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Home transfers hibernate during lockdown  Media release

1 May 2020

The number of home transfers fell away significantly during the COVID-19 lockdown period, after a lift just before the lockdown came into effect on 26 March, Stats NZ said today.

Home transfers from the start of 2020 to mid-March showed a pattern similar to that of the same period in 2019. The COVID-19 lockdown was announced on Monday 23 March, and came into effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020, immediately impacting home transfers.

“Home transfers picked up just before the COVID-19 lockdown as it appears that parties brought forward transfers,” acting property statistics manager Dave Adair said.

“The number of home transfers then fell away significantly in the first half of April, while the lockdown was in place.”

There were 774 home transfers on Friday 27 March, down 1,263 (62 percent) compared with the equivalent Friday in 2019.

Typically, property transfers (including home transfers) increase during the week and peak on Fridays, excluding public holidays. Property transfers do not occur on Sundays, and only occasionally on Saturdays.

Why we talk about ‘transfers’ not ‘sales’

A transfer is not the same as a sale. Transfers often involve a sale, but there are many other possible reasons for a transfer (such as marriage settlements, boundary changes, trustee changes, or changes in the share of ownership).

Every sale is a transfer, but not every transfer is a sale. We refer to the parties involved as buyers and sellers for simplicity.

MIL OSI