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April sales price a record for month, Barfoot & Thompson

Wednesday 4th May 2011

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The average house sales price for Auckland stood at $544,975 in April, $3,500 above April last year and the highest April figure achieved by Barfoot &a Thompson, the estate agent revealed today.

"The average price of $581,190 in March, a record, was always recognised as a one-off occurrence," said Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson.

However, with prices reaching an April record the company said it believes there is a forward momentum for prices.

"In each of the four months of this year, the average price has exceeded that for its comparative months of the previous year," Thompson said.

"Other than gains for March that increase has been modest, but there is a pattern of small gains. Activity in the top end of the market remains particularly strong, and a third of all the homes we sold had values exceeding $750,000 while we sold 52 homes with values in excess of $1 million, eight more than April last year."

Thompson said sales volumes were also showing the same trend.

"In April we sold 723 homes, 7.7% more than in April last year and, if you exclude March's figures, it was the most homes we have sold in a month for 11 months."

He said the number of new homes listed in April at 1033 eased significantly, and were a third down on those for March and February, and down 21.3% on those in April last year.

"There is renewed interest in the Auckland market at present. However, this was countered in April through a lack of new listings."

Westpac said the housing figures added to the evidence that the economy outside of Canterbury has continued to build momentum, though it emphasised the Auckland-centric nature of the pick-up.

"It also remains the case that the Auckland housing market is outperforming by a wide margin - sales are up about 10% year-on-year, while they are down around 5% in the rest of the country (excluding Canterbury). The issues of population growth and a shortage of building activity are most pressing in the Auckland region."

ASB economist Chris Tennent-Brown also warned the Barfoot & Thompson figures can also be skewed by the composition of sales.

"In March the average selling price was boosted by a high proportion of expensive property sales. In April, the record high average sales price eased, as the composition of sales returned to more normal ratios," he said.

"As a result, the average sales price recorded by Barfoot & Thompson declined from $581,000 to $545,000 over the month. Average prices within the Barfoot & Thompson data over the past four months are up 2% on the corresponding period a year earlier."

He said given the tight Auckland market, he expected Auckland house prices to post gains in the region of 4-6% over the year ahead.

At the end of April, Barfoot & Thompson had 5580 properties on its books, the lowest number for six months.

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