Real Estate Intelligence Service report Q1 2019
Given New Zealand’s summer calendar dominating the first part of the year, as usual, the first quarter of 2019 has been a story of two halves
The market in the first half in January and early February was noticeably (and predictably) quieter than 4Q18. Much of New Zealand took advantage of a long and glorious summer, and why not? That is not to say that market activity stopped in its tracks, more that the pace of deals slowed naturally as key decision makers took time to enjoy their summer breaks.
Most economic/property market indicators are seemingly aligned presently with December 2018 statistics, reporting economic growth at 2.8% (up 0.6% in 4Q18), CPI inflation and wage inflation both at 1.9% and unemployment at 4.3% respectively. Economic forecasters expect a similar context for the foreseeable future, all things being equal. But, while economically things are moving along in a sustainable and predictable manner, 2019 could well be a key year of transformation for New Zealand. It is worthy of note that if population growth this year represents the average rate of growth over the last 28 years (1.26%), 2019 will be the year we have a population of over 5,000,000 people. While this is of course just another number, conceptually a shift to being a country of over 5m people will put New Zealand on a whole different economic level.
From mid-February onwards, however, there has been a noticeable intent and purpose coming back into the market which continues to demonstrate strong and positive sentiment for property investment. Industrial and office enquiries lead the way, although there has been good letting activity in key retail assets in Auckland’s CBD in particular.