Christchurch Real Estate: March Update

Harcourts’ South Island Regional Manager, Jim Davis, comments on the Christchurch real estate market.

The end of March not only heralds the end of our Summer-style of weather, but also the end of the financial year for a lot of businesses around New Zealand, and in particular real estate. Consequently, it’s not unusual to see a rush of activity happening right up to the 31st of March as businesses look to close the financial year on a high note. This year was no exception as the REINZ data shows.

There is no doubt that the mood and sentiment of the country is ever changing when it comes to what is happening around our marketplaces. Much of the analysis and commentary is based around what is happening around Auckland. In the most part, whatever happens there has a tendency to filter out to the rest of the country eventually. Historically however, Canterbury and Christchurch in particular don’t seem to be hit with the same large swings and volatility that can happen in the Auckland market. Our marketplace typically has a much smoother ride through the ups and downs that usually affect real estate markets. The release of the latest real estate sales data from around the country showcases this point exactly.

As has been trumpeted in the media, property sales numbers have dropped significantly in Auckland and in most other parts of the country, however property price growth has continued in all but a couple of regions, thankfully at a slower rate for those purchasing. The data is showing that the measures put into place by the Government and the reserve bank are starting to affect the market. The increase in the OCR this past week will also start to play a factor over coming months as the higher servicing requirements with higher interest rates bite. Sentiment has turned in favour of buyers; currently however, it is not a wholesale swing in their favour quite yet as far as Canterbury and Christchurch are concerned. This is evident when you visit the auction rooms around the city currently; buyer numbers are still reasonably strong, and for whatever reason, some property will have multiple bidders, and some is passed in. Clearance rates are now back to the typical “pre- Covid” levels of around 60%, down from the heady heights of 90% experienced at times over the last year or two.

So, what has happened with Harcourts across our city over the month of March?

Stock levels are still very tight. We have less than half the stock on hand available for sale that was typical in pre-Covid years. New listings for March were down 2.7 % in comparison to March last year, so currently the so-called deluge of property for sale is not evident in Christchurch yet.

Sales volumes across the city are down in number in comparison to March last year, but remember March 2021 was the highest volume sales month for Harcourts in the last 10 years. Comparing instead to February data, our March sales numbers are up 40%. While this trend is typical for a March in any year, there is no doubt the market is still active. What is evident is that the requirements of the banks for approving loans is slowing the speed of decisions by people and as a consequence, things are taking a bit longer.

While some in the media will talk that “auction is dead”, the reality is auction is still the preferred method of sale within Harcourts with 55% of our listings this last month coming in as auctions.

Our average sale price dipped ever so slightly in comparison to the previous month but was still 21% higher than March last year (a record at that time).
The overall data for Christchurch City as supplied by the REINZ follows a similar trend, as you would expect since Harcourts is such a dominant figure in the local marketplace.

For the month of March, the median sale price is recorded as $710,000, down slightly on the $730,000 recorded in February but still up 18% in comparison to March last year, mirroring our Harcourts figures.
There were 712 recorded sales for March across the city, up 23% on February but down against the record set in March 2021.
Days on market is set at 29 days, down from last month’s 32 days, also indicating there is plenty of movement still occurring in our market and buyers are active.

We now head into a typically quieter time in real estate with the change of weather and so many shorter weeks over April and June. Regardless, the figures will continue to tell the true story of what is actually happening. For some people, what the market is doing or not doing can be irrelevant, especially if you have made a decision that you want or need to sell and buy. If you fall into this category, then your choice of who to represent you becomes critical to your success in an ever-changing marketplace. Harcourts continues to dominate the market in Christchurch for a reason and our results speak for themselves, as a result of our size, our systems and the comprehensive training we provide our consultants.

All March sales for Christchurch City
Average sale price – $827,345
Median sale price – $710,000

Harcourts March sales for Christchurch City
Average sale price – $923,388
Median sale price – $765,000

When you need to make your real estate decision in this current ever-changing market, it is time to actually look at the real figures so you can make your decision an informed decision.

For the best and most up to date real estate advice, talk to your local Harcourts