Property editor of the NZ Herald

House-price growth slowing

This Westmere house had a CV of $860,000 and passed for $1,300,000.
This Westmere house had a CV of $860,000 and passed for $1,300,000.

Real estate agencies say house prices in the over-cooked Auckland market may be starting to level off.

Latest data from the country's biggest agency network, Harcourts, and Auckland's biggest, Barfoot & Thompson, does not show the big price increases that have become the norm for the Super City.

Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan said the company's figures showed a "slight plateau in the average sales price".

The $616,238 June average for Northland and Auckland was 2.45 per cent up on last June's $607,147.

"This presents perhaps a sign of hope for investors and first-home buyers who have been feeling frustrated by the climbing market," Mr Duncan said.

Barfoot & Thompson's managing director, Peter Thompson, said June's Auckland average house price - while well ahead of the same period last year - was only 1 per cent ahead of May's average, rising about $5000.

That showed prices were holding steady for the third consecutive month, he said.

"For the past four months, the average price has moved in a narrow price band between $643,089 in April and $649,945 in June," he said.

Properties are flying off the listing schedules faster, leaving a listing shortage.

"Properties on the market have shrunk," Mr Thompson said. "Demand for properties is unprecedented and competition among buyers is intense.

"However, this competition has so far not led to prices breaking through the price ceiling established in March."

At the end of June, Barfoot had 2873 properties on its books, the first time listings had dipped below 3000 properties in the past 11 years, he said.

Mr Duncan said Harcourts' new Northland and Auckland house listings rose 8.45 per cent in the past year and exclusive new listings rose 10.6 per cent.

"But overall properties available to buy have decreased by 21.82 per cent, demonstrating demand is still vastly outstripping supply, with homes selling quickly after being put on the market."

Last month, 30 per cent of properties were listed for auction, up from the previous June's 24.12 per cent.

"This again points to low levels of supply, with vendors well aware they can get the best price through this competitive sales method," Mr Duncan said.

National data out this month from also showed prices fell from May's $454,795 to $450,178 last month.

Senior Westpac economist Michael Gordon predicted national prices would rise.

"We expect nationwide house prices to rise 9.5 per cent this year, and a further 7.5 per cent next year."

- NZ Herald

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