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Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury see substantial increase in $1 million-plus property sales — driven by suburban growth

4 February 2022

In 2021, the number of $1 million-plus property sales increased by 69.1% compared to 2020, with regions including Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury seeing significant growth.

The median residential property price across New Zealand in 2021 was $830,000, with high demand and low supply putting upward pressure on prices. Overall, a total of 30,873 million-dollar-plus properties were sold — up from 18,260 in 2020 — and accounting for 35.2% of sales — up from 21.4% in 2020.

Auckland tops $1 million or more property sales

In 2021, Auckland’s median house price was $1,162,000, with suburbs in the region seeing substantial growth in properties sold for $1 million or more. Over the course of the year, 62.0% of properties sold for $1 million-plus. The three suburbs leading the million-dollar-plus march were Flat Bush, Remuera and Henderson.

Flat Bush saw a 34.0% increase in million-dollar-plus properties up from 517 in 2020 to 691 in 2021. Despite a 2.0% decrease year-on-year, Remuera saw 497 properties sell in this price bracket, down from 505 in 2020, and Henderson had a 172.0% increase from 140 in 2020 to 381 in 2021.

Rowan Dixon, Acting Chief Executive at REINZ, says: “Remuera has again seen many high-end properties selling for $1 million or more. Attractive living prospects — including access to the city centre, family-friendly parks, heritage housing and school zoning — keep property prices firm in the suburb.

“What is interesting are two up and coming suburbs — Flat Bush and Henderson — which have seen a significant percentage increase in the number of properties sold for over $1 million in the past year. Flat Bush offers a range of residential housing in relative proximity to the city for those commuting to Auckland’s CBD for work. While Henderson’s increase may be due to the outer ring of the region, which offers larger section sizes — for owners seeking a lifestyle block and access to the city,” Dixon adds.

The Auckland suburbs that saw the highest percentage increase in the number of properties sold for $1 million or more were Papakura (421.0%) and Manurewa (415.0%). These two South Auckland suburbs have been watched closely over the past couple of years due to buyers purchasing properties in the upper quartile, which has begun to impact the level of housing affordability for many in the suburb.

“A low level of stock in central areas leads buyers to look to the outer suburbs of the city where residential housing is considered more affordable — in result, prices have increased significantly and a shift in buyer sentiment has begun to emerge,” Dixon says.

 Waikato sees marked growth in $1 million or more property sales

Auckland wasn’t the only North Island region that saw substantial growth in sales of $1 million or more properties — the Waikato region also experienced an increase. The median house price in Waikato for 2021 was $752,500 and of the total number of properties sold, 22.0% were over the $1 million or more price point.

The top three suburbs/towns with the highest number of properties sold for $1 million-plus were Flagstaff — a 22.0% increase from 132 in 2020 to 161 in 2021, Cambridge — a 180.0% increase from 54 in 2020 to 151 in 2021, and Huntington — a 328.0% increase from 25 in 2020 to 107 in 2021.

“When we look at Waikato, the incline in these figures may be down to its increasing popularity due to its strong economy, as well as increasing land and building costs,” adds Dixon.

Interestingly, Pokeno experienced the largest percentage increase of properties sold for $1 million or more (971.0%) — from seven properties in 2020 to 75 in 2021. Pokeno — a township considered relatively rural yet situated alongside the Waikato Expressway — has seen significant expansion over recent years, becoming an attractive area for housing, investment and business.

“The expressway’s linkage between Auckland, Hamilton and towns further south has led to much growth in Pokeno over recent years. With Auckland becoming increasingly expensive, some Aucklanders are choosing to move outward and commute,” says Dixon.

Canterbury shows significant increase in $1 million plus properties

In the South Island, Canterbury is proving a strong contender, recording significant growth. The region’s median house price reached $605,000 in 2021, and of all properties sold, 10.1% were sold for $1 million or more.

The three suburbs with the highest number of properties in the million-dollar-plus bracket included Merivale — a 20.0% increase from 82 in 2020 to 98 in 2021, Saint Albans — a 138.0% increase from 40 in 2020 to 95 in 2021, and Fendalton — an 11.0% increase from 76 in 2020 to 84 in 2021.

“The spike in certain suburbs throughout Canterbury could be because of the favourability of its housing market recently, fuelled by consistent buyer demand including a steady number of active first home buyers and investors in the market,” says Dixon.

Rolleston saw the largest percentage increase of 883.0% from six properties in 2020 to 59 in 2021. The Selwyn District, in which Rolleston is situated, had nearly 2,000 homes approved for construction in 2021 with a majority of building consents for new homes in Rolleston and Lincoln.

“The noteworthy growth within the Selwyn District may be why suburbs such as Rolleston have experienced such substantial growth in the number of properties sold for $1 million or more — more housing brings more choice, which attracts more buyers and therefore, more competitive pricing,” concludes Dixon.