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Real Estate Investar Blog

Auckland house sales down by a quarter

Buyers may be sitting on their hands but prices are holding steady at Auckland's biggest real estate agency.

Barfoot & Thompson said the number of properties sold in Auckland in May was low compared to previous years but prices had not dropped.

"The average sales price for the month at $942,717, and the median price at $846,000, remained rock solid," said Peter Thompson, managing director.

"With a sound number of new listings, total listings at their highest for the past five years and low sales, there was greater pressure on prices to fall than has been experienced for some years. However, the average and median prices achieved for both have barely moved over the previous three months.

"On a year-on-year basis the average price is now running under 8 per cent higher and the median price is 4.5 per cent higher."

Quotable Value's latest figures showed that in Auckland values were up 9.3 per cent year-on-year, the slowest rate of growth since November 2014. They moved just 0.1 per cent over the quarter.

The Real Estate Institute's data showed that in April, Auckland's turnover was down 32 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Thompson said his agency had seen a drop in sales numbers of about a quarter, year-on-year.

"The vendors who are achieving a sale are those who accept that prices are flat, and are likely to remain that way until the September election is behind us," he said.

"New listings at 1734 were down 6.6 per cent compared to the average number for the previous three months and 9 per cent lower than they were in May last year. However, they were a third up on those for April.

"It suggests the price slow-down is not leading to a greater number of people than normal listing their property for sale.

"Total listings at 4298 were up a little on last month's but more than 40 per cent higher than at the same time last year," he said.

That combination of fewer sales and strong listings could be a precursor to a price drop, if the number of properties available for sale continues to increase.

Thompson said top-end properties were in high demand. Almost 40 per cent of all sales in May were for more than $1 million. Just 4.5 per cent were for less than $500,000.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub said it was the cheaper part of the market that was the first to be exposed to the effects of a downturn.

"It's likely the usual story of the cheaper end of the market falls first. It was also the part that ran up the hardest."

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said the market seemed to be settling.

"Every year at this time their average sales price measure rises faster in three months than the three months to February.

"The monthly results are too volatile and should be ignored. At 2.1 per cent, the latest three month rise is lower than 4.5 per cent in the same period last year, 6.2 per cent two years back, 5.5 per cent three years ago and 5.7 per cent four years ago.

"So the monthly result does not alter the underlying trend of a firm slowing in price growth on average."

Topics: Values / Prices

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