Scary statistics show residential property sales hit a 20-year low last month.
But the number of houses sold in January was only down by 40 sales from the same month in 2009 and some say tax uncertainty contributed to the drop.
Corrected Real Estate Institute data released today, after a “technical hitch” had early figures released this week, showed that only 3666 homes were sold during January, down from 3,709 the same time last year.
This was only the second time the monthly total of residential units sold was less than 4000 since data began being recorded electronically in 1992.
Last year the number of homes sold had picked up to 5,228 by February, 6,694 in March and briefly sank below 6,000 in August when it hit 5,878. It was then back about 6,000 until December.
The market was stronger in the lead-up to January than it was last year. In December, the number of homes sold was 4957 nationwide, and in November it was 6,056. In 2008 there were 4302 homes sold in December and 4,279 in November.
The average price achieved in January dropped to $350,000 from $360,000 in December. It had been steady at $355,000 in October and November, up from $350,000 in September.
Back in January last year the average price achieved was only $325,000, down from $328,500 in December 2008.
Uncertainty about what impact the then-unannounced tax changes could have on residential property investments could have been a factor.
“Activity in the residential property market was quiet last month on the back of uncertainty over what actions the Government intended to take on the recently announced tax working group recommendations,” Real Estate Institute president Peter McDonald said.
“Hopefully the market will start to pick up now things are a bit clearer after the Prime Minister gave his opening speech to Parliament on Tuesday. He indicated the Government has ruled out proposals to introduce a land tax, comprehensive capital gains tax or new tax on residential investment properties.”
In Auckland last month, the average house price was back down to $450,000 with 1240 homes sold after reaching $470,000 during November when 2,192 houses were sold and December with 1,646.
In Wellington the average achieved was $375,000 with 420 houses sold, down from $400,000 with 548 houses sold in December, and $391,500 with 665 transactions in November.
Waikato and Bay of Plenty stayed steady at $320,000, unchanged from November and down slightly from $327,500 in October. But the number of houses sold dipped, down to 499 in January from 715 in December and 828 in November.
In Canterbury prices fell only slightly, to $319,500 with 512 transactions, from $320,000 in December with 754 sales and $310,000 in November with 832 sales.
According to the Real Estate Institute’s monthly housing price index, which is stratified to take out the extremes from each end of the market, prices rose 6.9% in the year to January and are 5.3% below the November 2007 peak.
Fri, 12 Feb 2010