House sales are up and prices are down according to Barfoot & Thompson.

The realtor's managing director, Peter Thompson, says there's a growing acceptance that today's prices are where they will stay — at least until winter sets in.

He says sales numbers at the firm were up in February, there was strong growth in new listings but prices among the sub-$1 million properties softened.

The average sales price at the firm last month was $919,454, down 1.6 per cent on January, and down 1.1 per cent on the average price for the previous three months.

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A feature of February's trading was properties selling for less than $500,000, which may be a sign that landlords are ditching rentals ahead of tighter rules on insulation etc. and to sell before the start of the new tax year.

Thompson says: "At 127 sales they accounted for 19.1 per cent of all sales, a significant increase on the 8 per cent of sales in January."

This influenced the median price, which at $820,000 for February was down 1.2 per cent on January's median price."

Many of the firm's sub-$500,000 sales took place in central south Auckland, and on the northern, western and southern fringes of the metropolitan area.

"Sales of properties for in excess of $2 million (22) and those for more than $1m (185) were in line with those for the same period last year.

Thompson says rural and lifestyle markets are experiencing similar trading conditions to the residential market.

"Buyers' interest is strong throughout the region but there is caution as to whether prices have settled," he says.

"Those sales that are being made are at prices consistent with those paid in the last quarter of 2017."

Go figure
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows nationwide residential property values for February increased 6.5 per cent over the past year and 1.2 per cent over the past three months.

Residential property values across Auckland increased 1 per cent year on year which is the slowest annual rate since August 2017.

The average value for the Auckland region is $1,053,948. When adjusted for inflation values, this dropped 0.6 per cent over the past year.