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New listings rise but sales remain flat

By Benn Bathgate

Thursday 2nd December 2010

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November saw a "late but by no means insignificant" rise in new property listings, according to the latest Property Report. 

After a lacklustre start to spring November saw a 7.3% rise in new property listings with the report saying the volume of new property indicated "a sense of confidence on the part of sellers."

"The month saw a significant (and unseasonal lift) in new listings, in some ways making up for the somewhat quieter first three months of spring."

However, the increase in listings has yet to result in increased sales.

"The monthly sales though have as yet failed to show any appreciable lift with October reported at 4,323, the lowest recorded total for October since 1992."

This low rate of sales is driving inventory levels to highs not seen for over two years, with the equivalent of over a full year's worth of sales on the market.

The report said that the latest statistics, which have been consistent for a number of months in regard to trends, "point to a confident market, albeit a sluggish one."

The truncated mean asking price for new listings in November fell from the October peak of $420,451 to $417,660. On a seasonally adjusted basis the fall was less than 1%, indicating the confidence in sellers shown by the volume of new listings is also being reflected in asking price.

"Asking price expectation whilst showing some weakness this month, does not appear to be under excessive pressure, however price would seem to be the only factor able to bust the logjam of unsold inventory of houses on the market," the report said.

While the national asking price expectation remained steady the regional analysis revealed some significant variations.

Amongst the 19 regions almost half showed a rise while the remainder showed a fall.

The three east coast regions of Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa all saw significant increases, up 17.1%, 8.7% and 19.6% respectively.

The single largest fall in asking price expectation was seen in the Coromandel region, with an 8.6% fall.

In the main centres Auckland saw a 1% increase in asking price on October to $544,699, with the number of new listings up 7%.

Wellington saw a 1% fall on October's asking price to $451,491 and a 12% rise in new listings.

Canterbury saw a 1% fall in asking price and new listings up 13% while Waikato saw the asking price slip 3% to $351,279 and a 33% rise in new listings.

The apartment sector saw listings increase in November after a steady decline since February, though with 594 new listings the numbers were still down 7.6% on November 2009, though up 13.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from October.

Auckland as usual dominated the apartment market with 60% of the new listings, up 10% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The truncated mean asking price for apartments rose 2.9% against the recent three month average at $369,303, though in Auckland the asking price was down 3.5% at $307,101.


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