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The fast lane

In the not-so-distant past, Auckland and Canterbury homeowners could count on selling their properties quicker than those anywhere else in New Zealand – within 34 days, according to Real Estate Institute (REINZ) median days-to-sell data for the 10 years to April.

But with activity easing in the North Island’s and South Island’s most populous regions that has all changed. The median days to sell in Auckland stood at 41 in April, while vendors in Canterbury could expect their home to be on the market for 39 days.

In other markets the pace has stepped up, and a diverse range of locations are now firmly in the fast lane when it comes to clinching a sale.

In every region other than Auckland and Canterbury, days to sell were below their longer-term (10-year) median for April. Leading the field were four regions where the median sale sees properties changing hands within a month.

Relatively affordable but fast-rising Manawatu/Wanganui leads the pack, with the median home there selling within 28 days of listing, way down from the longer-term median of 43 days. This rapid pace of sales reflects a sense of urgency among buyers in a region where the median price leapt 18 percent in a year, to a record high of $316,000.

In a similar category is second-placed Southland where days to sell tumbled by nine days to 29, compared with a long-term median of 40, during a year when the median price soared 22 percent to a record $300,000; followed closely by Otago (30 days; long-term 38) and Taranaki (30 days; long-term 46).

Days to sell are sitting at just over a month (32 days) in Wellington, where a period of sustained price rises was capped with a 10 percent increase to $615,000 over the past year. The lucky number is 36 days for those selling homes in the Waikato, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay – all quicker than the longer-term norm – with each of these markets seeing year-on-year price rises of between 8 and 15 percent.

“The baton has been passed in terms of where properties are changing hands the quickest,” says Bayleys’ national residential and auction manager Daniel Coulson. “There’s a genuine fear of missing out among buyers in some of the regional hotspots where prices are rising sharply.

“The quicker pace of the market in these locations is good news for vendors – but buyers face a moving target and need to be well prepared with finance, inspections and market research so they can move decisively once they see a property they like.

“A calmer market in Auckland and Christchurch, with relatively steady prices and longer days to sell, means buyers there have more time to research and carry out due diligence. For vendors, the focus is on making their properties stand out and to factor in the possibility it might take a bit longer to secure a sale.”

According to the REINZ data, the pace of sales has eased in Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman over the past year, with days to sell now around the longer-term norm at 38 days – though this has done little to dampen prices, which saw an annual rise of nearly 9 percent.

At 42 days to sell, homes in the Bay of Plenty are taking slightly longer to change hands than those in Auckland or Canterbury, but this is still significantly quicker than the Bay’s longer-term norm of 50 days. The median price in the region lifted nearly 5 percent year-on-year, to $600,000.

In Northland, the market appears to be catching its breath, with days to sell rising to 53 from just 38 a year earlier – though this is still lower than the longer-term figure of 55 days. Despite this slowing, Northland’s median sales price climbed nearly 13 percent to a record $507,000 over the same period, albeit on a lower sales count.

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