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Asking prices for NZ properties plateau nationwide, Trade Me data says

Thursday 2nd October 2014

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There's good news for house buyers in the new Trade Me Property Price Index launched today with the prices asked for properties nationwide remaining lacklustre for the fifth month in a row in September.

The new index measures trends in asking prices for residential property listings on the online auction site over the previous three months. The average asking price for properties rose just 0.1 percent month-on-month.

Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the September figure contrasted with strong rises earlier in the year.

"For example, we saw the change in asking price up more than 5 percent in March, and there were 3 percent month-on-month lifts in both February and April. It's a sign that the market is in a sustained period of quiet." Jeffries said.

Across all property types the average asking price in September was $487,650, according to the site's data, which was a year-on-year increase of 13 percent. Asking prices peaked at $491,050 in March.  Looking back over the past five years asking prices have risen 26 percent, but most of that occurred in the past two years.

"In recent months we've seen that pace of increase all but stutter to a halt," Jeffries said.

Although the loan to value lending limits imposed by the Reserve Bank has kept a lot of first home buyers out of the market, most of the plateau in the past few months was underpinned by a slow down in asking prices for larger houses. The average asking price nationwide for homes with five or more bedrooms was up only 9 percent compared to a year ago to $854,000 while one to two bedroom houses increased more than 15 percent over the same period to $318,400.

"The trend is most noticeable in Wellington where larger houses showed a year-on-year decline of 5 percent, despite the overall market in the capital ticking up nearly 7 percent," Jeffries said.

By region price growth in Auckland is being pushed along by non-traditional forms of housing with both townhouses and units seeing asking price growth outstrip traditional residential houses. That's reflecting the strong demand for affordable higher-density living options in the city. The average asking price for townhouses nationwide was up 11 percent year-on-year to $475,800 while the average asking price for units rose 14 percent year-on-year to $342,000. There was explosive growth in Wellington in asking prices for apartments, up 27 percent to $467,200.

Overall there were six regions that had double-digit increases in average asking prices during the past year with Taranaki leading the pack with a 23 percent increase and then Gisborne with 19 percent. The much-reported pressure of demand from buyers in Auckland and Canterbury saw average asking prices in these areas rise 10 percent and 13 percent respectively. The West Coast had the weakest yearly increase in asking prices of 9.5 percent year-on-year.

The index is produced from data on properties listed on Trade Me Property in the three months leading up to the last day of each period, with each period's value being a truncated mean of three months' worth of listings to better reflect trends rather than monthly fluctuations. Truncated excludes the upper and lower 10 per cent of listings by prices and averages the expected sale prices of the rest.


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