Lifestyle block sales at 12-year high at start of 2016
Lifestyle blocks are in hot-demand after a record-breaking start to the year.
More than 2,370 lifestyle properties were sold during the first three months of the year - the highest number of sales in 12 years, the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show.
A total of 8,719 lifestyle properties have changed hands for the year ending April, up 31.1 per cent year-on-year - the highest number of annual sales since 2004.
The value of lifestyle properties sold also hit a new high - with $6.46 billion worth of sales recorded for the year to April.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said: "Strong volumes of sales and prices in the three months ending April 2016 confirms confidence in the lifestyle market throughout the country."
"As a result, a number of regions report increasing difficulty in locating sufficient property to meet the demand."
The median price for lifestyle properties sold in the first quarter of the year was $562,500 - up $10,000 compared to the same period last year.
The national median price hit a record high in April, with the Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington regions also hitting record median prices.
Twelve regions recorded an increase in sales compared to April last year.
Peacocke said there were good levels of activity throughout Northland and Auckland, "albeit a slight easing in volumes from last month".
The median price for lifestyle blocks in Auckland increased 10 per cent to $1.1m for the first three months of the year.
Wellington saw an increase of 46 sales and Northland an increase of 41 sales.
Meanwhile, there was "very strong activity" throughout the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and the Taupo markets, with pressure of traffic in Auckland and employment opportunities in the regions being some of the driving factors mentioned by purchasers, he said.
However, the median price fell by 0.8 per cent in Waikato to $470,000.
In Taranaki, the market was buoyant market, supported predominantly by local buyers, with prices peaking to between $1.2 million and $1.5m in the north, and $700,000 and $800,000 in the southern part of the province.
There was a "solid lift" in sales during April in Otago, with very good activity in the Central and Lakes regions. Strong prices near Dunedin peaked within the $1.4m to $1.6m range.
However, not all regions were experiencing an influx of activity.
There was a 20 per cent drop in sales throughout Canterbury, but that was consistent with similar periods over the past two years. The median price rose by 9.1 per cent in Canterbury to a record high of $662,784.
"[There is] evidence of farmers being more inclined to stay on their farms longer, and retire either to town or popular holiday locations rather than purchase a lifestyle property," Peacocke said.
And despite sales decreasing in the Nelson/Marlborough region, there was still reasonable activity, he said.
The median number of days to sell a lifestyle property was 67 days.