Auckland house prices climb to $804,000 as sales volumes drop in April

The firm sold 1070 houses last month, down from March's monthly record of 1597.

Auckland house prices climbed to a fresh record last month, while the number of sales dropped from March's peak, according to Barfoot & Thompson, the city's largest realtor.

The average sale price rose to $804,282 in April, from March's previous record $776,729, Barfoot said in a statement. The firm sold 1070 houses last month, down from March's monthly record of 1597 but the most for an April month in the past decade.

The real estate agency's numbers follow data from Quotable Value last week, which showed Auckland's property values rose an annual 14.6% in April, speeding up from the 13.9% pace a month earlier. The average value was $809,200, according to the state valuer.

The Reserve Bank introduced loan restrictions in October 2013 to try to cool the market and is worried overheated Auckland property prices may lead to financial instability.

"LVRs [loan to value ratios] are materially affecting the sale of affordable homes," Barfoot's chief executive, Wendy Alexander, said. "Some 157 homes sold during the month went for under $500,000, which represents one in seven of all homes sold. There is a good choice of homes in this price category but LVRs often mean potential buyers cannot meet the home deposit requirements."

Meanwhile, the National-led government has been leaning on Auckland Council to free up land and relax planning constraints to help ease the shortage of housing, which it blames for rising prices.

During April, Barfoot had 1580 new listings with 3151 properties for sale on its books at the end of the month, the lowest number on offer since January, and a drop of 13% from the same period a year earlier, Barfoot said.

(BusinessDesk)

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