Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Property asking prices reach record high

Photo / Greg Bowker
Photo / Greg Bowker

Property asking prices around the country have reached a record high, with a shortage of houses on the market helping to fuel demand.

The NZ Property Report from Realestate.co.nz shows September's national mean asking price reached a record high of $466,526.

That's up nine per cent on the same time last year, and a rise of .7 per cent from August.

Asking prices in Auckland have softened slightly, down one per cent from last month's record high, but the September mean asking price of $644,968 is still 12 per cent higher than September last year.

Realestate.co.nz acting CEO Phillip Dunn said the national figures showed a continued strength in the market, without being a remarkable jump.

It also reflected the low number of houses on the market in the past few months in comparison to previous years.

"We're certainly coming off the really low inventory we've had in previous months," Mr Dunn said

In Auckland, he said more houses had come onto the market in August - "possibly spring coming a little early" - which contributed to the small drop in mean asking prices.

"It's just a lessening of pressure on listings on the market. When we have more stock coming on, we may see more softening of price."

Bayleys' research director Gerald Rundle agreed with Mr Dunn, saying listing volumes were coming off historically low levels.

Current listings recorded by realestate.co.nz were about 40 per cent fewer what they were five years ago when levels were at a post-global financial crisis peak, Mr Rundle said.

"Realestate.co.nz figures show that right now, there are enough houses for sale in Auckland to meet market demand for around 11 weeks. Back in 2008, that figure was out to 60 weeks, so we've seen a marked compression in supply at a time when sales activity is on the increase."

Barfoot and Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said it was difficult to gauge average asking prices in the Auckland market because of the large number of auctions.

About 90 per cent of the agency's sales were by auction, where listing prices were not quoted, Mr Thompson said.

"That's where the price has either met and exceeded the vendor's expectation or the vendor has adjusted their expectation slightly to meet the market."

Bayleys' national auction manager Daniel Coulson said rapid movement in the Auckland market also made it difficult to "price".

It moved downward during the recession, and recovered rapidly in the past 18 months, he said.

"A growing number of vendors are leaving it over to the market to ultimately set the value of a property."

Auckland was one of five regions to record a drop, including Manawatu/Wanganui, Central Otago/Lakes, Bay of Plenty, and Wairarapa, where the asking price fell by 5.5 per cent on the previous month.

Prices in Waikato and the Coromandel Peninsula both reached record high asking prices in September.

The biggest increase on August figures was in Marlborough, up 18.6 per cent to $435,773.

Mr Dunn said lending restrictions which came into force this week did not appear to have had an effect on September figures.

"We're not seeing anything that shows a clear effect of what was then the impending LVR. There's talk in the market of it having an effect, but we're certainly not seeing it in the data we produce."

It may be December to January before any clear impact can be measured.

Asking price data was taken from the Realestate.co.nz listings. Mr Dunn said only 70 to 75 per cent of properties were listed with an asking price, but where a price was not available, the middle point of the price search range was used.

Mr Dunn said traditionally sale prices were slightly below asking prices.

Prices around New Zealand:

Auckland

- $644,968 average asking price* in September

- Down 1 per cent on August

- Up 12 per cent on September 2012

3744 new listings in September

- Up 1 per cent on previous month

- Up 2 per cent on same month in 2012

Wellington

- $446,053 asking price in September

- Up 1 per cent on August

- No change from September 2012

810 new listings in September

- Up 7 per cent on August

- Down 12 per cent on September 2012

Canterbury

- $418,125 average asking price in September

- Up 3 per cent on August

- Up 10 per cent on September 2012

1180 new listings in September

- Up 3 per cent on August

- Down 2 per cent on September 2012

Waikato

- $384,595 average asking price in September, new record high

- Up 3.9 per cent on August

- Up 8.5 per cent on September 2012

777 new listings in September

- Up 7 per cent on August

- Down 10 per cent on September 2012

*Asking prices are a seasonally adjusted truncated mean, calculated by removing the top and bottom 10 per cent.

Source: Realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report

- APNZ

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