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Property editor of the NZ Herald

Is the Auckland property market stalling? Barfoots hints at plateau

Auckland's biggest real estate agency says it is seeing signs of the property market stablising - or even plateauing.

Barfoot & Thompson said this morning that mid-winter blues had hit the market and cited cold weather and school holidays as reasons for a slump in sale numbers. But there had been "a definite change in the market over the last month".

Barfoots, with about 40 per cent of the Auckland market, has just released its monthly figures for Auckland and Northland that showed fewer people listing properties for sale, with new listings slipping from 1770 in June to 1426 last month.

Sales numbers also dropped, from 1168 in June to 1034 last month. The average sale price dropped from $908,343 in June to $867,681.

But the median - or middle - residential price increased slightly from $839,500 to $840,000.

For the first time in five years, the Auckland housing market is showing unmistakable signs that prices are stabilising, and may even be plateauing. There has been a definite change in the market in the last month.
Barfoot & Thompson chief executive Wendy Alexander

In July, there were 383 Barfoot sales of properties going for more than $1 million, accounting for 47.6 per cent of all sales last month.

Barfoot released commentary with the data from its chief executive Wendy Alexander.
"For the first time in five years, the Auckland housing market is showing unmistakable signs that prices are stabilising, and may even be plateauing. There has been a definite change in the market in the last month," her statement said.

"The average price in July was $867,681, a fall of 4.5 per cent on that for June, but more significantly 2 percent below the average price for the previous three months. The trend is not as evident in the median price, which at $840,000 was the same as in June, and 2.1 percent higher than the median price for the previous three months.

"The winter months, school holidays and a slowing in the number of new listings all contributed to the slow-down in July, but buyer determination to pay whatever is necessary to achieve a property was tempered.

Normally, prices rise as we enter the spring/summer months, but the Reserve Bank's new regulations affecting investors will start to have an impact from August on.
Wendy Alexander

"Buyers remain prepared to pay a fair price, and under the hammer sales at auctions of 70 percent were still high, but sales activity is slower than it was at the same time last year.

"In the three months May to July this year we sold 3508 properties. In the same period last year we sold 3780, a 7.8 percent difference.

"The year-on year increase in prices is still occurring, but at a much slower rate than we have seen in the past 4 years.

"The average price has increased by 5.3 percent over the past 7 months compared to 2015's full year average price increase of 14 percent.

"The median price increase over the past 7 months has been 6 percent compared to 17.4 percent for 2015.

"Whether price increases will continue in the remaining months of the year is unclear. Normally, prices rise as we enter the spring/summer months, but the Reserve Bank's new regulations affecting investors will start to have an impact from August on," Alexander said.

Other data came out this week from realestate.co.nz and Quotable Value.
The QV material showed New Zealand had a new national home value of more than $600,000 while Auckland's is approaching $1 million.

- NZ Herald

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