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Sellers wait for a premium while buyers take their time

debt_small.jpgNew Zealand buyers may have lost some of their "must buy now at all costs" mentality. spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said some of the urgency had come out of the housing market, as she released her site's statistics for September.

"Typically we can see trends around what happens during the different phases of a year, such as a slow-down in the winter months and a resurgence in spring, but 2016 is The Year of Unpredictability," she said.

"Traditional seasonal behaviour is diminishing as sellers appear to be more focused on selling at a premium particularly in markets like Auckland, while buyers are considering all their options and properties are now taking a longer time to turn over."

It was only a few months ago that property experts were talking about "panic buying" as people worried they would miss out on their chance to get into the property market.

READ MORE: Hot housing market prompting 'risky' behaviour

September is traditionally a popular month to list properties for sale.

But Auckland was the only region where total stock levels increased last month, by 4 per cent.

And while Auckland asking prices hit another all-time high at $933,435 (a 2.8 per cent increase on the previous month), properties were spending longer on the market, Taylor said.

"It appears that sellers are looking to command higher prices," Taylor said.

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"On the other hand, if there were no new listings coming on to the Auckland market, all existing properties would now take 12 weeks to sell, which indicates a slow-down in activity."

In September last year, if there were no new listings coming on to the Auckland market, all existing properties in Auckland would have taken 9.6 weeks to sell.

Taylor said it could be that buyer sentiment had shifted from a "must buy now at all cost" mentality to a more considered view of options, particularly with prices continuing to rise.

But in other parts of the country, the options are still increasingly limited.

Nationwide, new property listings across the country were down by 12.2 per cent in September on the same time the previous year, and the total housing for sale stock was down 23 per cent.

Waikato's total available housing stock level plunged 31.9 per cent compared to the same month last year, which Taylor said could be partly due to the interest of Aucklanders in properties further south.

"Aucklanders have been active in the Waikato region for quite some time and have perhaps absorbed the first round of property offered by Waikato sellers who capitalised on the demand."

New property listings coming on to the market in September in the Waikato fell by 20.1 per cent compared to the same time last year and average asking prices lifted by 3 per cent on the previous month.

It was a similar picture in the Wellington region where new property listings fell 8.1 per cent in September compared to the same time last year.

Total housing stock for sale in the capital in September 2016 was 37.7 per cent lower than the same month the previous year. Property asking prices in Wellington rose 1.4 per cent on the month before. Wellington's average asking price hit $524,657 in September, up 1.4 per cent.

Asking prices in Canterbury and Otago fell by 2.5 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively compared to the prior month, to $471,813 and $317,367.

New listings were also down 4.7 per cent in Canterbury and 12.6 per cent in Otago compared to 2015.
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