April sees SuperCity at slower pace

Activity in Auckland’s ever-contrary housing market in April was more subdued than expected, two new sets of data suggest.

Wednesday, May 4th 2016, 11:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson

Barfoot & Thompson’s latest data showed a big drop in sales numbers, along with only small increases in both the average sales price and the median sales price in April.

The average sales price was up by 0.8%, to $873,599, as compared to March’s price of $866,782.

The median sales price was up by 2.8%, to $820,000, as compared to March’s price of $798,000.

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said these prices meant that Auckland house prices have pulled back from breaking into new territory.

Further, the year-on-year increase in the average sales price was also less than of late, he said.

“While it was 8.6% ahead of where it was in March last year, for the past year we have been looking at monthly year-on-year increases of around 12%.”

The agency’s sales numbers dropped significantly in April. They were down 29.6% on March and 11.8% year-on-year.

Thompson, who described April’s market as restrained, said they sold the lowest number of homes in April that they have sold in an April in 4 years.

“The likely cause of this was caution around current pricing and the low number of properties on the market, restricting choice.”

The low number of sales, particularly of houses in the under $500,000 range, also contributed to the rise in the median sales price, he said.

“In April only 7.1% of all homes sold were in this price category compared to 10.9% in March while house sales above the $1 million mark were the second highest for 7 months.”

New listings in April were also significantly down on March (-20.2%) and on April last year (-5.3%).

It was the third consecutive month the number of properties on the agency’s books at month end declined, Thompson said.

“The number of homes on our books at the end of April was the lowest they have been in an April for more than 15 years.”

Interpreting the Barfoot & Thompson data was difficult and he would hold off from drawing further conclusions until he sees the next lot of REINZ data, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said.

“The most we can say is that nothing in today's report refutes the idea that Auckland house prices are currently rising quite rapidly.”

However, the April data from realestate.co.nz also shows a minimal change in Auckland’s average asking price.

Realestate.co.nz’s average asking price for April was $861,305, which was down by 0.1% on March’s average asking price.

It also showed that in Auckland weeks to sell fell by 2.78% in April 2016, compared with the same time last year, and that listings in the city were down year-on-year.

Taken together, the Barfoot & Thompson data and the realestate.co.nz data could suggest the Auckland market is flattening out again.

But Auckland’s market has consistently defied predictions over the last year – which means that, until more data comes through, the guessing game continues.

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