Surge in properties for sale

By Brendan Manning


Northland's housing market experienced a surge of new listings in December - bucking the trend of what is traditionally a quieter month.

The NZ Property Report compiled monthly by property listing website Realestate.co.nz says there were 603 new listings on the Northland market last month - 42.9 per cent more than in December 2011.

It was the second biggest regional year-on-year rise in New Zealand behind Southland, which had a 72.5 per cent increase with 314 new listings.

But the "truncated mean" asking price for Northland homes fell 14.4 per cent from November to $366,584 last month - the largest regional reduction in the country.

Realestate.co.nz says the "truncated mean" measure, which drops both the upper and lower 10 per cent of listings, removes the extremes which can skew traditional average price figures.

And while the inventory of listings in Northland - the number of weeks it would theoretically take to sell all unsold housing stock on the market - last month fell to 96 weeks from a long-term average of 128 weeks, only Coromandel (160 weeks) and West Coast (126 weeks) had longer inventories of the 19 regions analysed.

Despite the figures, Whangarei Barfoot and Thompson branch manager Martin Dear said the Whangarei property market was ticking along.

"I don't think we've seen a massive decrease in prices, but I don't think we've seen an increase in prices in the last few years."

The lower end of the market favoured buyers, while mid-range properties were selling well, Mr Dear said.

"The coastal areas are still lagging behind a bit."

A lack of employment opportunities continued to be a problem which held the area back, he said.

"I feel very positive about the market. We've got a lot to offer here and I think in the next couple of months good properties priced right will sell."

Nationally, the property market began the New Year with an ease in asking prices, but registered the lowest number of properties for sale on record.

The national inventory of listings fell to just 26.6 weeks, down from the long-term average of 39 weeks.

Realestate.co.nz marketing manager Paul McKenzie said the ongoing demand for homes in Auckland drove the fall, with the nation's biggest property market registering a record low of 13.9 weeks of housing stock for sale-.

The ease in national asking prices to a level just 1 per cent above those of a year ago - to a seasonally adjusted $422,636 - should be welcome news for buyers, he said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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