The number of properties sold in Auckland throughout the usually busy month of February has dropped to its lowest point in a decade.
Real Estate Institute numbers show a dramatic 41.5 per cent drop in sales from last month with 1358 compared to the volume peak in 2013 with 2324 sales.
In 2009, 1513 properties were sold through February with the same month in 2010 having recorded the lowest number of sales with 1497 before this year.
But the impact hasn't stopped at Auckland, spreading throughout the country with just 5954 properties sold in total, compared to 6578 in February last year.
Reinz chief executive Bindi Norwell said the Auckland decrease was a surprise but looking at the wider picture it makes sense with prices around the country on the rise.
"February is usually one of the busiest months of the year when it comes to sales volumes, so we were surprised to see that the number of properties sold in Auckland this February fell by 17.9 per cent when compared to the same time last year," she said.
"The Auckland market has been flat for nearly two years now, so unless people need to move because for example, they're upsizing or downsizing their property, then people are just taking their time and not feeling pressured into making housing decisions."
A number of factors could weigh into the lower level of sale volumes, Norwell said, including a raft of legislative changes impacting the market.
"What we're hearing from salespeople around the country is that vendors and investors are taking a 'wait and see' approach to the housing market – much like you would normally see around election time," she said.
"This is particularly true in relation to the recently announced capital gains tax proposals from the tax working group."
Despite the number of sales stalling, average house prices throughout Auckland remain steady with many regions recording an increase.
Due to a slight fall in the number of $1 million-plus properties sold between February 2018 and February 2019, Auckland's median price fell just 0.6 per cent.
Gisborne, Manawatu/Whanganui, Southland, Wellington and Hawke's Bay all hit a record of median prices in February.
• Gisborne: +25.8% to $390,000 (up from $310,000 at the same time last year)
• Manawatu/Wanganui: +23.4% to $352,000 (up from $285,250 ditto)
• Southland: +20.8% to $290,000 (up from $240,000 ditto)
• Wellington: +16.2% to $640,000 (up from $551,000 ditto)
• Hawke's Bay: +6.4% to $472,500 (up from $444,000 ditto).
Fifteen out of 16 regions Reinz identifies saw an annual increase, with the five regions listed above highlighting the strength of the market, Norwell said.
"Even Auckland saw an increase from January, showing it has returned to the same, stable or flat market we've been seeing since April 2017," she said.
"With house prices continuing to rise at such a pace, this puts even more of a dampener on any notions of New Zealand following in Australia's footsteps in the short to medium term."
Additional reporting from BusinessDesk