Seasonal fluctuation in Auckland's property prices indicate it could be wise to buy in December and sell in February.
Last week, the latest QV House Price Index showed prices in the Super City had flat-lined over the past three months, with 0.2 per cent growth, with suburbs in the north, south and west showing a dip in prices.
Homes.co.nz spokesman Jeremy O'Hanlon cautioned people not to take the trend as an assurance the market would continue to cool.
"February traditionally shows a spike in average sales price, so what happens this month will be our first real view as to how much the market has cooled in Auckland."
He said people should keep the seasonal trends in mind when looking to buy or sell, and said the data favoured selling in February and buying in December
Data from the free property site indicated that across the past five years February saw the largest growth each year; the average month-on-month difference in sale prices across the past five years was 8.07 per cent.
O'Hanlon said sales histories across the past five years in central Auckland also shows traditionally property markets did tend to cool down right before the summer holidays - which led to an inevitable peak in property prices in the New Year.
"It's easy to forget that there's a clear seasonality to property, and the market generally cools over December and January; even in the midst of a boom."
The homes.co.nz figures showed December experienced the biggest seasonal drop, down 6.48 per cent in its average month on month difference in sale prices.
This was followed by January with a drop of 4.11 per cent.
QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said the figures were in line with the typical slowdown over the summer holidays.
"Christmas is a very busy time as it's also the end of the school year and the beginning of the annual summer holiday period so many businesses shut down for three weeks, there are numerous public holidays and people go away on holiday.
"This means that fewer people are out purchasing property and it also means listings levels are lower, usually as many people wait until after Christmas to put their homes on the market."
QV data showed sales volumes tended to drop off markedly between November to December, then were typically even lower in January before jumping back up in February.
"February and March is consistently the highest sales volume month on the annual cycle."
Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy said if there wasn't a pickup in prices in February "then you could start talking about trends".
"If there is not a pickup by February, then you can start talking about trends."
Kennedy said while recent figures showed there was a more balanced market across the country that allowed for growth, it wasn't moving as fast as the past two years.
"It's important to remember that a market cooling isn't the same as saying a bubble is bursting," he said. "2015 was an unusual year and coming back a little from those levels of sales and inflated prices does not mean disaster."
Average month-on-month difference in prices across Auckland Central
January: - 4.11 per cent
February: 8.07 per cent
March: 2.55 per cent
April: 0.69 per cent
May: 2.13 per cent
June: 0.7 per cent
July: -0.04 per cent
August: 1.07 per cent
September: 0.57 per cent
October: 1.8 per cent
November: 2.81 per cent
December: -6.48 per cent
Figures from homes.co.nz
Jan-125,3282012 Feb-127,5142012 Mar-128,6622012 Apr-127,1852012 May-128,0952012 Jun-126,8802012 Jul-126,7802012 Aug-127,0732012 Sep-127,1022012 Oct-128,0832012 Nov-128,5802012 Dec-126,5692013
Jan-135,8032013 Feb-138,3702013 Mar-139,2992013 Apr-138,2992013 May-138,6922013 Jun-136,9822013 Jul-137,8342013 Aug-137,7312013 Sep-137,8132013 Oct-137,8262013 Nov-137,7782013 Dec-136,1992014
Jan-145,4922014 Feb-147,4732014 Mar-148,1122014 Apr-146,8962014 May-147,3532014 Jun-146,3812014 Jul-146,6192014 Aug-146,4272014 Sep-146,9402014 Oct-148,1262014 Nov-148,8672014 Dec-147,6482015
Jan-155,8522015 Feb-158,6372015 Mar-1510,2442015 Apr-158,5772015 May-159,2012015 Jun-158,6112015 Jul-159,3442015 Aug-159,2342015 Sep-159,9332015 Oct-158,9802015 Nov-159,4962015 Dec-158,0422016
Jan-166,2162016 Feb-169,3462016 Mar-1611,1572016 Apr-1610,1812016 May-169,9362016 Jun-168,7352016 Jul-168,5512016 Aug-168,8182016 Sep-168,6662016 Oct-167,8812016 Nov-168,8762016 Dec-167,654