Looming property lending restrictions are being cited as the cause of a surge in Auckland residential property listings with the city's biggest real estate agency.

Barfoot & Thompson's total listings rose from 1426 in July to 1706 last month.

ASB economist Kim Mundy said this could have been caused by people rushing to list homes before looming Reserve Bank lending restrictions come in next month.

"While sales activity held up in August, it was far from a strong month and may be the result of banks already acting in the spirit of the new restrictions, therefore limiting investor activity in the market," Mundy said.


Property investors will need a 40 per cent deposit under the tough new rules, introduced in an attempt to put a lid on New Zealand's spiralling property prices.

Barfoot figures showed the number of available listings increased from 3012 in July to 3151 last month.

Sales volumes are relatively static: 1306 in May, 1168 in June, 1034 in July and 1003 last month.

But average sale price jumped from $867,681 in July to $906,560 last month and the median sale price rose from $840,000 to $850,000. Sales over $500,000 accounted for 86.6 per cent of all unconditional sales last month.

Peter Thompson, Barfoot managing director, said signs that the rate of Auckland house price increase was slowing first showed up in July and had continued.

"August's price increase was restrained, for both the average price and the median price. The slow-down is not so obvious when comparing August data with that for July, but when you look at the average for the previous 3 months it becomes more apparent.

"The average sales price in August was $906,560. While this was up 4.5 percent on that for July, it was up only 2.6 percent on the average price over the previous three months.
Our data shows that those claiming the average price is on the verge of topping $1 million are over inflating where prices are heading," Thompson said.

"While prices continue to rise, for the past 5 months buyers have not been prepared to pay more than they believe is the market price. The same trend can be seen with the median price, which at $850,000 for August is up 1.2 percent on July's, and up 2.5 percent for the average for the previous three months. Current price increases are relatively modest compared with what has occurred in recent years.

Read the full Barfoots release here: