Auckland house sales dropped 14 per cent in May from a year earlier as the market cooled ahead of winter, according to Barfoot & Thompson, the city's biggest realtor.
Sales dropped to 1,109 in May from 1,284 a year earlier, and were up 37 per cent from April when the Easter public holidays fell. The average sale price dropped to $702,966 from $708,603 in April, but was still up from $644,737 in 2013. The median sale price rose 4 per cent to $645,000 in the month, and was up from $570,000 a year earlier.
Listings fell to 3,498 in May from 3,623 in April and up from 3,034 the previous year. New listings fell 19 per cent in May to a three month low of 1,318.
"It is by now a well-worn story, Auckland remains a city with a greater number of people chasing fewer properties," Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson said in a statement. "Overall the market is in line with seasonal activity, and we are likely to see further cooling with average and median sales prices calling back slightly over the winter months."
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Auckland's property market has been a bugbear for the Reserve Bank as prices accelerated in the face of a supply shortage, and last October introduced restrictions on low-equity home lending as a means to cool the sector, without having to resort to early interest rate hikes. Since then, the bank has embarked on a tightening policy, hiking the official cash rate twice to 3 per cent, and is widely expected to hike it for a third time next week.
In May, Barfoot sold 343 properties with a price tag of less than $500,000. That was about 31 per cent of all sales in the month, down from 37 per cent in April. Sales of $1 million homes rose to 188, from 120 in April.