The average Auckland house price held firm in January, breaking from the traditional dip at the start of a new year, lifted by more sales of higher value properties, according to realtor Barfoot & Thompson.

The average sale price in January of $913,938 edged up from $913,709 in December last year, and was 13 per cent ahead of January last year, Barfoot said in a statement. The median price of $846,500 advanced 0.8 percent from December and was 11 per cent higher than January last year.

The Auckland figures follow data from Quotable Value this week showing the average value of a New Zealand home rose 14 per cent to $631,302 in January from a year earlier, with Auckland values climbing 13 per cent. The housing market is being buoyed by record migration and low interest rates, even as the central bank tightens lending restrictions to reduce the risk to financial stability.

"January is normally associated with a dip in prices but for the first time in 14 years the average and median prices paid were marginally higher than those in December," said Peter Thompson, Barfoot's managing director.

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Thompson said 31 per cent of Auckland properties were sold for more than $1 million, a higher percentage than normally seen for a January month. Some 13 per cent of sales were under $500,000.

The number of sales in January fell to a five-year low of 629 properties, which was 13 per cent fewer than December and 30 percent below January last year. At the same time, availability increased with 1,142 new listings, 47 per cent ahead of December and 24 per cent up on January last year.

"There were no obvious signs prices were under great pressure to fall," Thompson said. "At the start of this year buyers enjoyed greater choice than has been the case at this time of the year for four years."

The company had 3,620 properties on its books at the end of the month, up 11 per cent on last month's level and 41 per cent higher than January last year.

Thompson said the housing market may still be regaining momentum from the summer holiday period.