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Barfoot's Auckland listings, sales extend gains in February

Tuesday 5th March 2013

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Auckland real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson lifted its property listings and sales last month, which slowed the pace of price rises as more houses were available to meet overheating demand.

New listings climbed 22 percent to 1,752 in February from a month earlier, while sales advanced 8.8 percent to 892, the realtor said in statement. Sale prices increased 0.6 percent to an average $604,164 from January.

"While choice is at its highest since June 2012, it may be a short-term situation as the number of properties for sale still remains at the lower end of the scale over the past decade," managing director Peter Thompson said. "A significant number of new builds have to reach the market before pressure will ease."

The limited supply of affordable housing is being felt most keenly in Auckland where a property bubble is threatening to re-emerge.

That lack of supply has attracted the attention of policy makers who are working through options to increase the amount of land available and to make it more viable for cheaper housing to be built.

Westpac economist Michael Gordon said listings are trending higher from the increase in sale prices, and he expects a 9 percent lift in nationwide sales prices over the course of the year.

"Our forecast is consistent with the housing boom moving into a mature stage, with the rate of growth in both prices and sales starting to level out," Gordon said in a note. "Even that would be of little comfort to the RBNZ - sustained increases in house prices would exacerbate both the inflationary and financial stability concerns that make up its current Policy Targets Agreement."

Barfoot had 3,988 properties on its books at the end of February, an eight month high.

The real estate firm sold 76 houses for $1 million or more, while 45 percent of all sales went for less than $500,000.

BusinessDesk.co.nz



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