A quiet and blissfully warm January in Auckland saw sales by the city's biggest realtors decline but the agency's boss indicated that was not unexpected.
Barfoot & Thompson sold 745 residential properties in December but that fell last month to 593 sales, a point acknowledged by managing director Peter Thompson who heads the business which says it sells one in every three Auckland residential homes.
"Sales numbers at 593 were light for the month, down 13.8 percent on the average of the previous three months and down 5.7 percent on those for January last year. However, given January's short and holiday-interrupted trading period, caution needs to be attached to drawing strong conclusions from the month's sales," Thompson said.
Turnover in some price categories fell more than others.
"Sales of homes in the high-end categories of $2 million and $1 million - at 27 and 170 respectively - were consistent with the number of sales in these price categories in January last year. Sales of properties for under $500,000 fell from 13 per cent of all sales in January 2017 to 8 per cent of sales in January 2018," Thompson said.
The average January sale price for Barfoots was $934,753, 1.5 percent up on the previous three months. The median price was $830,000, 1.6 per cent below the average for the previous three months.
Thompson is optimistic.
"With prices having plateaued, stable mortgage interest rates and the potential that greater access to mortgage finance will be made available to first-time buyers and those on a limited income, sales numbers can be expected to grow as we head into the traditionally strong February to August sales period," he said.
"The same situation exists for rural and lifestyle property sales.
"With buyers being selective and taking their time, sales activity in this sector was quiet in January. There was a strong level of buyer interest and a solid level of quality new listings including a number of dairy farms.
"Interest in small to medium-sized commercial property was strong in January, and our sales for the month at $78 million were the highest on record for the month of January," he said.
Quotable Value will release national house value data on Friday.