Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Owners sitting tight while city craves new listings

Sale listings in Auckland are drying up as home-owners consider their options. Photo / Doug Sherring
Sale listings in Auckland are drying up as home-owners consider their options. Photo / Doug Sherring

Listings for stand-alone houses in popular Auckland city-fridge suburbs have plummeted as would-be sellers stay put.

Property experts say some are not selling because they are enjoying unprecedented value increases, and others can't afford the next step on the property ladder.

Alistair Helm from Trade Me said 3600 homes were for sale this month across the whole Auckland region compared to 12,500 in the same month five years ago.

June was traditionally quiet but listings were down almost 20 per cent on the same time last year.

"We would expect to see inventory rise in the coming months, but there is no denying the fact that it is slim pickings across the City of Sails," said Helm.

It is the hot city suburbs that are are suffering the most.

The number of houses listed on Trade Me in areas such as Grey Lynn, Westmere, Point Chevalier and Western Springs has dropped to single figures.

Barfoot and Thompson said it had no listings for houses in Grey Lynn and only one each for Ponsonby and Herne Bay.

Andrea Rush from QV said owners of free-standing homes were staying put because they couldn't afford the next step up or were too scared to sell for fear of being locked out of the market.

"Those who may have traditionally put their first home in Grey Lynn, Ponsonby or Westmere on the market to then upgrade to a larger home for their growing families are now finding the financial jump is just too high," Rush said.

"Add to that the growing population coming into Auckland and you will find supply is not keeping up with demand."

Rush said figures from CoreLogic showed sales to investors had increased sharply from 37 per cent in 2012 to 46 per cent this year.

At the same time sales to "movers" looking for a new home, had decreased from 28 per cent in 2012 to 23 per cent this year.

It is the hot city suburbs that are are suffering the most.

Peter Thompson, from Barfoot and Thompson, said the low number of listings extended to all areas and was partly because it was winter but also because people wanted to buy before they sold.

"People are thinking if I sell what do I move into, so they are trying to buy and then put their house on the market," he said.

"At month end we had 2936 properties on our books, which is marginally lower [2.6 per cent] than the previous month's 3013," he said.

Keith Dowdle from Custom Residential said "for sale" signs were being replaced by builders' vans as people felt confident about staying put and adding value to their already pricey properties.

The market for stand-alone houses "was tight" and there had been a lot of interest in a rare entry-level stand-alone property he was marketing in Grey Lynn.

Another property in Saint Marys Bay was just one of six houses in the area on the market.

"In this area people are staying put because they have seen great value increases in the past four years."

Areas that do boast a number of listings are selling mostly apartments. On Trade Me there are 41 listings in Grey Lynn - but 35 are apartments or townhouses. Of the 21 properties available in Ponsonby only four were for stand-alone houses. Of the 41 listings in Parnell only three were for free-standing properties and the rest apartments.

House listings in Ponsonby were down 65 per cent from last year and had halved in Parnell, Helm added.

Figures from QV show the value in the former Auckland City Council suburbs, which include Westmere, Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, has increased 14.3 per cent year on year.

On average homes in the area have increased close to $150,000 in one year. Values in those suburbs have risen by 84 per cent since the previous peak in June 2007.

- Herald on Sunday

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