Listings fail to keep up with demand for homes

By Michael Dickison

Auckland asking price eases but inventory down to equivalent of 15 weeks of sales.

Photo / Richard Robinson
Photo / Richard Robinson

Auckland real estate asking prices fell 2 per cent last month even as longer-term sale prices continued to soar, according to Realestate.co.nz.

The website yesterday released its NZ Property Report for November, showing new listings increasing but still unable to keep up with demand.

Inventory in Auckland was down to the equivalent of 15.5 weeks of sales - half the long-term average of 31 weeks. It fell 20 per cent in a month and 43 per cent since last year.

"Inventory is the biggest news in the month. And Auckland has got the biggest pressure," said the website's marketing manager, Paul McKenzie.

But the large gap between current inventory and the long-term average indicated it was part of a bigger trend, he said.

"That gives you an idea that it isn't a one-month thing where we haven't had enough listings.

It's been ongoing since 2010 when the big drop-off happened."

The report showed prices on an upward trajectory nationally, up 0.2 per cent for the month and 6 per cent compared with last November.

In Auckland, despite the 2 per cent monthly fall, prices were still up 9 per cent for the year.

The monthly drop made little difference to the bigger picture, he said.

"I don't see there's too much of a change, really. Overall, it's still definitely trending up."

The Herald's Property Report, also published yesterday, tracked quarterly median sale prices rising slightly to 12.5 per cent above the 2007 boom.

Mr McKenzie said there was no significant discrepancy between asking and sale prices. "They're normally pretty close. There are months when there are slight differences in ups or downs, but you're talking small percentages."

The trend for the year was clear, in spite of small monthly fluctuations, he said.

New listings nationwide increased 7 per cent for the month, with total listings in the past 12 months up 6 per cent on the previous 12 months.

But the number of new listings was still well below five years ago, even if house prices had exceeded 2007 levels.

Mr McKenzie said November typically saw the most listings in a year, with a drop-off usually following in December and January.

The squeeze on the housing market was likely to continue as a result.

Real estate agencies say scarcity will continue to drive up prices.

- NZ Herald

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