The number of house sales in Auckland in March was close to double the sales in February, according to figures released by the city's largest real estate agency.

Barfoot & Thompson figures showed 1341 sales in March, an increase of 92.1 per cent from February, when 698 houses were sold.

Managing director of Barfoot & Thompson, Peter Thompson said March was consistently one of the busiest sale months of the year.

While the number of sales increased from February, there were 16 per cent fewer sales than March 2015.


The median price of sales was $798,000, a 12.2 per cent increase from March 2015 and an 8.1 per cent increase from the month before.

"When prices are this strong in March the trend is for prices to hold steady through the year," Thompson said.

"As it has been for the past two years, lack of supply remains the main price driver."

There were 1874 houses listed for sale in March, 9 per cent fewer than in February and 6.2 per cent fewer than March 2015.

Barfoot & Thompson's data was released the same day the latest Massey University Home Affordability Report found Auckland continues to be the least affordable place in New Zealand to buy a home.

According to the report, Auckland remains a staggering 59 per cent more unaffordable than the rest of the country.

This is despite recording a 3.1 per cent improvement in affordability for the third consecutive quarter.

Report author Dr Susan Flint-Hartle said the "modest" annual improvement in the country's largest city was "good news for policymakers intent on moderating the persistent inflation of Auckland house prices".

But she warned the improvement offered limited respite for first homebuyers in Auckland.

"Despite the small improvements we've seen over the past few quarters, Auckland remains 59 per cent less affordable than the rest of New Zealand - and that is a record high. The only other region that is more unaffordable than the national average is Central Otago Lakes, at 48 per cent," said Dr Flint-Hartle.

The report, which covered the period from December 2015 to February 2016, showed a 9.2 per cent annual improvement in affordability across New Zealand continuing the trend of the past three quarters.

The only region to buck the trend was Central Otago Lakes where a 10.5 per cent improvement in housing affordability was reversed over the past six months.

Efforts to cool the hot Auckland property market were beginning to take effect with lower interest rates coupled with the Reserve Bank's loan-to-value ratio restrictions making houses more affordable.