The Auckland real estate market held up in a softening July property scene.

The country's biggest market remains a steady performer compared with pretty quiet conditions in the rest of the country, Realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm said yesterday.

The listing website's latest report shows the average nationwide asking price last month was $400,481, compared to $410,058 in June and $422,648 in March.

Auckland bucked the trend with an average asking price of $511,949 last month, up slightly from $510,847 in June.

Overall, the asking price for property is at its lowest in a year as the market remains weighted in favour of buyers. The number of unsold houses is also on the rise.

Nationwide, the number of new property listings last month was 10,586, down from 11,106 in June.

Realestate.co.nz's inventory levels of unsold houses, as measured by the number of weeks of sales necessary to clear properties on the market at any one time, was 46.8 weeks, a 3 per cent increase from June and an increase of 42 per cent on the same time last year.

"At current sales volumes it would take nearly a year to clear current inventory on the market if no more houses were listed today," Mr Helm said. Sellers appeared to be heeding the advice of real estate agents to set prices that were attractive to buyers in the current market.

"While there's usually a drop in asking price in winter, the consistently high level of inventory in 2010 compared to last year highlights a more fundamental contraction in the property market," Mr Helm said.

"With sales slowing, prices falling and inventory levels of unsold houses rising, the conditions in July were a reality check for sellers, as they recognised the need to find a competitive price."