Auckland's house sales jump to 8-year high in January, Barfoot says

The change in sales pattern meant 21 percent of sales in January went for more than $1 million, down from 35 percent in December. Photo / Getty Images
The change in sales pattern meant 21 percent of sales in January went for more than $1 million, down from 35 percent in December. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland residential property sales volumes jumped to an eight-year high for the month of January, according to the city's largest realtor.

The number of sales rose 4 percent to 893 in January from the same month last year, marking the highest level for a January month in eight years, Barfoot & Thompson said in a statement. The 919 new listings in the month is 23 percent lower than January last year, and the realtor said it had just 2,574 properties on its books at the end of the month, a 20-year low.

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January's average sale price of $811,700 is 6.6 percent lower than December, but 7.2 percent ahead of January last year, the realtor said.

"Rather than January's prices reflecting a fall, the decline can be traced to a change in sales patterns," said managing director Peter Thompson. "During January we sold a higher percentage of homes in the outer southern and northern suburbs compared to those in the central and eastern areas than is normally the case."

The change in sales pattern meant 21 percent of sales in January went for more than $1 million, down from 35 percent in December. Meanwhile, the number of homes that sold for less than $500,000 made up 29 percent of sales, compared to just 5.5 percent in December.

Thompson said it was too early, just one month into the new year, to predict a trend for the year.

Rather than January's prices reflecting a fall, the decline can be traced to a change in sales patterns.

The government and the Reserve Bank last year introduced new measures to try and cool Auckland's bubbling property market, where migrants and investor are adding to competition for a shortage of housing.

The central bank introduced Auckland-specific lending restrictions in November, while the government's more stringent enforcement of taxing speculators' capital gains began in October.

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- BusinessDesk

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