Auckland's largest real estate agency's sales volumes hit a 17-year record and more than half the places it sold last month were for $1 million or more.
Peter Thompson, Barfoot & Thompson managing director, said: "In February we sold 1124 properties and you have to go back 17 years to find a February when we sold more homes."
As well, 56 per cent of the homes sold in the month went for $1m or more, whereas last year, that category was only 40 per cent of monthly sales, he said.
The agency listed 1941 new properties last month but the rising supply did nothing to satisfy Auckland buyer demand or dampen price increases.
The average and median sales prices increased: average prices reached $1,075,408, up 0.7 per cent on January, and a median price of $1,010,000 was up 3.6 per cent in a month.
February's median price was the highest on record and $5000 higher than the previous record set in December, Thompson said.
"At month's end, we had 3416 properties on our books, the highest number for three months. This number, combined with the level of homes in the sales pipeline, will contribute to March likely being a strong sales month."
The Auckland market was now set to remain active throughout autumn.
Rural and lifestyle property activity in February was nearly three times as active as it was for the same month last year.
"Increased payout projections for dairy farms, combined with banks again lending on this type of property, has seen an increase in demand for dairy land. There is also strong interest in demand for land to plant trees," Thompson said.
Top-end lifestyle homes are in short supply, which has caused a lift in bare land sales especially for elite sites and land suitable for subdivision.
This week, the Herald's quarterly OneRoof publication came out which told of high Auckland house price rises. That said: "There's good news for people who have owned a home in Auckland since 2014 and not yet sold it - you could be sitting on a quarter of a million dollars or more, at least on paper."
But today, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens released his latest Home Truths series where he forecast a very different market coming soon.
House prices are still rising but the market is "past its peak" and mortgage interest rates will rise, Auckland house-building is catching up with demand and the shortage will be zero by 2028, Stephens said.
The boom has a way to run yet but the market will slow in time. That's because mortgage rates will rise and the shortage of housing is being rapidly reduced, Stephens says.
"We think the current boom has, in one sense, already passed its peak. We expect the monthly pace of price increases will trend down from here," Stephens said.
Asked what he thought of Stephens' predictions, Thompson said he did not make predictions and took a much shorter-term view of the market.
Supply was already rising, he said, which could have an effect.
"We're going from almost a sellers' market to more of a balanced market where the buyers have good opportunity and the sellers have to be realistic and that is going to continue for the next two to three months. We've had the buyers lately but just not the stock. We've listed something like almost 2000 properties in February, compared to 15000 to 1600 at the same time last year," Thompson said.
"Buyers now have more opportunity. It's starting to balance out. Banks are making changes. This is most probably an abnormal February, mainly because of the lack of travel," he said.
Kiwis will return after selling properties overseas soon and further boost volumes, he predicts. Many kiwis living overseas took time to sell their places to enable them to return and buy here, he said.
Referring to the latest seven-day level 3 Auckland alert, Thompson said that last year, the agency had developed more electronic options for buyers and sellers meaning yesterday's auction was held completely online.
"Yesterday we had about 80 or 90 properties in the online auction on Barfoot's web site at Auction Live. We would have been pretty close to the target 65 to 70 per cent under the hammer," he said.