Lockdown prompts Aucklander to consider a move to the regions.
There has been a surge in the number of Aucklanders checking out property outside the region over this lockdown, Homes.co.nz says.
The property listings website analysed the percentage of users in Auckland who were also researching properties in other areas at three different 10-day intervals.
It found that over the first 10 days of the current lockdown 24.9 per cent of Auckland users were looking at properties outside of Auckland.
In comparison, 8.4 per cent of them were doing so over a 10-day period three months ago.
Homes.co.nz chief data scientist Tom Lintern said a number of factors were likely to be behind the trend, including the higher risk of Covid and lockdowns, greater flexibility to work remotely and the region’s high prices.
Auckland house prices were up by 28 per cent over the year ending July to reach a record median price of $1,175,000, according to the latest Real Estate Institute figures.
But that strong price growth, along with affordability constraints, meant Auckland was closer to the top of its market cycle than other parts of the country were, Lintern said.
“Many Auckland homeowners, and investors, might be considering using their capital gains to invest in other areas, which are at different points in the cycle and where prices are still increasing.”
Christchurch, which had a median price of $600,000 in July according to the Real Estate Institute and which many commentators believed had scope to rise, could be one such market.
Lintern said it would be interesting to see if the increased interest in property outside of Auckland translated to stronger demand in regional areas after lockdown.
“If this lockdown is relatively short we would expect to see that, especially [with] some regions coming out of level 4 earlier than Auckland.”
Realestate.co.nz spokeswoman Vanessa Williams said there had been a slight increase in Auckland users on the site looking at property outside the region.
Their number was up by two percentage points n the first eight days of lockdown, compared to the eight days prior, she said.
“But it is property in Northland, Queenstown and Coromandel that is attracting the most attention from Aucklanders.
“They are all holiday destinations, so the increase could be driven by people dreaming of nice places rather than planning to move.”
Looking at property was a popular pasttime for people confined to their homes and spending more time online, Williams said.
“It’s not just in lockdown though. We have about 1.3 million unique browsers a month. As there are about 2.4 devices per person in New Zealand, you could cut that to about 600,000.
“Yet there are less than 10,000 residential property transactions each month.”
That suggested the Kiwi love affair with property meant that many people enjoyed looking at property even if they did not have plans to buy or sell, she said.
But real estate activity has not stopped with lockdown. Auctions have successfully moved online and agents had reported a surge in enquiries.