' auction seven properties were offered and four sold under the hammer, with three being passed in for sale by negotiation.
One of those that was passed in had only been purchased in July, for $520,000, and a new, high quality furniture package had been installed. There were multiple bidders and the bids got to $570,000 but could not be coaxed any higher and it was passed in.
A couple of months ago I would have expected it to sell under the hammer.
Investors are still buying but they are being more picky.
They aren't prepared to throw bucket loads of money at a property in the expectation they will quickly get it back and more, from rapidly rising prices.
One of the complaints I've started hearing from agents is that they are increasingly having to deal with vendors who have unrealistically high price expectations.
At the moment demand is sufficient to soak up the supply of available properties, although those that aren't priced to meet the market or have other issues that set them apart, may struggle.
However the number of new listings coming to market is increasing strongly, particularly in Auckland, with the number of Auckland properties newly listed on Realestate.co.nz up by a third in September compared to the same month last year.
The challenge for the market as we head into summer will be how well it copes with that extra supply.
See below for the full results from this week's City Sales and Ray White City Apartments auctions.
Auctioned by City Sales on Wednesday 30 September:
- 6C/22 Beresford Square. Beresford building. A 77 square metre, one bedroom unit with north facing balcony. Vacant. Sold for $460,000. Rates were $1360 and the body corporate levy $2635. No sales history available. The agent was Gabrielle Hoffmann.
- 2E/2 Eden Cres. Argent Hall. A 32 square metre, furnished studio with a balcony. Rented at $320 a week.There was only one bid on the property, for $200,000 and it was passed in for sale by negotiation. According to QV.co.nz the unit had been purchased for $115,100 in 2001. The agent was Tony Kelly.
- 5b/18 Scotia Place. Nova en Scotia building. A 53 square metre, two bedroom furnished unit, overlooking Myers Park. Rented at $450 a week. According to the auctioneer the property needed a touch up with a paint brush. Sold for $426,000. Rates were $1397 and the body corporate levy $4399. According to QV.co.nz the unit had been purchased for $241,000 in 2007. The agent was Steve Roberts.
- 6P/100 Grey Ave. Amora Hotel building. A 35 square metre, furnished unit with a car park and storage locker. Leased to the property manager until 2021. Sold for $175,000. No sales history was available. The agent was Ivan Tvrdeich.
- 209/22 Fisher Point Drive. Beaumont Quarter complex. A 41 square metre, one bedroom furnished unit with a car park. Leasehold. Vacant. Rates were $1463, the body corporate levy $3821 and ground rent $13,865, giving total outgoings of $19,149 a year ($368.25 a week). There were no bids on the property and it was passed in. The agent was Tania Toparea.
- 9/3 Ngahura St, Eden Terrace. A 72 square metre, two bedroom/two bathroom, split level unit with a tandem car park, in a building that sits adjacent to railway tracks. Vacant. There was particularly competitive bidding on the property and it was sold for $471,500. Rates were $1265 and the body corporate levy $2787. According to QV.co.nz the unit had been purchased for $252,800 in 2011. The agent was Iona Rodrigues.
Auctioned by Ray White City Apartments on Thursday October 1:
- 5D Harbour St, St Mary's Bay. A 58 square metre, one bedroom, ground floor unit with courtyard. Vacant. Sold for $550,000. Rates were $1822 and the body corporate levy $2083. According to QV.co.nz the unit had been purchased for $340,000 in 2011. The agent was Krister Samuel.
- 10E/16 Gore St. Harbour City building. A 25 square metre studio. Vacant. The building's body corporate is involved in a $10 million High Court action against Auckland Council and other parties over alleged defects in the building's construction. Sold for $190,000. Rates were $2018 and the body corporate levy $1639 with an additional levy of the same amount. Vacant. The No sales history. The agents were Donald Gibbs and Liam Kyle.
- 1J/127 Grafton Rd. The Bridgeside building. A 48 square metre one bedroom unit with balcony and tandem car park. Vacant. Sold for $415,000. Rates were $1265 and the body corporate levy $4236. According to QV.co.nz the unit had been purchased for $186,000 in 2000. The agent was James Mairs.
- 1I/72 Wellesley St. Kingsbridge building. A 76 square metre, two bedroom furnished unit with a large balcony and a car park. Vacant. Passed in with a highest bid of $570,000. Rates were $1434 and the body corporate levy $5768. According to Qv.co.nz the apartment had been purchased fro $520,000 in July this year. The agents were Krister Samuel and Mitch Agnew.
- 318/6 Dockside Lane. The Docks building. A 65 square metre, two bedroom, furnished unit with a car park. Leasehold. The opening bid was $100,000 and when there were no higher bids the auctioneer made a vendor bid of $200,000 but when there were no further bids it was passed in. Rates were $1594 and the body corporate levy $7756 which included ground rent. The agent was Victor Liu.
- 109/53 Cook St. The Aura building. A two bedroom, two bathroom, furnished unit with a balcony. Sold for $295,000. The agent was Sue Holland.
- 201 Manukau Rd, Epsom. A 230 square metre, modern, mixed use, three level building on a corner site. Passed in with a highest bid of $1.26 million (plus GST). The agent was Dominic Worthington.