House sale volumes in Auckland last month reached an eight-year December high as buyers competed for a record-low number of listings, according to Barfoot & Thompson.
The real estate agency said it sold 920 homes in the final month of 2012, at an average price of $624,015.
That was its highest number of sales in a December for eight years, said managing director Peter Thompson.
"The average price achieved remained high, with it being down less than $4000 on November's all-time record average price of $627,721."
High sales volumes and prices were partly driven by a significantly low number of listings, Thompson said.
"While new listings in December are normally relatively low compared to the rest of the year, this December's new listings at 697 were exceptionally modest, and the lowest recorded in a month for the past decade."
Listings were 17.6 per cent down compared to December 2011.
It was also the first time in the past decade Barfoot listed fewer homes in a month than the number of homes sold, Thomson said.
The agency had reported having 3410 properties on its books at the end of December, which was 10.6 per cent fewer than at the end of November.
Of all homes sold in the month, 9.5 per cent were bought for more than $1 million and 42.8 per cent for less than $500,000.
The situation is unlikely to change anytime soon, Thompson said.
"With new listings and the total number of listings being at all-time lows, and with mortgage lending rates forecast to remain steady for the first half of 2013, the outlook for the early part of this year is for prices to hold on to the gains made in the last quarter of 2012."
The average price of homes sold in the city increased by $41,590, or 7.7 per cent, in 2012 to $584,715 when compared to 2011's average price.
"While this is the highest percentage increase in five years, it follows on three years of average price increases that failed to keep pace with the rate of inflation," said Thompson.