Auckland house sale prices fell $20,000 between the end of December and the end of January, down 2.4 per cent from a median $820,000 to $800,000 - the lowest numbers for 35 months.

Real Estate Institute data out this morning showed that was the lowest median Auckland house price in three years.

"In Auckland, prices fell -2.4% to $800,000 down from $820,000 in January 2018 - the lowest median price for the region since February 2016," REINZ said.

Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, said agents recorded falls in house sales during January in Franklin, Rodney, North Shore and Papakura districts during the month ranging from -0.7 per cent to -13.2 per cent.

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Yet prices rises were still being recorded in other areas such as Auckland City, Manukau City and Waitakere City which had median price increases ranging from 1.5 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

That showed there were pockets of growth occurring across the region, she said.

"December and January usually see prices decline and then pick up again in February and March, so we'll be watching closely to see whether this is just the usual Christmas/New Year slowdown or whether this is the start of something wider," Norwell said.

"What we can say, is that it's too early to call this a trend and it's too early to confirm whether the Auckland market has actually turned," she said.

The city bucked a national trend for house prices to rise, up 5.8 per cent from $520,000 last January to $550,000 last month.

Prices for New Zealand, excluding Auckland, increased by 10.1 per cent to $473,300 up from $430,000 in January 2018.

Record median prices were recorded in:

• Waikato up 12.6 per cent to $550,000
• Manawatu/Whanganui up 21.7 per cent to $348,000
• Marlborough up 16.3 per cent to $477,000
• Otago up 6.4 per cent to $475,475
• Southland up 15.6 per cent to $277,500

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said: "The latest REINZ figures and data from OneRoof / Valocity released earlier this month suggest that the hesitation that was evident in the market early last year is starting to take hold.

"The reality is that Auckland's market is soft and will continue to be until pressure for more housing reaches a point that triggers a new surge in values.

"It's highly unlikely the country's biggest housing market will suffer a house price collapse such as experienced Sydney and Melbourne. An undersupply of residential housing and strong demand support current values and future growth.

"Smaller urban centres continue to enjoy strong growth, but it is important to note that the lifts are from a comparatively low base, and that the actual dollar amount that represents is relatively small, although still a big deal for homeowners and buyers in those markets."