Have property sales returned to normal levels yet?

by Alistair Helm in


"Property sales up 21% on prior year to the highest level since 2007" read the press release from REINZ summing up the past calendar year.

Certainly the property market has seen a recovery which started last year rising 9% from the low of 56,000 in 2010, and then this past year rising a further 21% to the total of 74,000 property sales.


Property sales 92 to 2012.jpg

However as the chart above shows that sales last year were 10% below the average of the past two decades.

Ranked for those past 21 years from the lowest sales year (2008) to the highest (2003) shows in fact that the total sales for 2012 was identical to the year 1993 - can anyone remember that far back in terms of real estate ??

Property sales in ascending order 1992 to 2012.jpg

That situation where sales last year totaled the same as nearly 20 years ago brings to mind the analysis of relative sales to the number of dwellings in this country.

In 1993 according to data from Stats NZ there were 1.214 million dwellings and therefore the sales in that year of 73,959 represented 6.1% of all dwellings being transacted just above the 21 year long term average of 5.9%. At this time there are estimated to be (we are awaiting the next census) 1.558 million dwellings, so the total sales of 74,000 in 2012 represents just 4.8% of all properties being transacted in that year. Clearly we are yet to return to what might be called normal levels.

percentage of property sales.png