How long has that house been on the market?

by Alistair Helm in

As an active buyer searching for your next home; in what we are constantly being told is a very tight property market, with an acute shortage of property, you might be surprised to learn that across the country half of all the properties on the market today have been for sale for more than 3 months. In fact 1 in 4 of all properties for sale today have been on the market since before Christmas!

The fact is, as with everything these days we tend to focus on the new, the latest and the current. We tend to look no further than the first page online when it comes to search results and property searching. Step beyond the first 3 pages on and you will discover another 1,923 pages (20 properties to a page) full of properties all fighting for your attention.

I was drawn to examine the make up of the stock of properties on the market when I saw quoted the other day the fact that in the UK 25% of homes on the market had been on the market before Easter. A fact I found amazing. It prompted me to examine the extent to which this was true in NZ. The fact is in NZ overall close to 40% of all properties were on the market before Easter. 

This classic long-tail is more acute outside of the main 3 cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Across provincial NZ there are currently over 27,000 properties for sale of which less than 1 in 5 were added in the month of September, with 6 out of 10 being listed more than 3 months ago. So much for the belief that the typical “days to sell” measure as reported by REINZ in August was 38 days! 

The fact is that a lot of properties take a long while to sell and often are re-listed more than once by a different real estate agent. It is only the final selling agent that declares to REINZ the days-to-sell as to how long it took them to sell the property from the date of the listing agreement, not how long the average house takes to sell from first listing day to final unconditional contract.

Some markets though do exhibit a very different distribution of aged-property. At the other extreme Christchurch exhibits  a very different make up of property for sale on the market. In this much tighter market where less than a third of all properties have been on the market for more than 3 months and properties listed for more than a month only represent 58%, compared to 82% across provincial NZ.

Auckland as would be expected has a high proportion of newer listings, but in fact lags considerably behind Christchurch. Again despite the constant commentary about the shortage of listings, fully 1 in 8 of all properties on the market today have been for sale since Christmas, fully a third have been on the market for more than 3 months.

For Wellington its inventory of property for sale totalling 2,362 listings has 45% of all listings - a total of over 1,000 properties that have been on the market for more than 3 months and similar to Auckland 1 in 8 (over 300 properties) have been on the market since Christmas - as yet unable to find a buyer.