Auckland homes rise $540 a day

By Anne Gibson

Auckland's housing sector set a new record last month, with prices rising $540 a day to reach a monthly average of $523,793.

Barfoot & Thompson's average sale in November was $507,000 but December deals saw the market up by $16,793.

Barfoot director Peter Thompson predicted more price rises this year, which he forecast to be extremely buoyant.

"It's satisfying to see such a positive result for the Auckland property market in the face of some fairly strong negative sentiment from the commentators," Mr Thompson said.

Property continued to defy doomsayers, he said.

"Most commentators were predicting a correction and expected interest rate rises to have more of an effect than they did.

"Our sales results demonstrate the inherent strength of the Auckland property market and we see those conditions continuing this year," he said.

"We continue to see strong buyer interest in the market and vendors who present their properties well and price them realistically can look forward to achieving good results."

The agency sold 11,000 properties last year, meaning it was making around 950 sales a month, Mr Thompson said.

In January last year, Auckland's average sale price was $428,385.

Barfoot's average sale price throughout last year was $480,738, which was 5 per cent up on 2005.

Tony Alexander, the BNZ chief economist, said the December sales data showed how strong the housing market remained.

"The continued firm price gains undoubtedly reflect what now appears to be a growing shortage of listings.

"The number of listings in December was down from a year ago. Properties remain in short supply and this suggests that for the early part of this year at least, it would be reasonable to expect that prices will continue to rise," Mr Alexander said.

Shamubeel Eaqub, director of investment research at Goldman Sachs JBWere, said Barfoot's new listings were running 10 per cent below what they were a year ago, suggesting a lower supply of homes which might mean some sellers were becoming discouraged with the market.

"The housing market continues to bubble along in Auckland, but the pace has clearly eased from the frenetic 2005," he said.

"However, signs of recovery in sales late last year will bear close watching."

Real Estate Institute national house sales data from November released on December 15 showed the national median rose to a record $330,000, up $6000 in a month.

Auckland's median was up $10,000, from $415,000 in October to $425,000 in November.

The institute is due to release its national December sales figures next week.

Barfoots found one sector of the residential market remained static. Average rents dropped from $359 in November to $349 last month.

Mr Alexander said the number of fresh lettings during the month was down by 10.6 per cent from a year earlier at 463 lettings.


Still going up

Average Auckland sale prices, Barfoot & Thompson
* 2000: $302,514
* 2002: $335,029
* 2004: $423,317
* 2006: $480,738
* December 2006: $523,793

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