Real estate agents are complaining about a short' />

Spring has sprung but the "for sale" signs on grass verges outside houses are failing to sprout.

Real estate agents are complaining about a shortage of listings, saying the warmer weather usually makes people think of shifting.

But not this year.

Realestate.co.nz, jointly owned by the Real Estate Institute with a group of large agencies, complained about the lack of the anticipated spring pickup in a monthly update issued yesterday.

In July, 10,733 houses were put on the market but last month there were only 10,644 new listings.

This was below the expected level anticipated as a result of the spring seasonal upturn.

The agents are blaming the lack of new listings partly on flat prices.

The national mean price sought last month was $397,187, and in Auckland $501,979.

National house prices have fallen 7 per cent since the market peaked in October 2007 when the asking price was $403,107, the agents said.

"The main centres of Auckland and Christchurch showed virtually no asking price movement," realestate.co.nz said.

Real Estate Institute figures also showed the market was flat.

July's national median house price of $340,000 was the same as June and also identical to July last year, the institute said last month.

The national median in July was down on the $345,000 in July 2007 but up on the median prices for the years 2000 through to 2006 when the median was $170,000 to $312,500, the institute said.

Alistair Helm, chief executive of realestate.co.nz, predicted the listing drought could eventually push up prices.

"If potential sellers continue to hold off listing properties, the shortage of available stock could push prices up over the coming months," he said.