The politically charged housing sector got a minor injection of confidence this morning, as Auckland prices achieved by the city's largest agency picked up by around $10,000 in the past month.
With postal voting about to open soon and just 17 days before the election, the agency with more than 40 per cent of the city's market said average prices had recovered somewhat last month, from July's $908,319 to $918,926 in August. The median picked up too, from July's $810,000 to August's $820,000.
However, Barfoot & Thompson said August activity was reflective of the past six months: lower sales volumes and prices remaining firm.
Peter Thompson, Barfoot managing director, said volumes were down a third from 12 months ago and buyers and sellers who accepted the new reality are the ones achieving the outcomes they are seeking.
Unconditional $500,000-plus sales accounted for 80.8 per cent of August's turnover and there were 276 sales over $1m and 39 sales over $2m last month, Barfoot said.
But volumes remain low at 777 sales last month, up only marginally on July's 747 sales. In June, Barfoot agents sold 855 properties, and in May 886.
"In spite of claims that there are few homes for sale in Auckland at under $500,000, in August we sold 90 properties in this price category, representing 11.6 per cent of all sales for the month," Thompson said.
"At the same time, high-end properties continued to sell well with 276 sales, or 35.5 per cent of all sales, being for in excess of $1 million.
"There was no shortage of new property reaching the market, with 1260 new listings in August. While down 15.5 per cent on the average number for the previous three months, this is not unexpected one month out from a general election.
"At month end we had 3993 properties on our books, the lowest number for the past six months but still more than a quarter higher than at this time last year.
"It means we enter the general election month with the highest number of properties at the start of a September for six years. It provides a good platform for the market to operate from once the election is behind us."
On Friday, Quotable Value blamed winter, bank lending limits, the election and China's crackdown on capital flows for national house value growth being the slowest in five years and Auckland values hitting their most glacial pace since 2011.
The QV House Price Index out on September 1 showed that nationally values only rose at 4.8 per cent over the past year to hit $641,648. Auckland values only rose at 2.8 per cent to an average $1,041,957, the slowest growth rate in six years. National values rose 1.2 per cent in the three months to August, while Auckland values fell 0.2 per cent in that time.
On August 3, Barfoot said Auckland's housing market had its quietest July in seven years. Prices had fallen further, consolidating a slowdown in the market which economists believe will last at least until the election on September 23.
The Barfoot numbers to the end of July show the median sales price was down 3.6 per cent compared to June and 4 per cent when compared to the average median price for the previous three months.
On August 11, Real Estate Institute data showed house sales volumes had collapsed by a quarter in the past year, prompting a desperate call for an end to the Reserve Bank's stringent lending restrictions for first-time buyers.