Property editor of the NZ Herald

House price figures could show cooling

A sign of softening in figures was illustrated by a slump in the volume of unconditional sales with commissions paid for Barfoot & Thompson. Photo / NZ Herald
A sign of softening in figures was illustrated by a slump in the volume of unconditional sales with commissions paid for Barfoot & Thompson. Photo / NZ Herald

Quotable Value statistics on national house values will be released today and could show December to be less frenetic than other months last year.

House buyers and sellers tend to be less active or engaged in December, often having their minds more on the summer, holidays and the festive season than house deals.

So activity often slumps then.

On December 16, spokesperson Andrea Rush issued a notice flagging today's announcement.

The QV House Price Index statistics to December 31, 2015 as well as a joint 'QV/CoreLogic Year in Review' media release will be published," she said.

READ MORE:
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Barfoot & Thompson data out last Wednesday illustrated the usual December slump was in action in Auckland.

The mainly Auckland-based agency saw the vendors stay away.

Its number of new listings more than halved, from 1683 new listings in November to only 757 in December - a common trend because people perceive less interest from buyers during the holidays.

The average number of new listings for that agency throughout 2015 was 1678/month, Barfoot data showed, so the December change was marked.

A further sign of softening was illustrated by a slump in the volume of unconditional sales with commissions paid for Barfoot. In November, Barfoot agents sold 986 properties but in December, that fell to just 796, well below 2015's average of 1139 sales.

Prices fell also. November's average residential price was $876,075 but that was down by $6583 to $869,492 last month.

However, the volume of stock fell, offering buyers less choice, from 3252 listings in November to just 2431 by December. Barfoot said the average number of listings at the end of every month throughout 2015 had been 3044.

Economists put less stock on monthly fluctuations, saying the period of time is too short to reach any meaningful conclusions about the market.

First home buyers should see less competition in the market, especially in the first few months of the year.

The latest Massey University Home Affordability Report showed Auckland housing affordability improved slightly by 1.4 per cent from last year's third quarter to the final quarter.

But the city is now 59 per cent less affordable than the rest of New Zealand.

Auckland homes are more affordable than reported in September figures and the previous deterioration trend in affordability has slowed from 16.6 per cent to 3.7 per cent.

However, the margin by which Auckland exceeds the national figure tops historical levels.

Other regions remain more affordable than the national average, Massey found.
Nick Goodall, CoreLogic senior research analyst, yesterday predicted first-home buyers could do well this year.

"First-home buyers should see less competition in the market, especially in the first few months of the year," he said.

"First-home buyers found their way back into the market throughout 2015 as lending conditions remained favourable and regulatory changes targeted property investors, both local and foreign.

"KiwiSaver funds being accessed for first homes continues to increase as more and more people become eligible to withdraw funds and on April 1, 2015 new rules came into effect for first-home withdrawals that allowed larger sums to be withdrawn."

- NZ Herald

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