Auckland house prices ease and number of sales declines, Barfoot says

New Zealand's property market and Auckland, in particular, has been cooling.

Auckland's average house price eased in July from June and the number of sales also declined, said realtor Barfoot & Thompson.

There were 747 sales in July, down from 855 in June and 1,034 in the same month a year ago, the realtor said in a statement. It noted it was the quietest July since 2010. The average price dipped 0.6 percent to $908,319 while the median price was down 3.6 percent to $810,000.

A combination of winter blues, school holidays, and the impending election has resulted in fewer sales and new listings throughout Auckland during July, it said. "Winter traditionally sees a slowing in the market and this winter has been no different," said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.

New Zealand's property market and Auckland, in particular, has been cooling since banks introduced tighter lending conditions and started indicating interest rates would start rising.

Barfoot said new listings were 1,173 in July, down 25 percent on the month and down 18 percent on the year. Total month-end listings were at 4,088 versus 4,297 in June.

"Sales across the region were on the whole representative of the diverse mix of housing stock available. Sales below $750,000 accounted for just over a third of all sales during the month, while sales over $1 million accounted for 257 or 35 percent of sales, the realtor said.

At the top end of the market, 41 homes in Auckland sold for over $2 million.

The data follows the QV house price index yesterday which showed Zealand property values rose at their slowest annual pace in more than two years as a slump in Auckland sales has seen the country's biggest housing market flatline after several years of rapid price gains.

The QV house price index rose 6.4 percent in the year through July, the slowest annual rate since February 2015 and slowing from an annual increase of 8.1 percent in June, state-owned valuer Quotable Value said. Values increased 1.6 percent to $641,280 in the three months ended July 31.

That slowdown was again led by a cooling Auckland property market, where values rose just 5.3 percent in the year, the smallest annual increase since May 2012, and flatlined on a rolling-three monthly basis for a second straight month at $1.04 million.


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