The Auckland market has been reined in from rapid price increases and has settled into a more stable trading environment, says Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.
He says last year the median selling price rose by 2.7 per cent to $843,583.
"What did change significantly in 2017 was the number of homes sold, which fell by more than a quarter on the numbers sold in each of the previous three years," says Thompson.
"The sense of urgency to buy a property regardless of its asking price has disappeared."
He says normally when sales numbers drop, prices also go down. But this hasn't happened.
"It underlines there is still buyer support at current prices," says Thompson. "In part, this was aided by the recent release of new capital values by the Council as sellers and buyers have the same information as to the potential value of a property.
"At the same time, a housing shortage when the population is growing creates demand."
New listings at the firm during December were 57, way down on the monthly average of 1510 last year. The realtor has 4160 listings on its books.
Thompson says the growing value of Auckland's housing stock is reflected in the changing percentages between property selling for under $500,000 and those for in excess of $1 million.
"In 2017, 8.9 per cent of all homes sold were for less than $500,000. In 2016 the comparative percentage was 11.1 per cent and in 2015 14.9 per cent," he says.
"In 2017, 37 per cent of all homes sold were for in excess of $1 million. The comparative figure in 2016 was 35.4 per cent and in 2015 29.1 per cent."
"Lifestyle and rural property sales in 2017 in the Auckland and Northland regions followed the same pattern as for Auckland residential sales.
"Sales numbers fell in comparison with those in 2016 and 2015 but were still firm, while prices for good quality properties held steady.
"Dairy farm sales in the north also had to contend with a downturn in the dairy economy, which affected activity.
"Lifestyle living retained its attraction for many and inquiries remained strong throughout the year," says Thompson.