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Auckland house sale volumes slump to 9-year low in April, Barfoot says

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

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Auckland house sale volumes plummeted in April to their lowest level for the month since the 2008 global financial crisis, as the average price slipped from a record high, according to realtor Barfoot & Thompson.

There were 664 sales in April, down 40 percent from March and 30 percent below April last year, Barfoot said. The average sales price of $917,079 slipped 5.3 percent from a record $968,570 in March, which typically marks the high point for prices in the first half of the year, and was 5 percent higher than April last year.

The property market in New Zealand's largest city has been on a tear as a shortage of housing coincided with surging population growth, prompting the Reserve Bank to introduce new macro-prudential tools to restrict highly leveraged mortgage lending. That's dented demand in Auckland and spurred buyers to look further afield, pushing up prices in the surrounding areas.

"It is a changed market from what we have been experiencing for a number of years and you have to go back nine years to find an April in which fewer homes were sold," said Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson. "Buyers are being far more selective."

The realtor noted that the decline in sales numbers was felt evenly across all price ranges.

Barfoot had 1,292 new listings in April, down 35 percent from March levels and 14 percent lower than April last year.

The realtor had 4,214 properties on its books at the end of April, a similar level to the end of each month this year but 48 percent higher than the same period a year earlier.

"Relatively low inventory levels, sluggish growth in housing construction and high population growth all suggest there remains some way to go before the Auckland housing market rebalances," ASB economist Kim Mundy said in a note. "As a result, we expect a floor to remain under Auckland house prices over 2017."



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