The property market appears to have missed out on any early spring burst in September, although the Christchurch earthquake early in the month is a complicating factor.
New data in the monthly NZ Property Report, compiled by property listing website Realestate.co.nz, show that only 10,559 new properties came onto the market nationwide last month. That was fewer than the winter months of June or July and only 8 percent up on August.
Last month's figures were down 17 percent on a year earlier.
In Canterbury there was an unseasonal 20 percent fall in new listings compared to September 2009.
With sales activity subdued, the already high inventory of unsold houses nationwide edged up further in September to 47.5 weeks from 46.1 weeks in August.
Inventory is measured by the number of weeks of sales necessary to clear properties on the market at any one time.
The national threshold between a market favourable to either sellers or buyers is considered to be 39 weeks, indicating that at current inventory levels most parts of New Zealand remain a buyer's market.
"Traditionally, there is a much-anticipated rise in new listings in spring, however the September figures this year point to a modest increase in line with the overall context of a subdued property market throughout 2010," Realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm said.
The report put the seasonally adjusted rise in new listings at just 1 percent last month from August, excluding the impact of the Canterbury region.
In Auckland the number of listings rose 10 percent from August but was 13 percent down on a year earlier at 3510, while the inventory of unsold properties lifted to 37.1 weeks from 35.7 in August.
In Wellington new listings were 15 percent up from a month before and 7 percent down on a year earlier at 836, while the unsold inventory was unchanged from August at 24.1.