Quiet start to 2017 for Super City

Auckland house prices defied seasonal tradition and remained steady in January despite a fall in sales, according to Barfoot & Thompson’s latest data.

Friday, February 3rd 2017, 11:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson

Both January’s average and median sales prices held on to the prices being paid for property in December – although January is usually associated with a dip in prices.

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said the average sales price for the month was $913,938 and the median price $846,500.

“These prices reverse a three-month sales-price decline from the all-time highs set in October 2016.

“It gives us a price start point for the year at the same level as it was in December. That has not occurred in the records since 2003.”

However, at the same time, the data showed that sales numbers fell more than is usual, new listings were healthy and choice increased to its best level in a January for three years.

Sales numbers in January, at 629, were their lowest in any month for five years while new listings, at 1142, ensured choice remained high.

Thompson said caution should be used in trying to read too much into sales data for January as the market is still regaining momentum from the holiday break and it can lead to statistical anomalies.

“A contributing factor to January’s average and median prices tracking those for December is that this year 31.2% of all the homes sold in January were for in excess of $1 million, which is a higher percentage than normally seen in January sales.

“What has come through across all price segments is there were no obvious signs prices were under great pressure to fall.”

However, the fall in sales and the increased number of listings indicate the market has become more of a buyers’ market of late.

ASB economist Kim Mundy said the data showed Auckland housing activity started 2017 off on a quieter than usual note, with both sales and new listings falling.

“However, the fall in new listings continue to outpace the decline in sales which have pushed inventory levels up off their record lows.

“The modest lift in supply and softer demand seem to be taking some of the heat out of Auckland house price growth.”

ASB expects Auckland house price growth to continue to slow over 2017, Mundy said.

“The latest LVR changes and marginally higher longer-term mortgage rates are likely to contribute to softer housing demand.

“But supply remains tight. Inventory levels (although higher) remain near historical lows and combined with strong population growth, this should keep a floor under prices.”

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